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Dec 29, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Time Warner, Rainbow Agree to Keep Channels Going

Rainbow Media Holdings and Time Warner Cable have agreed to keep the cable channels MSG Network, Fox Sports New York and MetroChannels on Time Warner’s systems after Dec. 31, as both sides continue to work out their programming fight.

Earlier this month, Time Warner threatened to drop the Rainbow channels because of a dispute over a long-term contract with Rainbow parent Cablevision.

In a statement released Friday, the two companies said the cable nets have agreed to extend their current carriage agreements with Time Warner “while these services work with Time Warner Cable on longer-term agreements, ensuring that Time Warner Cable subscribers will continue to receive these programming services.” All three channels’ current contracts were to expire Dec. 31.

The latest development comes as both Rainbow and Time Warner Cable fight over carriage of another Rainbow network, American Movie Classics, which Time Warner threatened to drop because, according to Time Warner, the net’s format had changed sufficiently to be in breach of contract.

A Rosy Ride for Trista and Ryan: A Rose Parade float called “Love Songs” will feature 100,000 roses, so who better to carry out the romantic theme than TV’s couple of the moment, Trista and Ryan. The couple will ride on the float on New Year’s Day.

The float is sponsored by FTD, the official floral company of the Tournament of Roses.

Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter were brought together on the show “The Bachelorette” and then married in a high-profile TV event. The couple now live in Vail, Colo., where Mr. Sutter is a firefighter.

CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ Scores Big With Jackson Interview: Sunday night’s edition of CBS’s “60 Minutes” attracted 19.65 million viewers, according to preliminary national data from Nielsen Media Research, during the first half-hour, when Michael Jackson told Ed Bradley he is not guilty of molesting a 13-year-old cancer victim but said he still believes it is OK for him, at age 45, to continue sharing a bed with children.

Conducted Christmas night in a Los Angeles hotel, the half-hour interview about the latest child molestation charges against the pop star helped “60 Minutes” average 18.19 million viewers for the hour. That was by far the highest viewership for any show on any network that night. In comparison, “60 Minutes” was averaging 15.71 million viewers for the season through Dec. 14, when an edition of “Minutes” devoted to the capture of Saddam Hussein scored 18.76 million viewers to rank sixth for the week. Due to traditional lower viewing patterns during the holidays, the Jackson interview is expected to push “60 Minutes” to No. 1 for the week, according to a spokesman for the newsmagazine.

An additional benefit is that the network now feels free to air “Michael Jackson Number Ones,” the special that was yanked from CBS’s Nov. 26 lineup after the new allegations arose. The special is scheduled to run from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) Friday. The network had insisted that Mr. Jackson address the new charges in a news division program before rescheduling the star-studded retrospective, which was executive produced by Mr. Jackson.

The special will include comments on Mr. Jackson’s impact from Beyonce Knowles, Missy Elliott, Dick Clark, Mary J. Blige and other stars.

Former NBC President Don Durgin Dead at 79: Don Durgin, who was president of NBC Television during a network programming boom in the late 1960s, died Friday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He was 79.

During his 1957-to-1975 tenure at the network, Mr. Durgin served as VP of sales, president of NBC Television (1965 to 1973) and VP of NBC. Under his leadership, NBC ramped up production of original dramas, news and cultural specials, and variety shows featuring the era’s biggest celebrities.

“Don Durgin was a pioneering broadcast executive, who made a tremendous impact on NBC during the boom years of the Fifties and Sixties,” said a statement issued by the network. “He was admired by all who knew him, from the biggest stars to the smallest affiliates. Don was especially famous for his speaking skills, and he would captivate entire rooms full of advertisers or affiliates with his presentations. He will be missed by many throughout the industry, and our sympathies are with his wife and family.”