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February 2008 Archives

Q4 Shines for Cablevision

February 29, 2008 12:12 PM

Cablevision Systems, the multiple-system operator that Verizon was first to assail with its FiOS launch in Long Island, New York, territory, had a stellar fourth quarter as measured by all yardsticks.

The MSO added 1,555 basic subscribers, unheard of at a time when most MSOs are losing basic subs; got 43,000 new digital video subscribers; pulled in 62,000 cable modem customers; and racked up a stunning 102,000 new users for Optimum Voice.

That growth in all four sectors is enviable; no other MSO can claim those bragging rights.

So how did Cablevision do it? Remember, it was the first to offer a triple play of bundled services, a move that was decried by Wall Street when it debuted about three years ago. That strategy is still working for Cablevision, and I say if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Clinton to Appear on CNBC’s ‘Mad Money’ Tonight

February 27, 2008 11:42 AM

For the political junkies out there, don’t miss CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer grilling presidential contender Sen. Hillary Clinton on his show tonight. It airs at 6 p.m. ET and repeats at 11 p.m.

The timing couldn’t be better for Clinton. Once again Fed head Ben Bernanke testified before a congressional committee and the ticker tape was mostly red over the course of the day, as it always is when Big Ben takes the stand.

It’s a moment for Clinton to shine in the sun before she faces two mega-primaries in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, where she lags far behind Sen. Barack Obama in the polls.

So will her appearance before a television group of Wall Street junkies shore up her ratings?

Casting Call for Baby Boomers

February 22, 2008 12:15 PM

Well, I’m glad to read females of a certain age, especially those who are technically a shade older than Baby Boomers, the largest segment of the U.S. population, are still getting parts in television and the movies.

Jacqueline Bisset, now 64 years old, who starred in “The Deep,” “Built” and “Casino Royale” during her younger years, is back again on the small screen. The Hallmark Channel announced today that it has cast Bisset in an upcoming made-for-TV movie, “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving,” in which she plays a grandmother.

Ouch. That’s a sobering wake-up call about mortality.

But it’s good news, too. Bisset, like many actors and actresses of her age, has been featured in AARP The Magazine, published by the American Association of Retired Persons. So the question begs: Is AARP the new casting agent for those graying stars in America?

A Reformed ‘Dog’ Returns to A&E

February 20, 2008 12:44 PM

Duane Chapman returns to A&E’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter” after being suspended for four months for uttering racial slurs in the supposed privacy of his home.

A&E has yet to set a specific date for when the series will return, but the cable net did say it’s making plans about going back into production.

That news will have Dog’s fans woofing with glee, and his detractors whining about TV’s double standards.

At the time of his suspensions, responders to my blog, and there were many, were very divided about A&E’s choice, arguing whether the decision was fair.

This go round, there will be less buzz. Why? Don’t all of TV’s bad boys eventually return after serving their time in the sin bin? Name one who has not, if you can.

Kiss of Death for ‘24’?

February 15, 2008 1:18 PM

Remember, you read it here first: I think it’s a goner. By now you know that “24” will not be returning with a new season this year, hobbled, its creators say, by the three-month writers’ strike, which has ended with most writers back at work.

Even though Fox already has eight episodes in the can, it says it cannot, given the time constraints, produce the season’s remaining 16 episodes in such a short period of time.

On top of that, we’ve learned that Joel Surnow, one of the series’ creators and executive producers, is leaving to pursue other interests. I’m sorry, but something stinks here.

I still have the DVDs from last season, sealed and unwatched. I heard last season was a bust, with a lot of viewers turned off by plot twists involving Bauer’s brother and father. If they were turned off then, I surely doubt they’ll wait until January for Bauer and his cronies to return to TV.

It was a nice run, but it’s curtains for “24.”

Bush Inks Stimulus Bill With a Smirk

February 13, 2008 12:52 PM

With much flourish, a smirking President George W. Bush signed a bill today that would give rebate checks to many middle-class taxpayers in May, in the hopes of stimulating our anemic economy.

So what was with the smirk and his nervous laughter? I saw that hoked-up ritual on the news today and once again concluded that the outgoing president has the TVQ of a haystack.

Yes, TV cameras are cruel, but that’s what media coaches get paid big bucks to fix. Take presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.: He knows how to make love to the camera, as he demonstrated again in his primary victory speech last night.

By contrast, GOP contender Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also a winner in last night’s primary races, looked like he was ready to go to bed, and yes, maybe too darn old to run the country.

But TVQ isn’t everything. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had great on-air charisma, but he pulled out of the race.

So are American voters shallow, paying too much attention to the sizzle and not the steak?

Probably, but there is an element of show business in politics, for better or worse.

Hannah Montana Saves Stock Market Today

February 6, 2008 1:00 PM


Who could guess? OK, OK, so I’m a little prone to hyperbole. But the Walt Disney Co, and its Hannah Montana franchise in particular, saved the day on Wall Street today after Disney President-CEO Bob Iger reported a 9% pop in revenue after the final bell rang Tuesday.

OK, it wasn’t just Hannah, but strong performances by its cable nets and theme parks that buoyed the stock to be one of the few signs of green on the tape late this afternoon. Also, Disney-owned ABC seems to be the TV network least hurt by the ongoing writers’ strike.

If it feels like a recession, forget about it, we have Hannah Montana. Remember, teens with discretionary income actually spend through recessions. Not like their parents, who likely will spend their promised tax rebates on paring down debt or throw those checks into savings.

Could Hannah lead us out of recession?