Fast Track


NBC Tests Chopper Security

An NBC News crew last week was handcuffed and
questioned while working on an investigative story about helicopter security. A
network producer and a cameraman attempted to rent a helicopter at the downtown
St. Louis Airport, carrying potential weapons in their luggage, including
knives, a box cutter, clear liquid and a powdery substance. The men also had
maps of major cities, with landmarks highlighted. A rental-company employee
alerted authorities, and the duo was detained and questioned by the FBI's
terrorist task force. The crew was released without charges.

Another crew was successful in renting a helicopter in New York City.
They carried a Swiss Army knife, which was taken away but given back later. NBC
hasn't aired that report yet, so it would give no further details.

Fully Programmable

CNBC Senior Vice President of Prime Time
Programming Bob Meyers named Doug
, who had been running John McEnroe's suffering talk show,
and Susan Krakower, who has been shaping
The Big Idea With Donny
, to new development positions. He also tapped
veteran producer Woody Frasier (he launched
Good Morning America) as
McEnroe's new executive producer.

Cable net E! Entertainment Television and
Kmart are teaming for a cross-promotion that will put the
network's daily entertainment-news anchors in a new line of Kmart clothes.
They'll also appear in Kmart print ads modeling the clothes.

Holly Jacobs has been named executive VP of
alternative development at Fox Television Studios. She will
oversee development of all the studio's reality, documentary and biography
programs. Previously, Jacobs was executive VP of programming and development
for Buena Vista Productions.

Julie McNamara has been named senior VP of
drama development at Paramount Television. She will oversee
development of the studio's prime time drama programming, reporting to
President Garry Hart. McNamara was vice president of
drama development at ABC.

TNT's experiment with The Grid proved to be a smart
programming move. The six-hour counterterrorism miniseries, which concluded
Monday, averaged 3.2 million viewers, almost a million more than TNT gets on a
typical evening.

Time Warner Cable and
Cablevision's Madison Square Garden
have called a temporary truce, reaching an interim agreement
to get Fox Sports Net New York and MSG
back on Time Warner's New York-area systems. This deal is
only a Band-Aid; there's no long term deal.

Fantasia Fuels Financials

The success of American Idol was enough to
overcome Fox Broadcasting's grimmer ratings issues. During News Corp.'s fiscal
fourth quarter ended June 30, Fox's station and broadcast network increased
sales 9% to $1.3 billion; operating income rose 21% to $351 million. Fox said
its stations boosted profits by 15%. Cable-network revenues grew 5% to $702
million, but profits jumped 60%. That figure is inflated because Fox Cable sold
the Los Angeles Dodgers and no longer has to carry the team's losses.


In the report on the Top 25 Cable & Satellite Operators (8/9, page
17), the last seven should have been in the following order: 19 Susquehanna, 20
Armstrong, 21 Midcontinent, 22 Northland, 23 Blue Ridge, 24 Knology Holdings,
25 Buckeye Cablesystem. Also in that report, Cablevision's basic-subscriber
penetration should have been 66.8%.