Viacom's closed wallet
Despite the scarcity of cable networks for sale, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone is not particularly interested in joining the bidding for Fox Family Worldwide. He would not say specifically whether he planned to bid for FFW and its Fox Family Channel. But he emphasized that "we buy things that make money" and that FFW's operations might be too weak.
Pieces of FFW have been shopped to just about every media player, including Viacom, The Walt Disney Co. and NBC. Viacom is in a fairly acquisitive mood, but FFW is a tough sell, with ratings trouble on both its cable and broadcast syndication operations and without the high-profile programming of a Nickelodeon.
But Wall Street executives believe that FFW simply duplicates too many existing Viacom operations. Disney and NBC don't have general entertainment networks in their portfolios and are seen as more interested.
Road show revamp
C-SPAN has souped up its grassroots tour bus with the latest in digital equipment and cable modems. It is intended to showcase broadband technology to educators, operators and government types as it travels the country.
From trash to cash
The Learning Channel and Discovery's consumer products division have tapped JAKKS Pacific to create products for Learning Channel's Junkyard Wars. The series challenges eight teams of technically skilled people to build contraptions out of junkyard trash. The toys and working machines will be based on those produced on the series. The line should be available in spring 2002.
Syndication at large
Court TV is syndicating its pop-culture crime-and-justice series, Hollywood at Large, on NBC-owned KNBC-TV Los Angeles and WNBC-TV New York. The syndicated episodes will air weekly after the show airs on Court TV Fridays at 6:30 p.m. The series, based in New York, also is expanding its reporting from Los Angeles.
Cable One inks pact with FOX News
Fox News Channel has reached a carriage agreement to add 750,000 subscribers served by Cable One in its Southern and Midwestern regions over the next three years, according to Fox News Executive Vice President Jack Abernethy. The news channel now is carried in 67 million homes.
Mizrahi on Mizrahi
Oxygen will get a dose of high fashion this fall when Isaac Mizrahi joins the women's network to host his own documentary show. The Isaac Mizrahi Show will follow the legendary designer through his day-to-day dealings in the film, fashion and entertainment industries. It will be shot on location in New York and Los Angeles, with Dori Berinstein serving as executive producer.
FX advances NY debut
Time Warner will add FX to its New York City cable system on Sept. 5, earlier than the cable operator had originally planned, boosting the cable channel by a million viewers in the nation's largest market. Time Warner had a deal with FX to add the channel at the end of the year but, Gardner said, asked to accelerate the timetable; FX will take a channel that had been reserved for PPV.
WE in Vogue
WE: Women's Entertainment network has teamed up with Vogue magazine to create a special on upcoming fall fashions. Fall Forecast will premiere Aug. 30, hosted by model/actress Daisy Fuentes and highlighting fall trends in film, fashion, beauty and music.
TechTV gets down to business
TechTV and BusinessWeek are teaming up to share content and programming. The business magazine will provide editorial content for news and lifestyle shows, while TechTV experts contribute to the magazine.
TechTV also will host BusinessWeek correspondents as guests on newscasts. The partnership should bolster BusinessWeek's technology coverage and gives TechTV access to the magazine's content and writers.
Segars is Senior VP at Fine Living
Fine Living, the new Scripps cable network set to debut early in 2002, today named Charles Segars Jr. senior vice president of programming, production and network strategy. He previously worked at DreamWorks SKG, where he helped develop several prime time series, and previously was vice president of prime time specials for CBS.
The cable network also named John MacDonald, a Twentieth Television veteran, senior vice president of business operations; Robyn Miller, a Disney exec, senior vice president of marketing; Greg Neal, from the Fox Family, director of creative services; and Carol Hicks, formerly an executive for Scripps' HGTV, vice president of communications.