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Dish subscribers to get CBS HD feed

Starting this fall, EchoStar Communications will provide East and West Coast CBS HDTV feeds to Dish Network customers in the 16 CBS O&O markets: New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Boston; Detroit; Dallas; Miami; Minneapolis; Denver; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Salt Lake City; Austin, Texas; and Green Bay, Wis.

Signals will also be available in "white areas"—those not receiving CBS analog signals—and to other affiliates that invite the signal into their areas. Dish Network customers subscribing to a local channel package will receive the CBS HD signal at no added charge.

For two years, CBS has broadcast most of its prime time schedule in HD, as well as selected sports events.

NAB may seek 'just carry' digital

The NAB may stop pushing for cable carriage of broadcasters' digital and analog signals and instead ask the government to require cable operators to carry just digital—all 6 MHz of it, including high- and standard-def channels and datacasts—and to make sure their subs can receive it.

It's unclear how cable operators would be required to get broadcasters' digital signal to all subs. They might have to provide set-top boxes capable of receiving the full digital signal or to downconvert the digital signal at the cable head-end to deliver analog channels to their analog subs.

The idea sounds like "cleverly dressed-up dual must-carry" that the cable industry is unlikely to go for, says a cable exec. NAB board members and staff say they haven't stopped lobbying for dual carriage.

1Q local ads down 15%

Local TV advertising (including both local and national spot) was down 15% in the first quarter, to $3.42 billion, according to figures compiled by ad tracker Competitive Media Reporting.

Broadcast network advertising was down 2%, to $4.97 billion. Syndication spending was up 6%, to $811.19 million. Overall, broadcast-TV spending in the quarter was down 7%, to $9.20 billion.

Man charged in death of WFLA-TV exec

Tampa, Fla., police late last week charged a man who was already in jail with the murder of WFLA-TV Operations Director Danielle Cipriani (see Station Break, page 28). Local sources said Melvin Givens had been in jail on unrelated charges prior to the discovery of Cipriani's body. Police said physical evidence linked the suspect to the killing.

Cella to head new Magna Global USA

Bill Cella has been named chairman of Magna Global USA, a new unit formed by ad-agency conglomerate Interpublic Group of Companies to negotiate $8.6 billion in national TV advertising deals. He had been executive vice president and director of National Broadcast & Programming at Interpublic's Universal McCann.

Zuckerman inks deal with Studios USA

Studios USA Programming has signed a multiyear drama-development deal with Emmy-winning producer/writer Ed Zuckerman, who is set to serve as co-executive producer of the studio's upcoming CBS drama The Agency
and most recently served as co-executive producer on CBS'JAG.

Lawsuit against KHOU, reporter dismissed

A Texas Appeals Court dismissed a lawsuit against Belo-owned KHOU-TV Houston and reporter Dan Lauck, which contended that Lauck helped keep a child he'd interviewed with her mother in 1997 from her father during a custody dispute. Lauck told BROADCASTING & CABLE that, although the interview was conditional on his silence as to their location, "if I thought the child was in any way being abused, it would have been a completely different ballgame. I have a daughter the same age."

New look for ESPNews

ESPNews is getting a face-lift in September, with a multi-element screen with video and real-time stats and news. Unveiled Friday at the Critics Tour in Pasadena, Calif., the new format will feature "The Bottom Line," a ticker that remains on the screen constantly, even during commercials.

Cash flow off 23% at Scripps stations

Scripps TV stations posted a 23% decline in operating cash flow, to $25.3 million, for the second quarter on a 15% drop in revenue, to $74.2 million. The cable network division continued to show gains: cash flow up 6%, to $26.6 million, on a 15% gain in revenue, to $99.2 million. For the third quarter, a 10% to 12% gain in ad revenue is projected for the cable networks but a 4% to 6% decline in station ad revenue.

Correction

In the Special Report in the July 9 issue, Digeo Inc. was incorrectly identified as a service of Broadband Partners Inc. It has been a separate company since early last year.

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