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Cable Notes

Apr 16, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Cable extends reach, increases delivery
Cable programming is within the reach of 82.4 percent of all U.S. television homes, the highest penetration level ever. That translates into 84.3 million households, according to Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau data. Of those households, 71.3 percent are wired and 11.1 percent receive their programming by direct broadcast satellite or other delivery systems. By comparison, in April 2000, about 79 percent of all U.S. television homes were receiving cable programming. For the first 26 weeks of the 2000-2001 season, ad-supported cable is up and broadcast television is down, according to a CAB analysis of Nielsen data.
Cablevision wins damages for piracy
In the largest pirate cable-decoder case of its kind, damage claims totaling more than $29 million have been awarded to Cablevision Systems Corp. by a U.S. federal court. The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois had previously found that the various defendants were liable to Cablevision for their sale of more than 2,700 illegal decoder boxes. The latest ruling finds that each illegal box was worth more than $10,000 in lost Cablevision revenue. Bethpage, N.Y.-based Cablevision reaches more than 3 million cable households, primarily in the New York metropolitan area.
TBS OKs four film projects
TBS Superstation, the self-proclaimed Regular Guy Network, has greenlighted four new pass-the-popcorn movie projects for 2001 and 2002. They are:
* “Dead in a Heartbeat,” starring Penelope Ann Miller and Judge Reinhold in a high-concept thriller about a female surgeon joining forces with a bomb expert in a race against time to defuse bombs hidden in pacemakers.
* “Hidden Target,” starring Mariel Hemingway in the second reprise of the secret-agent role she originally played in “First Daughter.”
* “Atomic Twister,” starring Sharon Lawrence (“NYPD Blue”) in a movie about tornadoes threatening to cause a meltdown at a small town’s nuclear power plant.
* “Attack on the Queen,” starring Rob Estes (“Silk Stalkings”) and Joe Lando (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”) in the story of two brothers who must stop terrorists attacking a peace summit aboard a luxury liner.
Lifetime gets Real
Lifetime, basic cable’s current ratings leader, is joining the reality race in a big way with Lifetime Real Women, a new network devoted to reality programming that is expected to launch by late summer. A keystone of the Real network will be the series that also will debut as a Saturday programming block on Lifetime’s existing network. The new reality series will include “Women Docs,” which will profile real-life female doctors, and several series still in development. Pilot reality candidates include “Trading Places,” about women from different walks of life who switch places for 48 hours, and “Real Defenders,” about women involved in the legal system. New Lifetime daytime series include “Lifetime Now,” a magazine-style talk show, and the tentatively titled “Health Show,” focusing on health issues affecting women and their families.
`What’s On’ on TV Guide Channel
The TV Guide Channel, known for its all-inclusive scrolling program guide, is debuting “What’s On,” its first-ever half-hour daily program, this summer. “On” will be a compendium of that day’s prime time, including music, sports, movies and series, and will feature a daily “Pick of the Night” from TV Guide magazine editor Mark Schwed.
USA to fire up `Cannonball’
The USA Network is not reaching back to a madcap Burt Reynolds comedy for its latest reality-adventure-genre inspiration, the network insists. Instead, “The Real Cannonball Run 2001”-a cross-country road race with the customary complications, twists and double-crosses-is based on the actual 1971 road race that also inspired the 1981 film directed by Hal Needham (“Smokey and the Bandit”). “RCR 2001,” debuting in August, will consist of five one-hour segments following six “mismatched” teams. Among them are two models teamed with a seminarian and a married couple teamed with the groom’s ex. The winning team will collect $100,000.