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Who will make it work? Bravo’s un-hot but wealthy lady chief, takes on Lifetime’s very hot and probably wealthy lady chief

Published: Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One of them is clearly hotter than the other, but none of them are hotter than the mega cable hit “Project Runway”. But NBC Universal’s Bravo which has been airing the show, will lose it to rival cable net Lifetime. Now Bravo is suing Lifetime to block the show form moving to that network. But how did all this come about? Well Harvey Weinstein the CEO of The Weinstein Company which produces the show stuck it to Bravo Chief Lauren Zalaznick, who was recently lauded in a New York Times article, by doing a deal with Lifetime’s top skirt Andrea Wong even though Weinstein promised Bravo that it would have an opportunity to match any offer to purchase the rights to “Project Runway” So where will “Project Runway” end up? For now, the hot Andrea Wong is excited to add the show to her line up of network TV of the week movie re-runs. But Bravo and/or its parent company NBC Universal wont let it go without a fight. Both sides have put their legal eagles in action. Hey Lauren, if it’s worth going to court over, you should have gotten the clearance to pay what the Weinstein’s were asking for.

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Ted Turner still hurting over CNN, Doesn't want to be chummy with Rupert Murdoch, and thinks news networks are hiring too many chickens

Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ted Turner the one time media mogul, who suffers from a rare case of foot in mouth disease, sat with PBS's Charlie Rose for a one on one where he spoke about his current rolls as Chairman of the United Nations Foundation and Restaurateur. Ted says he would love to see all nuclear weapons wiped off the face of the earth and more steps taken to produce cleaner energy. But what caught our ears the most was when Ted spoke about how angry he was when the AOL Time Warner deal went to hell. He also shared that Michael Milken, Liberty Media boss John Malone and two others he refused to name told him to support the deal thinking it would have been a huge success. But as it turns out they were wrong. Ted also spoke about his long time feud with News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch which was not too long ago put to rest over lunch at Ted Turner's restaurant, Ted's Montana Grill. But even though they buried the hatchet, he doesn't want to be too chummy with Rupert and is still wondering if he should invite him to his 70th birthday bash. Asked about what he thinks about CNN today and other news networks, Turner went into his usual shotgun mouth mode and said, CNN is too giddy and needs to be more serious because he believes news should be serious especially in these times. He is also not pleased with the networks letting quality journalists go in favor of eye candy, which he called chickens. When asked about the very opinionated Lou Dobbs, Turner basically said Dobb’s needs to shut up and just report the news. Turner says that Dobb’s has become too opinionated. He said if he was still running things at CNN he would put Dobbs in check, which he claimed to have done in the past when he was running things at CNN. Ted talked about how he almost bought CBS, ABC and NBC at some point but each of them slipped through his fingers. Ted sounds like he misses the media business and feels like he could do more. When asked by Rose if he would team up with Rupert Murdoch on a project, he didn’t brush it off. So is Ted Turner done with the media business? At almost 70 and all those major brands under his belt, it’s easy to say he is done. But with all his money and connections, we don’t see any reason to right him off just yet.

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A rising star in the house of Zucker

Published: Monday, March 31, 2008

“Who doesn’t want to be that person with the cute boyfriend and the hot cellphone? You want to influence people, and you want to have money. It’s like America.” - LAUREN ZALAZNICK

We call her Jeff Zucker’s Female Czar. Lauren Zalaznick, the boss lady in charge at cable network Bravo and more recently Oxygen, knows her audience well because she is who she caters to. In a New York Times profile it is clear that Lauren is a rising star in Jeff Zucker’s stable of top female executives which make it more likely that after Zucker, NBC Universal nay land in the hands of one of them. Lauren Zalaznick is the brain behind Bravo hits like Project Runway,” and “Top Chef” and it is because of these hits and her eye for them, that Zucker gave her oversight of Oxygen after NBC Universal purchased the network for about $900 million and she is expected to get control of women’s web portal iVillage.com as well.

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More bodies exit Al-Jazeera English

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Al-Jazeera English continues to bleed. This time the exits come higher up the ladder. Steve Clark, a former senior executive at ITN and Sky News and a driving force behind the launch of al-Jazeera English, resigned at the end of last week while David Marash, a former CBS Nightline presenter who was the senior anchor in Washington, has also quit. This is all due to what some staffers call a lack of clear direction and sucky contracts. If all this is due to lack of direction, then we should be seeing more boddies defect being that Steve Clark was a major player in the launch of Al-Jazeera English.

In an email to staff, Clark paid tribute to his colleagues, saying his resignation had been a difficult decision. "We have redefined international news coverage with our dynamic emphasis on the developing world. Our analysis of events in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East has been an editorial triumph."

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NBC Universal's heavy Hammer

Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jeff Zucker may be indirectly setting off serious competitive race for his job with the recently extended duties of some of his top lieutenants. When digital head Beth Comstock was called back to the GE mother ship, Zucker opted not to replace her by splitting her duties among three execs. Now another exec is taking on more duties and no doubt more pay. Bonnie Hammer’s duties will now include control over the development of all entertainment programming for cable channels in addition to a group of smaller cable networks owned by NBC, including the Chiller and Sleuth networks, which are devoted to horror and mystery programs. This is Zucker’s way of rewarding Hammer for doing a “Fantastic Job since Day 1”. Doesn't Bonnie Hammer kinda looks like DreamWorks boss Stacie Snyder

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Time Warner's Bewkes speaking a little clearer now

Published: Friday, March 14, 2008

During his first earnings call as Time Warner CEO, Jeff Bewkes didn't meet expectations as far as what many on the call was hoping the lankly banker turned media heavy would reveal about his plans. When the call was done, all we knew was that he was indeed the new CEO, AOL will look to sell off their sleepy dial up business, even though we can't imagine who would want to buy it, and he was leaving Time Inc as is. But now as he warms to the new gig, Bewkes is spitting out more as he starts to see the big picture more clearly. During the recent Bear Stearns media conference, Bewkes teased the audience with his AOL hopes and plans, only saying that he was open to slapping the troubled internet unit with another company, a clear hint to Yahoo! that they can come knocking. But Bewkes's other revelations only further boosted what others have been saying for some time now like spinning off Cable. However Bewkes continues in his mistake of not trimming up Time Inc. Jeff Bewkes must change his position on the magazine publisher or it will get worst.

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BET For Brown People in the UK

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Viacom's Black Entertainment Television (BET) will launch in the UK via News Corp's BskyB in 8.8 million homes. This is the network's first major expansion overseas. As far as competition, BET execs aren't worried, as there are no direct competitors BET's size in the UK. This is a good move for the cable network under the leadership of Debra Lee but we still think BET has a lot of work to do with their programming style. They also need to continue working on their digital offerings by sniffing out deals that make sense for their audience and their content.

"For the U.K. version of BET, we will be giving BET's U.S. content a regionalized look and feel that reflects the U.K. marketplace, and as we grow and develop the channel, we look forward to partnering with the U.K. creative industry to give BET an even stronger British accent," BET's International General Manager Mike Armstrong said in a statement.

Viacom's BET to launch in the United Kingdom

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Rupert Murodoch's Fox Business network fell flat in its first months, but that’s normal for a new cable network or something like that

Published: Friday, January 04, 2008


Would the suits at News Corp say that Fox Business News met their expectations or fell short of them? Rupert Murdoch's invasion of CNBC's turf may not have had the shock and awe we think some at News Corp thought it would. Fox Business News prime time averaged 15,000 viewers in the nine weeks through the week of December 16. Rupert Murdoch says he expects the network to reach 40 million U.S. homes in this year. But we doubt Rupe is worried about it.

"The launch of any new cable network in this environment -- the numbers are going to be very small starting out, regardless of whether it's coming from a big media conglomerate or not," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media, who tracks media trends.

Fox Business draws few viewers in first months [Reuters]

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FCC's cap off could be another win for media king Rupert Murdoch

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2007


FCC Chairboy Kevin Martin sets limits for cable and news firms in an attempt to save the newspaper industry and of course not everyone is happy. However one person that is probably smiling this morning is non other than News Corp, now Dow Jones ruler Rupert Murdoch, who because of this ruling can win permanent waivers to control two television stations in New York, as well as The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.
In one 3-to-2 vote on Tuesday, Mr. Martin sided with the agency’s two other Republicans to relax the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules in the nation’s 20 largest markets. Under the new rule, a company can own both a newspaper and either a television or radio station in those markets as long as there remain at least eight other independent sources of news. If it is a television station, the rule requires that it cannot be one of the top four.

F.C.C. Reshapes Rules Limiting Media Industry [NYT]

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One of CNBC's first major moves to back off Fox Business News, putting it's content on Yahoo! Finance

Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We hope the suits at business news network CNBC aren't giddy about their little deal to put their content on Yahoo! Finance. This apparently one of their moves to make sure they stay ahead of the game with Fox Business News being around and all. Yeah you know, this is the same deal a bunch of gossip and media blogs had with Yahoo! about a year ago where their gossipy content was available in Yahoo!'s entertainment section. You guys have to walk with an 800 ft stick to keep FBN at bay, seriously.

CNBC to distribute business news on Yahoo Finance [Reuters]

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FCC Chairboy Kevin Martin a power abuser?

Published: Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Forget his proposals currently on the table. They are about to be overshadowed by an investigation into his use of power. FCC Chairboy Kevin Martin needed this like he needs to be Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Apparently their is a question mark hanging over his head regarding his recent TV and media ownership regulations proposal. The question is whether he failed to operate fairly and openly in handling it. Are the cable giants behind this? Did Kevin Martin step into a field of shit without the proper footwear?

"I have received several complaints from the public and professionals within the communications industry about how Chairman Martin is conducting business at the FCC," said Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who heads the Energy and Commerce subcommittee that will conduct the investigation. "It is one thing to be an aggressive leader, but many of the allegations indicate possible abuse of power and an attempt to intentionally keep fellow commissioners in the dark."

FCC target of House panel's investigation [LAT]

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The cable guy wants to be the phone guy too

Published: Sunday, December 02, 2007


For Brian Roberts, CEO of mega Cable company Comcast, and the man who wanted to buy Disney, the battles go on and on. He along with counterparts like Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Brit are facing a cap off by the FCC which will stunt the growth of their companies. But this isn’t the only battle Brian Roberts faces. See in addition to being the biggest cable provider in America, he may end up being the fourth-largest residential phone company if all goes to plan. But of course in business nothing ever if rarely goes to plan. Roberts is facing a showdown with companies like AT&T, and Verizon who aren’t liking the fact that he is about to trespass on their turf. In a Q&A with Portfolio.com Fortune.com, Roberts answers questions regarding these and other challenges he faces as he pushes Comcast into new directions.

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