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IN BRIEF - Broadcasting & Cable

IN BRIEF

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Anstrom moves up

Former NCTA President Decker Anstrom is moving up at Landmark Communications, owner of The Weather Channel, replacing longtime president and CEO Dubby Wynne. After Wynne retires at the end of the year, Anstrom will be in charge of Landmark's newspapers and broadcast stations while remaining president of TWC.

Diversity group blasts fall slate

The Multiethnic Coalition last week gave low grades to the four major networks' fall schedules and threatened legal action and boycotts . ABC received a D- from Latino, Asian-American and American-Indian groups. CBS was given a D+, Fox a C- and NBC a C. The coalition reached diversity agreements with the Big Four a year ago, but now say networks are failing to make good on their promises. The networks defended their schedules; ABC said the coalition "misrepresented" the network's record.

FCC nominees get OK

The Senate Commerce Committee last week approved unanimously the nominations of FCC Chairman Michael Powell to a second five-year term. It also gave the nod to three new FCC commissioners: Republicans Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin and Democrat Michael Copps.

WOW buys SBC systems

Overbuilder WideOpenWest is buying up the cable systems being abandoned by telco SBC Communications. WOW is paying about $275 million for the 310,000-subscriber operation, which overbuilds conventional MSOs in suburban Chicago, Detroit and parts of Illinois.

CBS Restless For HDTV

The soap The Young and the Restless
will begin shooting next week in 1080i HDTV for broadcast on June 27. The production, underwritten in part by Mitsubishi, will use Ikegami HDK-79D cameras (configured for the studio) and Canon HD lenses. Six cameras have been ordered by CBS, although only three will be used daily in the studio. The Sony Pictures Entertainment production, taped at CBS Television City in Hollywood, Calif. will also utilize Panasonic D-5 recorders.

With the addition of The Young and the Restless
five days a week, CBS will be offering 24 hours a week of HDTV programming to its 40 owned and affiliated stations currently broadcasting DTV.

Moral Court gets dismissed

Warner Bros.' rookie Moral Court
has been canceled, after rarely pulling national Nielsen numbers above 1.0. Safer but not out of the woods, apparently, is Warner Bros.' other rookie, Street Smarts
. Tribune Broadcasting, which launched the show in several markets, including on WPIX-TV New York, KTLA-TV Los Angeles and WGN-TV Chicago, has not renewed it for next season. Certain sources do counter that Street Smarts, one of the season's highest-rated freshmen, is secured in over 100 markets for the fall.

Nick the winner on Saturday mornings

Nickelodeon, powered by Rugrats
and SpongeBob SquarePants, took the Saturday-morning ratings crown for the fourth straight season. For the 2000-01 season, the kids net grabbed a 4.8 rating/21 share (1.9 million viewers) in kids 2-11, jumping 17% from this time last year.

Drug ads move to back burner

Lawmakers' plans to examine the impact of TV ads on buying habits of prescription-drug users have been hampered by the Senate leadership shakeup. The Senate Consumer Affairs Subcommittee had scheduled a hearing May 22 but canceled to clear time for a heavy slate of Senate votes.

The issue is still alive, however. The FDA is reviewing comments filed by insurance and drug companies and health-care providers. Critics say the ads lead patients to demand brand-name drugs rather than less costly generics.

Powell: Telephone, cable are different

FCC Chairman Michael Powell apparently has reservations about broadband legislation authored by House Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin.

The bill would put telephone companies on similar regulatory footing with cable by eliminating rules forcing them to carry competing broadband service providers on their networks.

Although cable and local telephone are capable of providing similar services, Powell told an investor conference last week, the two are still dependent on very different core businesses: for local telephone companies, it's wireline voice services; for cable, one-way video delivery.

Correction

The contact information for Pinnacle Systems was inadvertently left out of the "Server Players" list in the May 21 special report. Pinnacle Systems is located at 280 N. Bernardo Ave., Mountain View, CA 94043, and can be reached at 650-526-1600 or www.pinnaclesys.com.

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