The week that was - Broadcasting & Cable

The week that was

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Tauzin has digital draft bill ready

House Energy and Commerce Committee
Chairman Billy Tauzin
this week will circulate a "discussion draft" of digital television legislation aimed at speeding the transition from analog.

Details of the draft aren't complete, but sources expect that "all issues" will be tackled, including cable carriage of broadcast DTV signals, interoperability between cable signals and DTV sets, and mandated inclusion of DTV tuners in sets. Tauzin plans a hearing Sept. 25.

TVB confab stays in Big Apple next year

The Television Bureau of Advertising
will again hold its annual conference in New York next year, on April 15 at the Javits Convention Center. It's also partnering again with the New York Auto Show.

TVB said it will lease more space next year to fit more exhibitors and attendees. The conference sold out last year.

About a half dozen major TV groups held meetings during this year's conference, including the NBC Television Affiliates Association.

Courtroom maneuvers

The Justice Department
asked Univision
for more information regarding its pending purchase of Hispanic Broadcasting. It is the second such request, but the companies said they still expect to close the deal by year's end. ...

The NAB
and top radio groups, including Clear Channel
and Emmis,
have petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office
for a stay of royalty payments on Internet streamed content, which they have challenged in court. They cite their appeal, pending in the Third Circuit Court in Washington, as reason to hold off on enforcing payment. ...

The House Energy & Commerce Committee
referred the Martha Stewart/ ImClone
probe to the Justice Department, "strongly" suggesting that it investigate whether Stewart earlier lied to the committee. She indicated to Chairman Billy Tauzin
(R-La.) that she wouldn't appear again or would take the Fifth Amendment if subpoenaed.

Musical chairs

Meredith Broadcasting,
which seems to be competing with Viacom
for most major changes within a station group, tapped Steve Ramsey, who had been VP, news and operations,
for Tribune Broadcasting, to be general manager at WSMV-TV
Nashville, Tenn. He replaces Frank DeTillio,
who left the station in July. Like Dennis Swanson, who moved from NBC
for Viacom in July, Meredith Broadcasting President Kevin O'Brien
hit the ground running about a year ago and replaced several Meredith GMs and news directors.

Get with the program

FX
won't renew Howard Stern's Son of the Beach
for a fourth season, industry execs said. The series, popular with young male viewers, averaged an 0.9 household rating in season three. It will likely be shopped to other channels. ...

NBC
ordered three episodes of Adrenaline X, in which extreme-sports champs compete by performing risky stunts, according to Jeff Gaspin, NBC exec for alternative series.

Also, NBC has ordered 10 one-hour episodes of a reality action competition from Silver Pictures Television
and GRB Entertainment. Working title: The Next Action Star. Like Fox's American Idol, the show will hold auditions for contestants, but they'll be competing to star in a made-for-TV movie called Hit Me, which will serve as the show's finale. It's tentatively slated for either summer or fall 2003. ...

Twentieth Television
is expanding its test of syndicated dating show Ex-treme Dating, extending its run by eight weeks and clearing the show in five more metered markets. In Ex-treme Dating, one person's ex comments on the date of his or her ex-partner. ...

Couples will compete for the opportunity to pull off their wedding in 48 hours on a $10,000 budget in a Pax TV
show slated for a November debut. The 12 episodes of 48-Hour Wedding
come from Banyan Productions.

Corrections

The Sept. 2 Focus on the Honolulu market should have said that the local CBS affiliate is KGMB(TV) and the local Fox affiliate is KHON-TV. Both are owned by Emmis Communications.

The Sept. 9 Fates & Fortunes misspelled Adlink National Sales Manager Dean Waters's name.

The cover of the Sept. 9 issue misidentified Justin Guarini, the runner-up on Fox's American Idol.

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