Cable Notes

Apr 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

MTV, Court TV ink affiliation deals
MTV Networks and Court TV, two basic-cable operations that occupy vastly different programming niches, extended their reach this week. MTV signed a long-term affiliation agreement with Adelphia Communications that will boost carriage for its CMT: Country Music Television and VH1 Country channels with the multiple system operator, which will continue to carry the Viacom division’s other cable brands as well. “The deal secures distribution of our core networks and highlights the growing value of our newer brands,” said Nicole Browning, president of MTV Networks affiliate sales and marketing.
Court TV extended its affiliation agreement with the National Cable Television Co-op through 2009, giving the cable network continued access to NCTC’s 12 million subscribers. “We believe (NCTC) will be a significant contributor to our subscriber base as we head toward 70 million subscribers,” said Bob Rose, Court TV’s executive vice president of affiliate relations. Court TV, a service of AOL Time Warner and Liberty Media Corp., has more than 56 million subscribers and expects to reach 65 million by the end of 2001.
On the commercial-free front, Fox Movie Channel, which shows movies from the 20th Century Fox library, has passed the 15 million-household milestone.
TNN `Mad’ about new acquisition
TNN: The National Network, continuing its efforts to put Nashville behind it and rebrand itself as America’s National Pop Culture Network, has gone “Mad,” acquiring the off-network cable rights to “Mad TV,” the often ribald sketch comedy series, from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution. “Mad,” loosely based on the “What, me worry?” magazine, is now in its sixth season on Fox.
Showtime buys rights to ITC films
Showtime Networks has acquired the domestic premium-television rights to 22 pictures in the ITC Films library, now owned by Carlton International. They include “On Golden Pond,” “Sophie’s Choice” and the 1975 version of “Farewell, My Lovely” with Robert Mitchum. This is Carlton’s first pay-TV deal for titles from the ITC library, which it acquired in 1999.
`Crier’ to broadcast from execution site
Beginning May 14, Court TV’s “Catherine Crier Live” will be broadcasting from Terre Haute, Ind., the site of Timothy McVeigh’s scheduled execution May 16. In addition, the cable channel Web site is featuring extended coverage of the convicted Oklahoma City bomber’s execution beginning April 19, the sixth anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building. That online coverage will include the posting of documents from the case as well as a chronology of related events and a history of the U.S. militia movement.
VH1 rolls out schedule of new programs
It’s Shaffer time and Hammer time at VH1, MTV’s older-demos sibling. New series debuting on VH1 this year include “What’s My 20?” a music countdown series; “Cover Wars,” a weekly battle-of-the-cover-bands series hosted by Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s musical sidekick; “VH1 Undercover,” a prank-pulling, hidden-camera half-hour comedy; “Strange Frequency,” a horror anthology series; and the documentary series “Say It Loud: Black Music in America,” “VH1 Presents the ’80s” and “From the Waist Down: Men, Women & Music.” Original films in production for this year include biopics about Def Leppard and the former “MC” Hammer.
Pilots in development at VH1 include “Hollywood Hills,” a reality-based series that follows struggling musicians in their quest to make it big; “Camp Chaos,” a half-hour animated sketch comedy; “Pulling the Strings,” a nighttime soap set at a record company, to be produced by Barbra Streisand and to star James Brolin; “Forever Young,” a half-hour dramedy from director Mike Newell (“Enchanted April”); “Devil’s Music,” a drama about a record company that really forces its musicians to sell their souls; “Hit Men,” a drama about the mob and the music business; “VH1’s Sessions,” a half-hour comedy about a therapist whose clients include rock `n’ rollers; and “B-Side,” a sitcom about a pair of DJs.