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Briefly Noted

Nov 19, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Daschle recommends Adelstein for FCC position
Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., took the unusual step last Thursday of announcing that he is recommending that President Bush nominate Jonathan Adelstein to fill a Democratic vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission. Mr. Adelstein is a legislative aide to the lawmaker. While senators often let the White House know their druthers for nominations to federal agencies, the president isn’t compelled to endorse the lawmakers’ picks, and the discussions usually occur behind the scenes. But Sen. Daschle opted to promote his recommendation in a press release. “Jonathan’s expertise in telecommunications issues and his commitment to seeing rural America share in the telecommunications revolution make him the perfect candidate for this job at this time,” Sen. Daschle said.
ABC, CBS discuss sharing news costs
ABC News and CBS News are in preliminary talks about sharing the costs of newsgathering, according to a report in the New York Times. Both networks have been in ongoing separate negotiations with CNN about a cost-sharing arrangement, but those talks have progressed slowly. The New York Times article cited CNN’s desire to maintain editorial control as the primary stumbling block in those talks for both ABC and CBS, which are now looking to each other to find a way to offset costs affected by a slow advertising market and compounded by increased news coverage in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. ABC and CBS currently share satellite uplink equipment in Pakistan.
Lazarus gets added responsibility at Turner
Turner Sports President Mark Lazarus has been named to the additional post of president, Turner Entertainment Group sales and marketing for Turner Broadcasting Sales. Mr. Lazarus, who has been president of Turner Sports since November 1999, succeeds Joe Uva, a 17-year Turner veteran who is joining Omnicom Group’s Optimum Media Direction unit as worldwide president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2002. As recently as Oct. 22, a Turner spokesman adamantly denied to Electronic Media that Mr. Uva, who has been TEG sales and marketing president since July 1996, was planning to leave the company. Last week, Mr. Uva confirmed that there had been “several months of discussion” before he took his new position.
Mr. Lazarus, whose new appointment takes effect immediately, will continue to report to Jamie Kellner, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System.
CNN offers aid to Fox in truck chase footage case
CNN is putting its money where its mouth is to protect video on the all-news network from unauthorized use by nonaffiliated stations. CNN is willing to reimburse the Fox stations group or Fox-owned KDFW-TV in Dallas for up to $50,000 in legal expenses if either Fox entity takes legal action against NBC or the two NBC-owned stations that used footage of a dramatic truck chase in Dallas on Nov. 7.
The video was supplied by KDFW, the only Dallas station that had a chopper in the air and a camera running. CNN had rights to the video because KDFW is a CNN affiliate, and Fox News Channel had rights to it because KDFW is in the Fox family. But KXAS-TV, the NBC-owned station in Dallas, and WCAU-TV, the NBC-owned station in Philadelphia, also picked up KDFW’s video.
In a letter sent Nov. 13 to Fox Television Stations Chairman and CEO Mitchell Stern, CNN Newsource Sales President Susan Grant said that though CNN is not obligated to help defray costs of any legal action the Fox camp might take in this case, “CNN takes the concerns of its affiliates seriously and is committed to working with its affiliates to resolve this situation.”
Ms. Grant said Mr. Stern has 10 days in which to let her know how Fox wants to proceed. “We thought this was an appropriate and tangible response,” said Ms. Grant last Thursday after the $50,000 offer became known.
A Fox station group spokeswoman said only, “The matter is currently under review from our end.”
A spokesman for NBC said, “We haven’t seen the letter, but if we have to defend our very limited use of the video during an important news story, we will do so on fair-use grounds. Of course, fair use is a principle that everyone in the industry well understands.”
National Geo. boosted by Time Warner Cable
Just one day after News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch told a sparsely attended annual shareholders meeting in Manhattan that he expected great things in the future from the National Geographic Channel, Time Warner Cable and Fox Cable Networks Group announced an affiliation agreement providing for TWC to launch the channel to nearly 80 percent of its 12.7 million customers within the next 14 months. The TWC carriage agreement means the channel will surpass 20 million households in its first year.