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Aug 20, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Time Warner Entertainment settlement terms

AOL Time Warner will pay AT&T-Comcast $2.1 billion in cash, $1.5 billion in AOL Time Warner stock and a 24 percent stake in a new publicly traded Time Warner Cable (to be formed in 2003) that will be worth about $7 billion.

Those are the basic terms of the long-awaited Time Warner Entertainment settlement, according to reliable sources close to the situation. The deal, which sources say is done, could be announced as early as today, after the stock market closes.

AOL Time Warner and the soon-to-merge AT&T-Comcast declined comment. The deal gives AT&T-Comcast access to $3.6 billion in cash (which includes the AOL Time Warner stock it can immediately sell) that can be used to reduce its combined $32 billion debt when the merger closes in late October.

The pact includes an Internet service provider agreement with AOL that will only apply to a portion (perhaps as little as one-third) of AT&T-Comcast’s combined footprint beginning later this year. The ISP agreement, which will closely mirror the 20-80 subscriber fee split and shared ad revenues that AT&T and Comcast currently have with other ISP providers, will not immediately give AOL access to the merged company’s full 22 million subscribers as originally thought. AT&T-Comcast will exchange its 27.6 percent stake in TWE in the process, which will give AOL Time Warner 100 percent ownership (it already has control) of HBO, Warner Bros. and the Time Warner Cable systems included in the partnership. The deal will increase AOL Time Warner’s already high debt, possibly threaten its credit rating and hurt its 2003 earnings. Sources say the outcome of probes by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice should not adversely impact the outcome of the deal.

NBC promotes three: NBC has promoted Jill Underhill to VP of current series programs and Carolyn Cassidy and Lauren Stein to managers of current series.

Ms. Underhill will supervise NBC’s day-to-day overview of “Just Shoot Me” and the incoming fall 2002 comedy “Hidden Hills.” A 10-year NBC veteran, she previously served as VP of comedy, movies and miniseries. Ms. Cassidy, who started at NBC in May 2000 as a coordinator of prime-time series, will oversee the production of the freshman fall comedy “Good Morning Miami” in addition to working on the returning dramas “Ed” and “Providence.” Ms. Stein joined the entertainment associate program at NBC in January 2002. She will be supervising NBC’s creative input for the new fall drama “Boomtown,” the mid-season drama “Kingpin,” the summer docu-drama “Crime & Punishment” and the syndicated “She Spies.”

Telemundo enters NBA deal: Telemundo has signed a three-year deal for Spanish-language broadcasts of NBA and WNBA games. The deal calls for the Spanish-language network owned by NBC (which walked away from the NBA as too expensive after last season) to get 15 regular-season Saturday and Sunday afternoon games and as many as 10 WNBA games starting with the next season. Telemundo also will work with NBA Entertainment to create a half-hour weekly highlights show in Spanish and targeted toward younger viewers.

Hogan named CEO of Clear Channel Radio: John Hogan has been promoted to CEO of Clear Channel Radio. Mr. Hogan has been chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio for the last year, overseeing New York and Los Angeles markets and assembling the radio operation’s team of senior and regional VPs. Prior to that, he was a senior VP in charge of 15 regions. He will relocate to San Antonio, headquarters of Clear Channel Worldwide.

Staab joins KGO as president/GM: Valari Dobson Staab has been named president and general manager of KGO-TV in San Francisco. The appointment comes a little more than two weeks after Joe Ahern resigned as general manager of KGO to return to Chicago and attempt to turn around Viacom-owned WBBM-TV.

Ms. Staab has been president and general manager of ABC-owned WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., since 2001.

‘GMA’ live from the Pentagon: “Good Morning America” will originate live from inside the Pentagon Sept. 9 in a first for morning shows. Among the guests booked for that day are Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Also on tap are a behind-the-scenes tour of the building and a tribute to the Pentagon victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, featuring country music star Alan Jackson singing “Where Were You (When the World Stopped)”.

Oxygen launching comedy block: Oxygen Media is launching a Sunday night comedy block that will include “02Be,” a satire of morning TV starring and produced by Lizz Winstead and Brian Unger, formerly at Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” as, respectively, a co-creator/head writer and a correspondent.

Other series in the block, which will premiere Sept. 22 are “Girls Behaving Badly,” a new hidden-camera reality/comedy from Zoo Prods. (“MTV Spring Break”) and two back-to-back episodes of “Absolutely Fabulous.”

National Geographic restructures lineup for fall: The National Geographic Channel debuts its fall 2002 programming season Sept. 30 with what the network calls a “restructured lineup” that features six new series. Those new NGC series are: “Dogs with Jobs,” profiling hard-working canines, from babysitters to SWAT team members; “Phobia,” about the origins and treatment of extreme fears; “Taboo,” about practices forbidden in various cultures; “Nature’s Nightmares,” about creatures, from spiders to bats, that can make your skin crawl; “Built for the Kill,” about predators from insects to sharks; and “Surviving West Point,” a look at the Army academy from the point of view of the cadets.

Derek hosting A&E documentary: Actress Bo Derek, who is best known for the beaded cornrow hairstyle she sported in “10,” will host “Uncut: The True Story of Hair,” A&E’s two-hour documentary that premieres Oct. 21.

Interviews include Dolly Parton, Jane Seymour, Frederick Fekkai, Patti LaBelle, Debbie Harry (Blondie), Florence Henderson, Rick James, Crystal Gayle and Bruce Vilanch. The documentary is a World of Wonder production in association with A&E Network. Executive producers are Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.