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F i n | Must Reading from October 20, 1997


Raycom raises stakes for LIN Otters $54 per share for group owner ($1.9 billion). higher than the $1.7 billion

proposed by Hicks Muse in August. / 6 I А TA B&C/IRTS EXCLUSIVE Мо access There appears to be no more room in access. REPONIT CARD Media Report Card: |

А consenta sout How Americans View the

That was the story coming out of Hollywood last week. with the final top-market availabilities for syndicated shows locked

up by NBC and Twentieth Television s Access Hollywood. / 7 77 * Television They Watch А . Я ped er study c issioned I TV exhorted to offer moral leadership Vice namaa А Roper study commissioned by à : SUCHE TUNE. ¢ BROADCASTING & CABLE and the President Gore last week called on Hollywood to remember its —= id Тит ӨП Radio & Telexision moral responsibility and to continue behaving like “a commu- e кой пойон Ben ганган nity of leaders іп a responsible community that cares.” / 14 £I y Е a ace Don may be ready to accept more

Heyward gets vote of confidence CBS News |" —— dl regulation in television for 5 = EL M

chief has support of company, network affiliates are told. / 1 children. / follows page 46

Virginia candidates squeezed off the tube Even as politicians debate television's political responsibilities, candidates for Virginia state offices have lost potential time on Washington, D.C., stations to higher-paying advertisers. Z 19


‘Access Hollywood’ offers Pat Hindery, Malone quit Lenfest Friction over Len-

answer The addition of sports anchor fest Communications grew more intense last week, when Pat O'Brien has proved effective for Tele-Communications Inc.'s John Malone and Leo Hindery Access Hollywood. The gradual ratings quit the MSO's board in a continuing disagreement with

comeback has NBC officials and new dis- СЕЗДШ. 1998 tributor Twentieth Television upbeat about РЕК { the show. / 47

Jones replaced at Meredith Broadcasting Phil Jones, former chair- man of the NAB joint board, has resigned after eight years as Meredith Broadcasting

chairman Gerry Lenfest over how to maxi- mize the company's value. / 55

CableLabs in center of storm

In the OpenCable initiative to establish open standards for advanced analog and digital set-top boxes, Cable Television Lab- oratories is at the center of the action. / 56

авс е апа Group president. He is being replaced b i п 7

ааа durs i 1] T Lc hlin p. 47 ; s ier "he Cable-p ay gender gap shrinks, i vice pres »hlin. u r P à

ended кзы uid ici ca es oA Holling Stones on but remains ^ study from Women

by-play rightsto Silver King staffs WYHS-TV Sev- | MTV's Live from in Cable and Telecommunications finds the World Series eral key executives have been hired at Sil- | Pe 10 5p9t/60 Women cable executives earning 15% next year. / 53 Ë a _ : =

ver King broadcasting to reformat the less than their male counterparts. / 58 company's Miami station, wHYs-TV. Plans call fi ing company's Miami station, witys-TV. Plans call for dumping TECHNOLOGY / 62

home shopping for locally produced programming. / 48 m WCBS-TV sheds light in darkness wces-ry SPECIAL REPORT

Р New York's new infrared camera system on its ENG heli- Cable's copter is allowing low-light and no-light reports from Originals foggy, smoky or night settings. / 62

More and more. Tele cable networks are / 66

opening their wallets || Leno and the NFL join NBC's Intercast The

for movies and other | National Football League and The Tonight Show are NBC's original program- latest additions to its interactive Intercast programming. / 66 ming, adding both dieere md elo | Broadcast Ratings ...50 Closed Circuit ......... IN. Fifth Estater ............ 84 identity. / 28 Cover Cable Ratings.......... 60 Dateboo,.................. 83 For the Record ........ 80 art by South Park Changing Напах...... 5. Editorials ................. О Brief tacens 88 Classified. 70 Fates & Fortunes.....85 Washington Watch..22 4 October 20 1997 Broadcasting & Cable

WWW americanracdiohistorv com


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Raycom bids for L

Broadcasting & Cable

$1.9 billion offer for 13-station group tops Hicks, Muse's August play

By Steve McClellan

hen Hicks Muse bid

$47.50 a share ($1.7

billion total. including debt) for LIN Television Corp. in August, the offer drew law = suits from shareholders who complained that the price was below the company's true value. Many analysts agreed, valuing LIN at the time at $54- $55 per share.

Last week those earlier esti- mates appeared to have been vindicated, as Raycom Media parent Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) stepped up with an offer thought to be in the $54-per-share range. or approximately $1.9 billion, including debt.

Raycom is the 23rd-largest TV group owner. with 24 sta- tions covering 6.4% of the country. The company is led by president John Haves. for- mer head of the Providence Journal Corp.^s TV group. A Raycom/LIN combination would cover 12.6%, but only 1.1% when UHF discounts are considered. The acquisi- lion. of WOOD-TV Grand Rapids. Mich.. from AT&T (which IS part of the LIN/Hicks Muse deal) would put the combined company at more than 13% coverage.

The Raycom offer could put à severe crimp in Hicks Muse's plan to become а major TV station operator with one stroke of the pen. It also has called into | question a side venture with NBC (which the network confirmed for the first time last week) to jointly operate KAAS-TV Dallas and KNSDCTV) San Diego. Calif.

Sources say that if the venture goes through. NBC will end up with 80% control Of KNAS-TV and KNSD. with the other 20% belonging to Hicks. An agrec-

John Hayes, president/CEO


Montgomery, Ala.

FCC coverage'-5.3% Full соуегаде?-6.2%

WMC-TVv Memphis wrvR(Tv) Richmond, Va. WTNX-TV Knoxville, Tenn.

wuPw-TV Toledo, Ohio WSTM-TV Syracuse, N.Y. KSLA-TV Shreveport, La. KOLD-TV Tucson, Ariz. KFVS-Tv Cape Girardeau, Mo. WAFF-Tv Huntsville, Ala. KWWL-Tv Cedar Rapids, lowa МАСН-ТУ Columbia, S.C. WAFB-TV Baton Rouge, La. мтос-ту Savannah, Ga. KSFY-TV Sioux Falls, S.D and satellites kaBY-Tv Aberdeen andkPRY-Tv Pierre wPBN-TV Cadillac, Mich. KNDO-TV Yakima, Wash., and satellite KNDU-TV Richland wTVM-TV Columbus, Ga. wECT-TV Wilmington, N.C. WDAM-TV Hattiesburg, Miss. WLUC-TV Marquette, Mich. KTVO-TV Ottumwa. lowa WMC-AM-FM Memphis Raycom Sports, New York and Charlotte, N.C.

25 stations

ment in which NBC would sell its Birmingham, Ala.. station, WA TAPA, to Hicks for about S200 million also is linked to that venture. NBC also would renew all of Hicks Muse's network affiliate contracts Gin. both the LIN and the Sunrise Television groups) through 2010.

The NBC deal could be Hicks Muse s ace in the hole. Bear Stearns broadcasting industry analyst. Victor Miller asserts that Hicks Muse merely has to "come close" to the price offered by RSA for LIN. ICs not just price that LIN shareholders (including 45%


Gary R. Chapman, president,


Providence, R.I.

13 Stations FCC coverage'-5.6% Full coverage?-6.1%

KxAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth wiSH-TV Indianapolis wTNH-TV Hartford. Conn. wivB-Tv Buffalo, М.Ү. wAVY-TV Norfolk, Va. KXAN-TV Austin, Tex., and satel- lite KXAM-TV Llano wAND(TV) Springfield, III. WANE-TV Fort Wayne, Ind.

Controlled through focal marketing agreement: кхтх(ту) Dallas WBNE-TV New Haven, Conn. WVBT-TV Virginia Beach, Va. KNVA-TV Austin. Tex.

Thomas O. Hicks. chairman


Austin, Tex.

7 Stations FCC coverage'-1.4% Full coverage?-1.696

wEvi(TV) Flint, Mich. wROC-TV Rochester, М.Ү. WJAC-TV Altoona, Pa. «sBW(Tv) Monterey, Calif. wrOv-TV Wheeling, W.Va. KRBC-TV' Abilene, Tex., and satellite kacB-Tv” San Angelo

1—Percentage of Nielsen's 96.9 million TV homes as calculated for FCC rules. Coverage of UHF stations is halved and that of stations controlled through marketing agreements are not counted. 2—Percentage of Nielsen's 96.9 million TV homes.

*Purchase pending

owner АЕТ will consider in evaluat- ing bids. says Miller, but also the cred- ibility of the bidders. "HW NBC is guar- anteeing it will supply all of Hicks Muse s NBC stations with long-term affiliate contracts. why would a share- holder go with Retirement Systems when it just creates more risk 2"

In Miller's view. the only reason shareholders would choose RSA is if its Final offer were substantially bevond what Hicks Muse considers an economically viable price for the LIN properties.

Last Thursday. when the RSA offer came to light, NBC immediately issued a press release confirming its letter of intent with Hicks Muse to do a station joint venture. H also reminded the world that if the LIN stations were sold to other

October 20 1997 Broadcasting & Cable

pue ÁO of the Wee


parties outside of Hicks (which would receive a $32 million break-up fee), NBC would have the right to review—and possibly cancel—the affiliate contracts. Why would the network want to can- cel its affiliate contracts with LIN in the event of a change of control? Sources cite several reasons. including the network's comfort level with the current LIN managers, led by Gary

Chapman. Issues such as the acquiring company's financial health. capital structure and track record in broadcast- ing also are factors, sources хау.

Many affiliate agreements have clauses that give the networks the right to review and cancel those agreements in the event of a change of control.

Neither LIN nor RSA would con- firm at deadline Friday that RSA had |

made the offer, LIN would acknowl- edge only that it had a new offer which was higher than Hicks Muse’s

LIN's stock price shot up $4.75. to $51.25. last Thursday. when LIN announced the new offer. That same day. it released its third-quarter earn- ings, reporting record revenue ($71.9 | million. up 4.6%) and broadcast cash flow ($34.6 million, up 11%). m

Access locked up for 1998-99

Network O&Os have filled time period for next season, leave no room for newcomers

By Joe Schlosser

here apparently is no more access in access.

That was the story coming out of Hollywood last week. as the final piece of the 1998-99 access puzzle was filled in by NBC and Twentieth Television s Access Hol- Ivwood (see story. page 47).

With the nod by NBC's owned- and-operated stations to give Access Hollywood a renewal for a third sea- son, syndication's most lucrative hour is all but locked up for next season. The top four broadcast networks (АВС. CBS, NBC and Fox) have filled the hour block on their O&Os with game and reality shows.

"Stick a fork in it. it's done.” says

$900 $490 $400

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likely to be in fringe or daytime.

When Hollywood Squares debuts on the CBS stations next fall. it will replace Paramount's Hard Copy in many mar- kets. Hard Copy has been running with Entertain- ment Tonight in most cities but will likely face downgrades in many of the top markets.

“Hard Copy will con- tinue into the foreseeable future, but mainly in early fringe time periods,” says Diek Kurlander. vice president, director of pro- gramming, at Petry Tele-


ABC O&Os have locked up'Jeopardy! through 2002

“Stick a fork in [access]; it's done." —Bill Carroll, Katz Media

Bill Carroll. vice president and direc-

tor of programming at Katz Media. | from the Sun locked up Fox station

"And if it’s done in the major markets, then is basically done everywhere.”

Carroll says smatler markets like Des Moines. lowa, and Fresno, Catif.. now have to choose among the shows select- ed by their counterparts in major mar- kets. And those choices look a lot like last vear^ s.

The ABC O&Os are locked into King World's two games, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, through the 2001- 2002 season. The CBS O& Os are com- mitted to Paramount's Entertainment Tonight and King World's revival of Hollywood Squares.

NBC now has Access Hollywood and is also signed on to Warner Bros.” Extra through the 1999-2000. season. The Fox stations are strictly running off-network fare like The Simpsons. Home Improvement and Seinfeld on many of their stations. The Fox O&Os are also awaiting two off-network sit- coms for the 1999-2000 season. Both The Drew Carey Show and 3rd. Rock

deals earlier this year.

Who missed out on access for next season and who is not coming back in 1998? The answer is not cut-and-dried.

Sources say Warner Bros. was look- ing to place a new version of The Love Connection and another new game show into access for next season. But Warner Bros. officials say Love Connection and Change of Heart are only in develop- ment. Warner Bros. is also said to be developing a half-hour reality-based strip of How d They Do That?

Sources say NBC was attempting to bring a hall-hour National Geographic show into access. but chose instead to go with Access Hollywood. Scott Sassa. president of the NBC owned-and-oper- aled stations, reportedly. wanted the National Geographic show.

All American Television. which was just acquired by Pearson Television, is apparently looking to bring back Farm- ilv Feud and possibly March Game or Password. But their only outlets are


Kurlander says King World's /nsice Edition will also occupy some access time periods and "is certainly healthier than Мага Copy in access."

John Nogawski, executive vice pres- ident/general sales manager at Para- mount Domestic Television. says that a few years ago the sales force started positioning //ard Copy "to be more than just an access show." He says it will likely hecome an early fringe mag- azine paired in many markets with Paramount s Real TV.

"From a renewal standpoint, we already are cleared in 50 percent of the country, after we get New York and Los Angeles wrapped up. Once we do those two deals." he says. "we really have only four markets in the top 30 we need to renew for the 1998-99 season."

As for American Journal. another King World news magazine, its future is in doubt. "We think it will contin-

ue," says King World Chairman Roger King. ^ “but we have some problems

with it.” п

Broadcasting & Cable October 20 1997



HONEY debuts as the highest rated first-run weekly hour in two seasons. |


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of the Week F ——

Microsoft boxing with TCI

MSO will buy up to 2 million set-tops that use Microsoft operating systems

By Price Coleman and

John M. Higgins icrosoft Corp. s financial moves around Tele-Commu-

M nications Inc. call for bank-

rolling purchases of the next genera- tion of digital set-tops rather than buy- ing à big equity stake in the MSO.

Cable and Wall Street executives say that Microsoft and TCI are close to signing à vendor financing arrangement for TCUs purchase of 1.5 million#2 million digital cable con- verters. The converters would incorpo- rate Microsoft s operating systems but be manufactured by another equipment company (B&C. Oct. 13).

While an equipment financing deal may not be as sexy as Microsoft's $1 billion stake in MSO Comcast Corp.. executives take the discussions as f'ur- ther signs of Silicon Vallev's frenzy to get their software and chips into digital set-tops.

With operators now successfully |

offering high-speed [Internet services over cable, companies like Oracle Corp.. Intel Corp.. and IBM are negoti- ating to set standards that allow PC-


Сап Microsoft make this box smarter?

like functions via а cable converter. Time Warner Inc. Chairman Gerald

| Levin says he is excited that “many

major companies are trying to get a piece of this network" and that the flur- ry "is the best indicator that cable is now recognized as the network of choice for this high-speed digital transmission." The big question is whether TCI is breaking ranks with the industry cam- paign to agree to use an open operating

| system. Such a system would allow all

| | | |

sorts of companies to develop new applications. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates had been pushing a proprietary standard that would put him in the cen- ter of data traffic flowing through cable


A break by such a major equip- ment buyer would reduce the economies of seale that MSOs hope to achieve. "This is great if it doesn't short- circuit the open-box policy.” Says a senior executive at one MSO.

However, an executive familiar with the discussions savs that TCI is t breaking ranks: it simply wanted to cut an early deal with Microsoll.

Sources sav the $700 mil- lion-$800 million deal could be

| structured as an investment in a stand-

Microsoft Network keeps on morphing

alone company. such as the box- financing partnership leasing company that Babcock & Brown buried deep inside the recently spun-off TCI. Ven- tures Group.

TCI President Leo Hindery tanta- lized investors two weeks ago at a Goldman Sachs media investment con- ference in New York by stating that TCI cut a major deal that would lift the prices of all cable stocks “by the first snowfall.”

HJ snowed at TCTs Denver headquar- ters the following Saturday, "Maybe he meant the first snowfall in New York.” said one cable operator's CFO. a

The Microsoft Network recast itself last week as it con- tinues to move toward a broad restructuring of the online service.

MSN executives denied rumors of an attempted sale while they touted MSN 2.5—the latest software featuring integration with Internet Explorer 4.0, a streamlined nav- igation tool—and a new e-mail service, called Outlook Express. The strategic outlook for MSN remains unre- solved, although recent internal restructuring indicates that there will be further repositioning of the service.

The immediate plan is to create MSN Connect, an Internet service provider (ISP), for $19.95 per month, and a premium version (dubbed MSN Club internally) with 'Net access and proprietary content for $25 month- ly. Most of the content now behind the $4.95 member- ship firewall will migrate to MSN.com.

Content from women's community Underwire and from One Click Away, an interactive site search program, will be offered free on MSN next month as part of a migration that Microsoft is promoting. MSN's popular Netwits game also will be free soon. "What you will see us do is leverage our popular position on the Web to deliver that program- ming to a larger audience," says Bob Bejan, MSN execu- tive producer. "We need to maximize those eyeballs.”

That's especially true now that America Online's imminent merger with CompuServe will put MSN solidly in second place among online providers (MSN's 2.6 mil- lion subs to AOL's 12 million). And despite protestations to the contrary, MSN executives are said to be disturbed that 80% of the service's members use it to surf the 'Net rather than to view MSN content.

"Microsoft doesn't want to be in the ISP business. But it already is and it's acknowledging that fact," says Peter Krasilovsky, vice president and media analyst for Arlen Communications, Krasilovsky sees the repositioning as a wise move, with the potential for content development still there.

Bejan insists that MSN aims to stay on the cutting edge with content such as Vanishing Point, a narra- tive/game hybrid that debuts late this year. Next month MSN debuts a job-search program, Get Working, and a cooking show, Mauny's Kitchen, with video streamed via NetShow. "The stuff that people appreciate the most is things that people are using in their daily lives," he says.

In addition to denying that a sale of the company is in the works, Bejan says MSN isn't seeking a partner. But he doesn't rule out working with archrival AOL if the right deal comes along. —hRichard Tedesco

WWW. americanradiohistorv.com



October 20 1997 Broadcasting & Cable




Close at

op of the Wee



end of 9/93 12/83 3/94 6/94 3/94 12/94 3/95 6/95 9/95 12/95 3/96 8/96 9/96 12/96 3/97 6/97 9/97

Cable stocks climb

Microsoft TCI deal pushes some companies to record highs

By John M. Higgins

ilicon Valley s continuing enthusi-

asm for cable has most MSO

stocks blowing past their all-time highs. set during the teleo-induced takeover fever of 1993.

Fed by news of a major equipment financing deal between Microsoft Corp. and Tele-Communications Ine.. Cable- vision Systems Corp.. Comeast Corp.. Time Warner Inc. and TCA Cable TV Inc. traded at all-time highs last week. TCI is within striking distance of its record. but the cable rally finds a few

other MSOs still far below their highs.

The old records generally were achieved in the frenzy. following Bell Atlantic s October 1993 deal to bus | TCI for some $25 billion. which sent investors rushing to figure out which company would be the nest to fall. With cable operators looking like they Were jumping into the telephone busi- ness. telcos thought they needed to be in the video business.

All that. of course, fizzled and the Bell Aulantic/TCl deal collapsed. as did SBC Communications! deal to merge with Cox Communications,


Cablevision Systems last week

broke through its 972 all-time high of

November 1993, when US West was seeking to take over the Woodbury. N.Y.-based MSO. Cablevision hit $72.93 Wednesday and ticked up as high as $73.63 the next day before set- tling back. That's double the МОУ price in May.

Comcast hit an all-time high of

S27.88 Thursday. two weeks after blow- ing past its previous split-acdjusted record of $26. set the same week as Cables i- Моп.

TCTs complicated series of spin-otfs and exchange offers leaves questions about whether the MSO has made it back. After the Bell Atlantic bid. TCTs stock peaked at $32.88 per share on Oct. 14. 1996. But scorekeepers have to adjust for the 1995 spin-off of Liberty

Media Corp. and the 1996 creation of

TCI Satellite Entertainment Inc.

Subtracting the value of those spin- offs (valued on the first day of trading) brings TCH s record down to $27.16, 14% higher than its $23.68 trading price last Friday.

However. Bloomberg Information System adjusts for the split and comes up with a 1993 record of just $22.70. Standard & Poor's Compustat service comes up with a high of $23.24 on the same date.

While up strongly in recent weeks. Adelphia Communications Corp.. Jones Intercable Ine. and Century Communi-

cations Corp. remain at 30% -45% of

their peaks. =

CEO exits as NextLevel plunges

Stock tumbles on lower earnings: Friedlander quits, Breen new president

By John M. Higgins

fter spinning off from General Instrument. Corp. three months ago. NextLevel Systems Inc, truly found a new level ——one much. much lower. The cable equipment ven- dors stock price sank 29% last Thurs- day. to $13.50. The drop eame after the company disclosed that third-quarter

earnings again would fall short of expectations. primarily because of

problems in its satellite and telephone equipment business.

The company warned that revenue and operating income would fall short for the three months ended in Septem- ber and that 1998 net income would be 33% lower than expectations.

Broadcasting & Cable October 20 1997

The shortfall, the fourth disappoint- ment in a year, prompted chairman Richard Friedlander to resign follow-

directors, The 10-year Gl executive got the top job in 1993.

The threat that Silicon Valley manu- facturers might displace traditional cable equipment suppliers in the digital set-top business is creating some ansiety about NeatLevel. With Oracle. Intel and Mi- «тохой courting eable operators again, some investors worry that companies like NextLevel could be pushed aside or forced into churning out commodity products, а less profitable position.

But the company’s current problems | are internal, New president and acting | CEO Richard Breen. formerly. presi-

WWW. americanradiohistorv.com

ing a meeting of NextLevel^s board of

dent of Nexthevel’s cable equipment unit, told securities analysts last week that the company s broadband unit is suffering from a slowdown of analog

gear sales because the rapid pace of

planned system swaps among opera- tors has delayed plant upgrades.

Breen hopes to cut costs at the satellite unit and sell or otherwise “realize the value of the telephone division. The lat- ter move would end SSO million in annu- al research and development spending,

Breen told the analysts that the arrival of Silicon Valley players isa boon, not à threat, to NestLevel, because the com- рапух digital headend gear and con- verters are capable of incorporating whatever computer-based add-ons are developed. ш

The #1 к= Hour Series!





Е Е daa

Gore exhorts TV to offer moral leadership

Vice President calls for Hollywood-Washington partnership

By Lynette Rice ice President Gore last

week called on Holly wood

lo remember its moral re- Sponsibility and to continue be- having like “a community of leaders in a responsible commu- nity that cares.”

М1 а Beverly Hills luncheon sponsored by the Hollywood Radio & TV Society. Gore re- minded the television industry of ils power to "help set the moral tone of the nation.”

The coming-out episode of vice President Gore talks with HRTS President Sam Haskell (center) and past president Rod Perth.

Ellen was cited as an example ol Holly wood s ability to change the way “America looks at sexual ori- entation,”

Using the word “partnership” over and over, Gore called for Holly wood and Washington to continue working together as they. did on educational programming for children and the voluntary ban on liquor ads. He didn't

talk about the latest content ratings flap other than to say that the “votun-

lary system мах another example of

their cooperation,

The flap concerns NBC. which has refused to follow most other broadeast- ers and cable networks in adding con- tent warnings to its age-based ratings.

Gore group to meet this week

Vice President Gore's public interest policy-making effort will take its first steps during a two-day meeting in Washington this week.

The Vice President said in February that the administration planned to assemble an advisory group to study and recommend public interest obliga- tions that broadcasters should incur along with their new digital TV licenses.

That group, officially known as the "Advisory Committee on Public Inter- est Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters," assembles for the first time Wednesday (Oct. 22) for an all-day organizational meeting. Thursday the group will meet again for a half-day gathering.

The initiative already has drawn objections from broadcasters, who denounced the administration's decision to name as co-chair the American Enterprise Institute's Norman Ornstein, a proponent of free political airtime.

But the industry has managed to place several of its own on the panel. CBS's Leslie Moonves will serve as the other co-chair. He is expected to be joined on the committee by Hubbard Broadcasting's Harold Crump, A.H. Belo Corp.'s Robert Decherd, Capitol Broadcasting's James Good- mon and Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprise's William Duhamel.

The White House plans to pull the curtain back on the group's full mem- bership Tuesday or Wednesday. Although originally planned as a 15-mem- ber panel, membership has since grown to about 25. Other expected mem- bers: Benton Foundation's Charles Benton, Media Access Project's Gigi Sohn, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom's Antoinette Cook Bush, Cor- poration for Public Broadcasting's Frank Cruz, Progressive Networks' Rob Glazer, National PTA's Lois Jean White and children's educational pro- gramming advocate Peggy Charren. —Chris McConnell


op of the Меен ——I

The networks recaleitrance has drawn the ire of ratings proponents and kes members of Congress

Gore took the partnership plea one step further. He and President Clinton can do their part for crime prevention by putting more cops on the street. he said, but Hollywood can help bs depicting "an accurate picture of what Killers do to our lives.” He said that Clinton can work toward freeing up the global marketplace for Hollywood product.

Gore used the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” to reach his Hollywood audience. Just as Mr. Smith was intent on being heard. Gore said. political candidates share the same goal but must “pay for the high cost of TV me... it subverts the democratic process.”

While saving censorship was wrong. Gore said people should not “abdicate their personal responsibility to one another.” and the FV community should remember how it can "shape chil- dren^s lives.”

Gore shared the stage with many of

the television industry ^s heavy hitters, including CBS Television President Leslie Moonves. who will serve on what's being called the Gore Commis- slon (see box below). The panel that wats formed to discuss the public inter- est responsibilities of broadcasters will meet for the first time this week. Sure to top the agenda: free airtime for candidates.

Both the broadeast and the basic cable networks Were represented on the dais. as Were some television produc- tion companies. talent agencies and trade publications.

Among the executives representing the broadcast television networks

were Lucie Salhany. now a member of

the UPN operating board: Peter Roth. Fox Entertainment president: Mar garet Loesch. Fox Kids Worldwide vice chairman: Lindy DeKoven. NBC's head of miniseries and movies. and Garth Ancier. WB entertainment president. Missing from the who's who. however. was a representative of ABC.

Gore once again capitalized on his reputation as a SUIT by opening his address with a Billy Crystal joke from last vear s Oscars: Tipper Gore. like the many Academy Award winners. could count on waking up with а statue the next morning. =

October 20 1997 Broadcasting & Cable


FCC completes an inside job

FCC commissioners have wrapped up а new set of cable inside-wiring rules befo-e the new FCC takes Over. They, which commissior officials ME released late Friday, are aimed at helping new video distribu:ors gain access to the wires inside a»artment buildings. They are essentially the same as rules tha FCC proposed late in August.

In that proposa, the commission suggested a plan for dealing with the wires inside apartment bu idings in cases where a building owner wants to switch video providers and the incur1bent provider no longer has a legal'y enforceatle right to remain in the building.

The plan requires building owners to give the incumbent video provider 90 days' notice of any plans to termi- nate access to the building. The incumbent operator then would have 30 days tc decide whether to remove or abandon the inside wires or to sell hem to the building owner or the new v:dec providet.

The commission also proposed rules for s tuations in whch a build- ing owner wants to allow several vided prcviders -o compete within a building

The new rules are based on a proposal nade to the FCC earlier this year oy the Independent Cable & Talecommunications Associa- tion (ICTA). "We think -t's a huge step forward," ICTA General Coun- sel Deborah Costlow says of the new rules.

Cable 5perators have auestioned the FCC's abiiy to regulate the inside wires and have cited differing state laws. "I think the commission overstepped its jurisdict.on," says Steve Effros, president of the Cable Telecommunicat ons Association. In its rules, ће commission said it will not preempt state laws mandating accass to the wines.

Effros also says tha: the new rules are less tecublesome for cable than they could have been. He points to ar earlier push to reset the cable *cemarcation point," which defines where the service provider's wires end and wnere the customer's wiring bsgins. Officials have since left the demarcation point unchanged. —Chns McConnell

Broadcastinz & Cable October 20 1997

NFL huddles over rights

| Team owners prepare for negotiations

| By Joe Schlosser

| ational Football League owners | N met this past week in Washing- ton to discuss labor issues. but | television insiders speculate that most | of the talk centered on the upcoming broadcast rights negotiations.

With talks scheduled to start on Nov. 1. the four top broadcast networks and a few cable channels are expected to up their current four-year. $4.5 billion contracts by à minimum of 50% for the next four seasons.

“The only thing on [the team own- ers | minds is the broadcast negotia- lions.” says one top broadcast offi- cial. "It has been the only thing thes have been thinking about for the last two Vers."

Nobody on either side of the fence is speculating who will win. but the current NEL rightsholders (NBC. ABC. Fox. ESPN and TNT) are said to have the inside track on extending their contracts for another four vears.

One thing is certain: Each network will pay much more than it did for the packages that expire at the end of this 1997-98 season. In 1993 the negotia- lions were supposed to finish in Octo ber and lasted until well into Decem- ber. This time it also appears that the talking will take an additional month or two.

7] think [the NFL owners] will let it linger until December. because they want to get it done before the holidays

and eain a consensus within their group." the broadcast official says. “I think there are two points of view: One is go for the money: the other— [held by a large group. is] thinking about the long-term heaith of the eame and not splitting the pie.”

In 1993 Fox paid $1.58 billion for the lucrative National Football Conter- ence package. NBC got the esclusive Amertean Football Conference rights for $870 million. and ABC kept its Monday Nieht Football franchise tor 8920 million. FNT and ESPN. which split Sunday night coverage during the regular season. paid 5495 million and $525 million. respectively.

Sources say CBS. which was left out of the party in 1993, is angling for a Thursday night package. CBS offi- cials had no comment. But others хау the NFL would be making a mistake to "spread the wealth so thin."

Both ESPN and TNT officials have gone on record saving they would рау more to gain exclusive Sunday night coverage for an entire season. Sources say Turner officials also “have been making noise” about а deal similar to a CBS Thursday night package. Turner and ESPN officials had no comment.

Fox. which now runs three cable channels—The Family Channel. FX and the regional Fox Sports Net- Works—also has shown some interest in acquiring NFL games for those outlets. a

Heyward gets vote of confidence

Over the past two years, CBS News President Andrew Heyward has had to deal with a lot of problems at the division, many of which he inherited. But last week at the CBS affiliate board meeting in Arizona, parent West- inghouse Chairman Michael Jordan threw his “unequivocal, 100% sup- port” behind Heyward, according to affiliate board chairman Howard


Kennedy also reports that the board seconded