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The week that was - Broadcasting & Cable

The week that was

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AT DEADLINE: CBS WANTS NCAA HELP

CBS
wants financial help from affiliates to pay for its $6 billion 11-year NCAA
contract, Bloomberg
reported Friday. But it's unclear if CBS will be successful or what form that assistance would take. At deadline, the network hadn't decided whether it would formally raise the issue at its annual affiliates meeting in Las Vegas next month.

MORE SHIELD
ADVERTISERS BOLT

FX'sThe Shield
lost another large advertiser, with Tricon Global Restaurants—owner of Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken
and Taco Bell—the most recent to pull ads from the gritty new basic-cable series, reports the Los Angeles-based Parents Television Council. Tricon is the fourth advertiser to pull its spots from The Shield, with Burger King, Office Depot
and New Balance
also having backed out, PTC says.

In its most recent outing last Tuesday night, the show drew a 3 rating, up 36% from the previous week's 2.2. An FX spokesman downplayed the idea of an advertiser exodus, saying some advertisers are evaluating the show episode by episode.

Sources say one of those is Anheuser Busch. FX has been careful to warn viewers about The Shield's content, giving the show a TV-MA rating and attaching a disclaimer that viewer discretion is advised, says John Solberg, FX's spokesman. Solberg says the show has added 11 new sponsors since its premiere.

THE BUSINESS

A group of Long Island cable customers has sued both Cablevision
and the Yankees Entertainment & Sports
network (YES) to get their Yankees games. The subscribers are seeking to have the suit certified as a class action representing all Cablevision customers. Cablevision has offered to carry YES as a pay channel, but YES Chairman Leo Hindery
wants to be carried on basic, which would give him a wider potential audience. …

A CBS-led coalition of news organizations, broadcasters and trade associations filed a petition asking the Federal Election Commission
to amend its rules to make clear that the sponsorship of a debate between political candidates by a news organization (or a trade association) does not constitute an illegal corporate campaign contribution. The petition argues that, under the FEC's regulations, a news organization's sponsorship of a debate could be considered an illegal contribution, punishable as a crime, unless the debate participants have been selected in accordance with "pre-established objective criteria." …Fox Entertainment Group
filed a universal shelf registration statement with the SEC
to issue up to $2.5 billion of equity or debt securities to the public.

The company didn't disclose when it might try to raise the money, but Standard & Poors
issued a preliminary BBB-minus rating on Fox debt, something the agency typically doesn't do unless the company has signaled that some sort of sale is imminent. Fox didn't say how it might use any money raised.

THE SHOWS

Ellen DeGeneres
signed a deal to host an hour-long, syndicated talk/variety strip beginning in fall 2003, Warner Bros.
announced Friday. That's if she's able to do the series and that depends on whether CBS
renews The Ellen Show, which isn't exactly a great bet. …

MTV
is turning its Real World
reality franchise into an original movie with Real World: The Lost Season, set to air Aug. 6. The spoof will track a fictional Real World
cast kidnapped by a producer (and wanna-be cast member) who forces them to live out a Real World
experience. MTV is in production on a 12th Real World, set in Las Vegas and slated for a July debut. …

UPN's sci-fi series Roswell
is being canceled. The network said the series will end its run on May 14 with what UPN describes as a finale that will "present shocking plot twists and resolve many of the distinctively romantic and emotionally moving storylines that have been the trademark of the fan-obsessed series." Roswell
will get a second run on cable when Sci Fi
channel begins airing all three seasons next year.

RADIO, RADIO

Sirius Satellite Radio's service is now available in 11 states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. "We are executing our accelerated roll-out schedule and plan to activate an additional seven states by the end of the month," said Guy Johnson, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Last month, Sirius, which is in competition with XM Satellite Radio, moved up its nationwide launch date from Aug. 1 to July 1 and said it would add entire states at once, instead of cities. XM, meanwhile, announced its radio receivers will be offered in all 2003 Cadillacs. …

CORRECTION

In the listing of the Top 25 Station Groups in April 8 issue, the address for Post-Newsweek's station group was incorrect. The correct address is 550 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, Mich. 48226-3123.

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