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Nov 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Monday, Nov. 4

NBC acquires Bravo

NBC has added Bravo, the Film and Arts Network, to its cable holdings in a deal worth $1.25 billion that was wrapped up over the weekend.

Cablevision Systems Corp., which owned 80 percent of the 22-year-old, 68 million-subscriber Bravo, is getting stock in NBC’s parent, General Electric, and the 53.2 million shares of Cablevision Class A common stock (which represents about 16 percent of Cablevision’s common stock) that had been NBC’s equity stake in Rainbow Media Holdings (which also includes American Movie Classics, the Independent Film Channel, the Madison Square Garden Network and regional news and sports channels).

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which owned 20 percent of Bravo, is getting $250 million in cash.

NBC envisions the development of crossover NBC-Bravo projects running the gamut from reality shows to entertainment series and specials, along with expanded multiplatform ad sales and promotion of news, entertainment and sports programming.

NBC’s other cable holdings include CNBC and CNBC World, MSNBC (its partnership with Microsoft), Telemundo and Mun2 (owned by NBC) and ShopNBC (owned by ValueVision International, GE Equity and NBC), along with stakes in A&E, the History Channel and National Geographic Channels.

News Corp. sued over Fox Family sale: A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Oct. 30 by former Fox Family employees Mel Woods and Shuki Levy accuses News Corp. of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty and accounting that resulted in the global media giant making more than $1 billion at the expense of the plaintiffs.

Mr. Woods and Mr. Levy were high-level Fox Family officers and employees who each owned vested options concerning 1 percent of Fox Family as part of their compensation. According to their complaint, in the summer of 2001 Disney began negotiating with News Corp. to purchase Fox Family, but rather than maximizing Fox Family’s value upon its sale to Disney, News Corp. saw Fox Family as a “convenient place to fob off some substantial losses being suffered by News Corp. due to a disastrous broadcasting contract between News Corp. and MLB.”

Among the damages the plaintiffs are seeking are compensatory damages in excess of $18 million.

ABC goes live with Jimmy Kimmel: ABC will be going live, from 12:05 a.m. to 1:05 a.m. in the Eastern time zone when it adds “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to its lineup in late January. Scheduled to be broadcast from the Disney-owned El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, the show was developed for host Mr. Kimmel (Comedy Central’s “The Man Show”), who will be joined by a different guest co-host each week.

‘Late Show’ to be simulcast on Infinity radio stations: CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman” will be simulcast on Viacom-owned Infinity radio stations in 15 of the country’s largest cities in a six-month test starting Nov. 11. Only the advertising will be different in the radio version, which will be heard in New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Dallas; Washington; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Sacramento, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Phoenix; Tampa, Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Fresno, Calif. No money is changing hands in the deal, only a promise that the Infinity stations will increase their promotion of “Late Show.”

Comedy Central goes legit: Comedy Central is going legit in Los Angeles, unveiling a plan to use the Hudson Theater in Hollywood as a laboratory for developing new projects and talent.

Comedy Central Stage, as it will be called, will develop reality and scripted series, specials and stand-up showcases, alternative shows, talk shows and game shows.

The project, announced by Lauren Corrao, senior VP, original programming and development, gets under way next month under the aegis of Gary Mann, who will serve as executive producer and oversee production and development.

Speed Channel adds U.S. Auto Club dirt and asphalt racing to lineup: Speed Channel is adding United States Auto Club dirt and asphalt racing to its lineup beginning in 2003.

The network’s coverage will include 45 hours of live and tape-delayed programming beginning March 20.

USAC racing is moving to Speed from ESPN and ESPN2, where it has been featured for the past two decades.