TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.



G4's Daily Download

February 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Comcast-owned tech-targeted network G4 embraced podcasting early on by stocking iTunes with its flagship video-game news program "Attack of the Show," which managed to become one of the service's most-downloaded titles last year. In January G4 had more than 3.5 million downloads of video and audio podcasts, making it the top podcasting cable network. Now G4 is launching a whole daily series via podcasting-"The Daily Nut," which will highlight the Internet's latest viral videos and interesting Web sites. "We recognize the importance of nonlinear content in establishing a relationship with viewers," said G4 President Neal Tiles. -James Hibberd

ESPN Hopes Dominoes Delivers

ESPN has picked up the broadcast rights to telecast another niche sport: the World Domino Tournament, which was held last November in Las Vegas. Though it's not quite the draw of its other annual Vegas-based franchise, the World Series of Poker, ESPN hopes the competition will attract fans to its Spanish-language network, ESPN Deportes, which will debut the event in six one-hour episodes beginning next month. Then, in July, an English-language version of the tournament will run on ESPN2. "This is another milestone in our effort to provide culturally relevant programming to our Latino audience," said Traug Keller, senior VP of ESPN Deportes. "Our goal is to bring this already-made-for-TV phenomenon to light, in a similar fashion to ESPN's successful coverage of poker."-James Hibberd

Bravo's Blogging Bloke

Self-deprecating, funny, candid-all terms that do not apply to most television executives. But Bravo's Andy Cohen is not just any programming executive, he's the blogging exec, and that's key. The VP of production and programming started chronicling his thoughts on pop culture on Bravo's Web site last month. As one might expect, his take on Bravo's programming is optimistic, but he also praises plenty of non-Bravo programming and occasionally provides witty backstage Hollywood anecdotes-a particularly worthy read is his recent confessional about experiencing James Frey-like terror the time Oprah Winfrey caught him lying while he was working as a producer for "CBS This Morning." "What I don't want to be is this shill for Bravo programming, because ultimately that's going to get boring," Mr. Cohen said. "In a funny way, it's allowing us to speak directly to our viewers in an ancillary way about the programming. It's just a lot of fun."-James Hibberd

Game Without Comment

When the Houston Rockets visit the Orlando Magic on Feb. 26, the only sounds NBA TV viewers will hear are sneakers squeaking, referees' whistles blowing, balls bouncing, rims snapping and an organist entertaining the crowd. Taking a page from NBC's "Silent Game" in 1980, NBA TV is planning its first telecast without announcers. Steve Herbst, VP of programming for NBA TV, said the network will use extra enhanced microphones so viewers will be able to hear "all the stuff you hear when you're lucky enough to be that close to the game." (Viewers will hear the regular announcers in Houston and Orlando, Fla., where NBA TV will be blacked out.) The game is part of the league's Hardwood Classic games, and the Magic will wear uniforms from the 1989-90 season. "We wanted to have a little fun with that and capture the in-arena feel for the audience," Mr. Herbst said. Fun is fun, but Mr. Herbst said that if things get heated, and bad language is likely, "We'll have the ability to lower the mikes when necessary" to avoid a Super Bowl-style "audio malfunction."-Jon Lafayette