Fast Track

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Up, Up and Away

National and network cable ad spending for 2003 hit a record $12.7 billion, says the Cable Advertising Bureau. That's up $1.82 billion, or 16.7%, from 2002, according to CAB analysis of StrADegy data.

Broadcast TV still had the lion's share of ad dollars at 58.8% ($21 billion), but that was down from 60% in 2002 while cable's total was up from 31.5% to 34.1%.

Dealing

Rainbow Media's AMC and three Fox Sports regional networks inked new carriage deals March 10 with the country's largest operator, Comcast. The deals extend existing carriage pacts for Rainbow-managed Fox Sports Net Florida, Fox Sports Net Bay Area, and Fox Sports Net New England. …

Jennifer Lopez'sNuyorican Productions is extending its multimedia reach to U.S. network TV. Lopez has signed a first-look production deal with Fox Television Studios and Regency Television.

Still Living

She's here to stay—at least for now. Though many stations may have pulled the plug on Martha Stewart Living after the homemaking diva's conviction, King World said it "will continue to distribute [the show] to local stations that want to continue to broadcast the program." The show is not getting much support. Even King World parent Viacom has dropped Living from its CBS and UPN stations.

King World distributes the show for a fee, but Stewart's company, Martha Stewart Living OmniMedia, sells the national ads. So King World will lose time slots, Living isn't one of its biggest revenue drivers.

Programming Notes

In a performance that ABC swears will not be R-rated for breast exposure, Janet Jackson will appear on Good Morning America March 31 to perform several of her songs. No need to shoo the kids from the room, though. In case there's another wardrobe malfunction, ABC is implementing a five-second delay that will let the producers edit both audio and video. The network stressed that the rest of the show will still be live without a delay. ...

The fifth-season debut of HBO mob hit The Sopranos pulled in killer ratings. The March 7 premiere nabbed the show's best ratings ever, garnering a 23.8 rating/32 share in HBO's 30 million subscriber universe. …

Game Show Network—excuse us, GSN—picked up off-net rights to three reality shows from NBC Enterprises: Average Joe, Average Joe: Hawaii, and Dog Eat Dog. …

Who wants to watch more Millionaire? After Who Wants To Be a Millionaire's successful prime time revival during the February sweeps, Buena Vista Television has opted to renew the syndicated version for a third season.

People Mover

Discovery Communications Chairman and CEO John Hendricks, 51, is passing his CEO duties on to 16-year Discovery vet Judith McHale, currently president and COO.

Turner Network Sales hired former N2 Broadband executive John Harran as director of new business development (including broadband, video-on-demand, interactive TV, and wireless). …

The WB Senior VP of Affiliate Relations Hal Protter was tapped to head the network's new-technology department. As senior VP of technology, he will help stations make the switch to HDTV and digital.

Correction

The Sinclair station that aired an R-rated version of Quiet Days in Hollywood was WZTV, Nashville, Tenn. In a page 3 story in the March 8 edition, the call letters were correct in the headline but incorrect in the story.

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