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In the Loop - Broadcasting & Cable

Selling Sex

HBO and Warner Bros. are still peddling their syndicated version of Sex and the City
for broadcast TV, but Oxygen Chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne is interested in it for her cable network if she can get the right window. Usually that means three or four years after the broadcast syndication window, which HBO and Warner Bros. have not nailed down. Oxygen is going for the sophisticated, edgy, 18-49 woman, and Sex and the City would be a perfect fit, Laybourne says. Sources say the Turner nets also are interested.

On the broadcast side, Tribune stations are in the hunt for Sex
but there's no deal yet.—P.A

Pushy Peacock

The NBC peacock has promo fever. The network, top-rated last season in the key 18-49 demo, is spreading its wings and trying a bunch of things to get it, and its co-owned cable net, Bravo, noticed. First came the reverse-repurposing with a cut-down version of Bravo's gay-themed makeover show Queer Eye of the Straight Guy. Now, the Queer Eye guys are making over Jay Leno on the same night that a full hour of the show is reairing on NBC. The network also is plugging Bravo's gay dating show, Boy Meets Boy, and off-NBC runs of West Wing.

NBC also is hoping to keep viewers tuned in with occasional shorts between shows in prime. The network hopes one-minute movies, or "1MMs," will discourage surfing. ER creator John Wells and director Paris Barclay pioneered the concept. Projects include The Pussy Cat Dolls, featuring Carmen Electra (right). NBC plans to slot the 1MMs when programs run a little short.—A.R.

Day Labor Dispute

According to a story in the Northern Virginia Journal
, noncommercial WETA-TV Washington doesn't want a day laborer shelter in its back yard. According to a WETA-TV spokeswoman, the station supports the shelter, but preferred two other sites—all three are on the same block—that were closer to an employment and education center.

The Journal
story quoted station CEO Sharon Rockefeller as telling the Arlington County board that the location closest to the WETA-TV complex in Arlington, Va., would be "a pretty hostile environment." WETA-TV director of corporate communications Cecily Van Praagh said Rockefeller was referring to potential traffic hazards with pick-ups and drop-offs of laborers, which the board also cited, and not fears that staffers would be accosted by laborers, as the paper concluded. The board went with the site WETA-TV opposes, but the station accepts that decision, said Van Praagh.

The Journal
story prompted a media bias alert from the conservative Media Research Center, which hastened to point to stories on public broadcasting about the need to help day laborers.—J.E

Hi-Def Lob

USA Network is serving up some of this month's U.S. Open tennis in HDTV. The cable net, which airs early rounds of the tournament, plans to carry center court matches in 1080i HD Sept. 1-4. CBS, which has broadcast rights, will air six days of action in HD. The networks will share the equipment, including cameras, switchers and an HD production truck. USA plans to charge operators a "nominal" fee, says Doug Holloway, president of distribution.—A.R.

Buzz on the Brink

Executives at Acme Communications said they're pleased with the performance of The Daily Buzz, the live morning show launched a year ago. They also may cancel it.

Buzz
has improved time period ratings and revenue. The problem: Half the show's revenue was derived from two stations in St. Louis and Portland, Ore., that Acme has sold to Tribune. Acme hopes to syndicate the show or bring in a partner. But Acme's Doug Gealy said if he can't do a deal by early September, it's bye bye Buzz.—S.M.

All My Roadshow Friends…

PBS is looking to take a page out of ABC's promotional playbook. The latest promo mailer for WGBH-TV Boston's Antiques Roadshow
features the profile of a quarterback in classic passing pose. The helmet's logo is the Antiques Roadshow trunk and the pitch reads: "It's Monday Night…Are You Ready for some Roadshow!" Inside is a chalkboard noting the cities scheduled for Roadshow visits. The series airs at 8 p.m. on Monday nights, so at least it doesn't have to compete helmet to helmet with ABC's Monday Night Football
franchise, which kicks off at 9.—J.E.

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