News Briefs

Jan 5, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Cable giant Comcast has begun the process of unwinding some of its ties to Time Warner, asking the media giant to file forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would enable Comcast to sell its 17.9 percent stake in Time Warner Cable. Specifically, Comcast last week asked that Time Warner come up with a firm underwritten offering for all of the securities that the cable giant holds in Time Warner Cable, according to documents filed last week with the SEC. In the filing, Time Warner said Comcast acquired the 17.9 percent stake in Time Warner Cable, along with a 4.7 percent stake in Time Warner Entertainment, a division of Time Warner Cable, as part of a restructuring pact that Time Warner and Comcast reached in March for ownership of Time Warner Entertainment.
Davis Added to CBS’s `At the Half’
Sports Illustrated writer Seth Davis has been added as a contributor to CBS Sports’ “At the Half” college basketball halftime show for the regular season. Mr. Davis was scheduled to make his debut Jan. 3 during regional coverage of North Carolina at Kentucky and Michigan State at Syracuse. He will be teamed with analyst Bill Raftery and various hosts throughout the season.
Winfrey Remains No. 1 Personality
According to an annual poll by Harris Interactive, Oprah Winfrey is once again Americans’ favorite TV personality. She received the same honor in 1998, 2000 and 2002, and in the 11 years the poll has been taken, has always ranked among the top three, according to Harris. David Letterman placed second in the poll, his highest showing ever, followed by Bill O’Reilly, also in his highest position to date. Fourth place went to Ray Romano, who dropped from the No. 2 position last year. Jay Leno was No. 5, his best showing ever, up from No. 9 last year. The survey among a nationwide sample of 1,109 adults was conducted between Nov. 17 and Nov. 21. Other TV personalities who made it into the top 10 this year are Dr. Phil McGraw, talk show host, and Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, who tied at No. 6; William Petersen of the CBS drama “CSI,” who made the list for the first time at No. 8; Whoopi Goldberg, who stars in her own TV series, at No. 9; and Jennifer Aniston (who was No. 6 last year), Ellen DeGeneres and Martin Sheen, all tied at No. 10. Three people dropped off the list this year: Katie Couric (No. 4 in 2002), Tom Brokaw (No. 8) and Dan Rather (No. 10).
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 Dec. 26 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.”