News Briefs

Aug 18, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Citing weakening attendance and industry consolidation, the California Cable & Telecommunications Association is pulling the plug on The Western Show after this year’s event in December. The association blamed market conditions and the need by cable operators, suppliers and programmers to cut costs, which it said made it difficult for the industry to support two national industry conferences. The National Show, produced by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, will now be the industry’s sole annual conference. The 36th Western Show, scheduled for Dec. 2-5 in Anaheim, Calif., is slated to include industry leaders such as Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt.
FNC Claims Franken Infringed Trademark
Fox News Channel wants a New York court to tell liberal humorist Al Franken and the Penguin Group to take the phrase “Fair and Balanced” out of the title of his upcoming book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Fox filed a trademark infringement lawsuit last week in which the news channel seeks unspecified damages, claiming it registered “Fair & Balanced” as a trademark in 1995. Mr. Franken, whose yet-to-be-published book shot to the top of the best seller list after the news of the lawsuit, issued a statement last week saying, “I’d like to thank Fox for all the publicity. As far as the personal attacks go, when I read `intoxicated or deranged’ and `shrill and unstable’ in their complaint, I thought for a moment I was a Fox commentator.”
MAP Asks Court to Stay FCC Ownership Rules
The Media Access Project asked the federal appeals court in Philadelphia last week to stay the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules pending judicial review of challenges to the regulations. In a filing with the court, MAP said that without a stay, the new regulations will go into effect Sept. 4, and “massive consolidation of the broadcast industry will occur before judicial review can be completed.” MAP also asked the court to throw out the FCC’s new regulations. Challenges to the new regulations have been filed in federal appeals courts in Washington and New York, and a determination of where the case against the rules is heard will be decided by lottery.
CBS Forms Diversity Institute
CBS has formed the CBS Diversity Institute with the goal of cultivating minority writers and directors. The institute includes two new programs and one ongoing program. It establishes the new CBS Writers Mentoring Program and the CBS Directing Initiative. The Writers Program will match up to 20 writers with network executive mentors and give them the opportunity to meet network showrunners, executives and agents. The Directing Initiative will match participants with directors of current CBS drama and comedy series, who will act as mentors. Applications for both programs are available at www.cbsdiversity.com. The Diversity Institute also includes CBS’s Minority Talent Showcase program.
Ventura Wrestles Fall Premiere
The long-awaited Jesse Ventura show is now headed to Saturdays on MSNBC sometime this fall. Mr. Ventura’s show, will originate from Minnesota, where he served one term as governor. He will give his “take on the week’s events” on Saturdays and appear as an analyst on various MSNBC shows.