The Week That Was



is restructuring parts of its operation and plans to lay off 600 employees, about 4% of its workforce. The move prompted the company to take a $55 million charge against earnings for the fourth quarter, which ends today (Dec. 31). The company said the cutbacks would affect "corporate, administrative and infrastructure functions across various business units."


Satellite TV providers DirecTV
and EchoStar
last week announced plans to roughly double the number of local channels they carry in major markets. The expanded service is being rolled out to comply with federal rules requiring DBS beginning Jan. 1 either to offer all the local stations in a market or to carry none at all. DirecTV began broadcasting more than 200 additional local channels in 41 markets. EchoStar said it will wait until the deadline to add the extra channels in its 36 local markets.

Meanwhile, about 90 members of Congress asked the Department of Justice and the FCC to look closely at EchoStar's proposed acquisition of DirecTV and attach rigid concessions. And the National Association of Broadcasters, which opposes the deal, released a poll purporting that 71% agreed with the statement, "The federal government should not allow the only two satellite-television companies to merge into just one."


A&E is organizing some of its prized originals into a new Thursday-night drama block beginning Jan. 3. The A&E Network Studios block will feature original movies and series from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, beginning with four-part miniseries Victoria & Albert.

Tribune Broadcasting
says that WPIX(TV)
New York's Yule Log, which returned to TV on Christmas Day, was local TV's top-rated program from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The station reports Nielsen numbers of 3.1/10 for the video of a log burning brightly in a fireplace, accompanied by Christmas carols. The log was a regular feature from 1966 to 1989.

Univision Communications
signed a new deal with Grupo Televisa
in which Televisa will pay $375 million to up its stake in Univision from 6% to $15%. As part of the deal, Univision secures all rights to Televisa TV
programming for its three networks, Univision, Telefutura
(debuting Jan. 14) and cable network Galavision
through 2017.

ABC's comedy The Job
is returning to the network's schedule on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 9:30 p.m. The same night ABC News moves Downtown
to 10 p.m. With that, 20/20
moves back to Friday at 10.Once & Again,
which was airing at 10 p.m. on Fridays, will move to 9 p.m. starting Jan. 4.

The WB
is switching around its two Friday-night comedies and adding a second weekly run of Angel

to its lineup. On Jan. 4, Maybe It's Me

will trade places with Raising Dad. Maybe It's Me
will air at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT and Raising Dad
will move to 8:30. The WB will repeat Angel
on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. leading into Charmed.
NBC Enterprises'
new syndicated talk show The Other Half
lost one quarter of its on-air presence. Dr. Jan Adams, a plastic surgeon left the show. …NBC
premieres its late-night Last Call with Carson Daly
with the MTV
VJ on Jan. 7, at 1:35 a.m.


Robert Pendarvis
is the first recipient of the Young Engineer of the Year Award, given by The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Pace Micro Technology plc
and the Cahners Television Group
(which includes BROADCASTING & CABLE ). Pendarvis is manager of network engineering and technology deployment for Comcast.

Noted sportscaster and writer Dick Schaap
died Dec 21 following complications from hip-replacement surgery at the age of 67.…Lance Loud, whose family was an early entry in reality TV in the 1973 PBS
documentary, An American Family
died in Los Angeles at the age of 50. Loud declared his homosexuality on the 12-part series...

Mother Mary Angelica, founder of the Catholic cable net EWTN, remained in intensive care after surgery Christmas Eve to clear a blood clot following a stroke, her second in three months.