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Nov 21, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Viacom Going All Out to Market Super Bowl

For CBS’s upcoming Super Bowl, which will air Feb. 1, 2004, the network will get help from all Viacom companies in a marketing effort, according to one executive close to the company.

For the Super Bowl, two featured efforts will include two one-hour pre-game programs, produced by Nickelodeon and MTV Network. MTV will run a special one-hour version of its popular video request show, “TRL,” on CBS.

Nickelodeon will be doing special kids-themed programming for its Super Bowl pre-game hour, set to run early in the day. CBS executives wouldn’t comment. MTV Networks didn’t return phone calls by press time. A Nickelodeon spokesman referred all phone calls to CBS.

This is the second time CBS has brought the MTV show to the Super Bowl. It previously aired the show in 2001, when CBS last broadcast the game. As it did in 2001, MTV Networks will also produce the half-time show for the 2004 event. In 2001, halftime entertainment include Aerosmith and *NSync.

Other Viacom companies will also run Super Bowl-related events, producing special programs for their own network schedules. This group includes TV Land, BET, Comedy Central, CBS Television Stations, Infinity Radio and others. CBS has already announced it is running a special postgame show, the premiere of “Survivor: All-Stars,” which will feature 18 castaways from previous “Survivor” editions.

Cablevision Announces 2004 Cable Rate Increase: Cablevision Systems said Friday that it would raise its cable television subscription rates an average of 3.2 percent next year while holding prices steady on its high-speed data and telephony services.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based multiple system operator with 3 million subscribers said the average cable bill would probably rise by $1.59 a month, reflecting what Cablevision described as higher programming costs and increased investments in customer service and network improvements to enhance reliability. Cablevision noted that its programming fees rose 13 percent in 2003.

Meanwhile, Cablevision said it was holding firm its prices for high-speed data and telephony services next year. The high-speed data service, called Optimum Online, is priced at $49.95 as a stand-alone service and $44.95 if it’s tied in with a cable TV package. The telephone service, called Optimum Voice, is a flat rate of $34.95 a month and includes unlimited local, regional and long-distance calling.

King’s Birthday Celebration Draws Strong Numbers: Larry King’s televised birthday tribute trumped Michael Jackson mania Wednesday night in the cable news world. CNN’s “Larry King Live” was devoted to a surprise observance of its host’s 70th birthday by an assortment of Mr. King’s cronies and regulars.

“Larry King Live” attracted nearly 1.8 million viewers, enough to beat Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes,” which averaged 1.6 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. This is at least the second time in recent weeks that “Larry King Live” has outdrawn “Hannity & Colmes.”

MSNBC finished third in the hour with a stronger than usual 374,000 viewers.

‘Sopranos’ Returns March 7: HBO today said that “The Sopranos” will return on March 7. James Gandolfini and his families will be in their fifth season with the award-winning series.