Fast Track


AMC Sues Time Warner

Rainbow Media's AMC network is suing Time Warner Cable, claiming the MSO is trying to strong-arm it into a lower subscriber fee and seeking $250 million in damages. According to court documents, AMC is disputing Time Warner's moves because "there has been no material change in the general quantity and quality of the programming on the American Movie Classics programming service."

The suit may turn on changes made by AMC—showing newer movies rather than strictly classics—that the network says are within the bounds of the contract. AMC has also started accepting commercials.

Nielsen Slaps KZTV

Nielsen Media Research last week said it would remove CBS affiliate KZTV(TV) Corpus Christi, Texas, from the November ratings book because of "certain on-air promotional activities" the station engaged in that may have influenced Nielsen diary keepers in the market. Nielsen said the station displayed the front cover of the Nielsen diary on-air, with a photo of the station's-news team embedded inside. A voiceover said, "Thank you for making your choice. CBS 10 KZTV coverage you can count on."

Nielsen officials said the ratings company warned management of the station, which is owned by Eagle Creek Broadcasting, of the violation several times during the month, General Manager Dale Remy was traveling and couldn't be reached for comment.

Now the News

Disney's broadcasting division posted a $79 million operating loss for its fourth fiscal quarter, ended Sept. 30, vs. a $23 million loss for the same period a year ago. Revenue was up 6% to $1.2 billion. For the full fiscal year, broadcasting posted a profit of $37 million, vs. a $37 million loss for 2002, while revenues were up 7% to $5.4 billion...

Court TV is rewarding freelance anchor Diane Dimond for scooping the Michael Jackson case last week. The cable net plans to offer Dimond a full-time gig this week. ABC, CBS and NBC were also said to be courting Dimond…

Flody Suarez, executive producer of ABC's 8 Simple Rules, is leaving the show. Sources say Suarez and Tom Shadyac, the show's creator and head of its production company, Shady Acres Entertainment, had differing opinions on how the show should be managed. Tracy Gamble, head writer, remains at the helm. ...

Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy returned Nov. 18 with its first fresh episode in eight weeks and collected 2.8 million viewers, the fourth-largest audience in the network's history. ...

ESPN nabbed the fifth-largest audience in cable history with its Sunday Night Football telecast Nov. 16 of the Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots. The game scored a 9.6 rating (8.4 million homes) and 11.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. ESPN says that makes the game the most-watched cable program of 2003…

Talk About Timing

Lisa Bernhard had been entertainment correspondent at Fox News Channel for 10 days when the Michael Jackson story exploded. That ought to keep her, and all the other Fox staffers, very busy.

"Entertainment makes news if you listen to what people are talking about," says Bernhard, previously deputy editor at TV Guide. "The public feels they have personal relationships with stars, and we are living in a day and age when they know the nuts and bolts of the industry. That captures their imagination."


According to BIA research, none of the four Hispanic stations in Tucson, Ariz., has averaged a 3 share from 9 a.m. to midnight during a sweeps period in the past three years, as measured by Nielsen Media Research. The Market Focus profile in the Nov. 3 edition said no Hispanic program in that time frame got a 3 share.