Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 215, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Friday Morning November 2nd, 2007
WGA Strike Central
WGA on strike
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have gone on strike, after failing to reach an agreement before their contract expired at midnight yesterday. The strike was announced after a WGA members meeting in LA last night. The two sides had broken off talks six hours before the contract deadline. The WGA issued a statement regarding contract negotiations: "Today, just hours before the expiration of our contract, the AMPTP brought negotiations to a halt. The Companies refused to continue to bargain unless we agree that the hated DVD formula be extended to Internet downloads. This morning we presented the AMPTP with a comprehensive package of proposals that included movement on DVDs, new media, and jurisdictional issues. We also took nine proposals off the table. The Companies returned six hours later and said they would not respond to our package until we capitulated to their Internet demand. After three and a half months of bargaining, the AMPTP still has not responded to a single one of our important proposals. Every issue that matters to writers, including Internet reuse, original writing for new media, DVDs, and jurisdiction, has been ignored. This is completely unacceptable."

TVBR observation: It is all about the money. TVBR will maintain WGA Strike Central here is Day 1. Now who will blink first.

Contingencies, contingencies, contingencies
As the possibility of a Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike loomed large, we've been gathering more detail on how the strike could impact the media business-network television, cable, syndication, agencies and advertisers. The strike will likely immediately shut down production on much of what's currently airing on TV. The biggest immediate impact is live shows-especially Late Night. The networks, stockpiling episodes of their fall prime shows, say they are prepared to go into early January without major disruptions. One of the big four, which didn't want to go on the record, told TVBR they are prepared for the strike and for the time being their schedule will remain intact. For competitive reasons they are not talking about contingency plans, but they're looking at repeats, reality, possible sister cable shows and other options.

Meanwhile, November sweeps started last night and run through 11/28. The 2007-08 season began 9/24 and will end 5/21/08. The fall season started 9/24 and unofficially stretches thru the last Sunday of December, 12/30. The mid-season starts as soon as any new shows debut after Jan. 1. That is when the rubber will really hit the road with the strike. The networks for now know they have some bargaining time and are in turn singing "Time is on my side." Let's say on the upside they have eight episodes left, on average, altogether. If they walk now, the nets will air the four shows they usually air during the November sweeps. December will be mostly repeats and the Holiday-themed episode. After that, you have a handful more. Will they save them for the February sweeps? They'd have three. They're coming up short.



Midseason blues?
Breaking it down, the good, bad and the ugly for midseason, if the strike keeps on going.
Getting hit first will be shows that are written day-to-day and then any scripted program in the middle of completion. First up will be Late Night shows, The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien would go into repeats.

FOX: In a good position for mid-season. "They can run the sprockets off of that," notes Shari Anne Brill, Carat USA VP/director of programming. "You give the freaks a little more footage, and the freak shows, which they call the audition highlights. As it is, they expand to six hours a week when it comes back. They can expand on the Hollywood Round, too."

CBS: Not sure how many episodes are around for "Old Christine" and "Swingtown." They only ordered seven Jerichos. CBS isn't left with a lot unless they go with reality. They may be able to squeeze out more from Survivor. The rest is repeats.

NBC: Most of their good stuff is scripted. How many briefcase-toting models can you see in a week?

ABC: We're not sure that Dancing With the Stars relies on writers or not, so that may be good news. They really don't have much of a midseason. Lost hasn't completed its run. For "24," Kiefer Sutherland is in jail, so they already have a late start.

The CW: They have "Farmer Wants a Wife" in the can; They have "Crowned" where women and their crazy mothers compete in a beauty pageant. "Everybody Hates Chris" has completed production, so they have all of their 22 episodes ready to go.

Pull from cable
As we noted yesterday, most networks are in a good place, being part of larger conglomerates with cable shows. What NBC can do, for example, is move inventory from their cable networks like Project Runway or Burn Notice, onto the broadcast network. Fox is a global company as well and can move stuff over from FX, etc. Broadcast nets have plenty of show archives they can move into primetime as well. If the strike moves forward past the end of the year, we're going to see some real creative stuff come down from the programming folks on the fly to create momentum. They will, in essence, become DJs of the TV airwaves. An Aaron Spelling theme night, etc...But what will advertisers pay-especially the top-tier ones? All upfront deals will go out the window. It's very important that the networks treat the agencies and advertisers with kid gloves if this goes down-because it will come back to haunt them in the next upfront.

The whole DVD issue is a huge money maker for the networks and producers--it's how they're making money now. Otherwise, they're not making as much as they used to. Jason Kanefsky, MPG SVP/National Broadcast, notes ratings point goals are diminished, which means their ability to create dollars is diminished. He's telling clients rating points are already down 10%--forget C3, the ratings are down, and it may be partly because we are going into daylight savings later. They will get a better read during Nov. sweeps and when there is no baseball on. "But as we stand today, the network situation is dire and this strike will only make it worse," he noted. Some agencies tell us they are already telling clients they are going to be very, very careful on what they accept as make-goods. They're trying to get as many ratings points as they can, and are slightly over-buying in Q1. The strike will almost be like a test lab of what viewers are going to do. Will they go to the web and look at different sites? Will it also be a boon for syndication? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, take a look at Carat's Broadcast and Video Beat analysis.
| See it here |


TV News ®

Moody's not yet concerned about strike impact
Moody's Investors Service says a strike by movie and television writers would not have credit implications for any media company unless it were to extend into next year - a time frame that the credit rating service says is unlikely. "We don't think the strike will last long enough to seriously hurt revenues and cash flows, particularly of large, diversified investment-grade companies," said Moody's Senior Vice President Neil Begley. A protracted strike, however, would begin to have credit implications some time in 2008 as studios used up backlogs of new material and companies began to lose audiences and advertising revenues. "The consequences of a long strike could prove opportunistic for a few, but bothersome and even dire, under certain circumstances, for many media companies along the food chain that rely on the content studios produce and that have minimal financial flexibility," says Begley. A writers' strike would most immediately affect the TV networks, then, if it continued, the premium cable channels, film and television production studios and finally the movie theaters, said Moody's. The credit ratings of the movie theater companies are most at risk, though, because of already high leverage and dependence on the studio product. Least at risk are the ratings of the major studios and largest broadcasters, as these companies are well-diversified and have relatively strong balance sheets, according to Moody's.

Moonves says CBS can weather strike
As he reported Q3 results for CBS Corporation yesterday, CEO Les Moonves said serious negotiations with the Writers Guild of America were continuing and he hoped that an agreement would be reached soon. "But make no mistake, we are prepared. We have a full slate of new, first-run programming ready to go, both now and at mid-season. Our dramas and comedies repeat extremely well. The bottom line is this: In the event of a strike, we're fully prepared to offer alternative programming options and we would anticipate no material impact on the company for the remainder of the television season," Moonves said confidently in his conference call with Wall Street analysts.

Nothing funny about FCC Funai fine
Manufacturer Funai Corporation was found to have shipped digital television receivers across state lines without requisite V-Chip blocking capability and program rating receptors to allow parents to block reception of desired levels on content. The result: a fine of nearly 7.75M. The units were supposed to be up to spec by 3/15/06 at the latest, and a complaint about the Funai units arrived at the Commission this past July. In a prior case involving receivers out of compliance with DTV tuner requirements, the FCC said it levied per-unit fines based on a menu in which the per unit fine was hiked in relation to the number of noncompliant units shipped. The 0-1000 unit levy was 50 dollars, and it rose gradually to 250 dollars if over 50K noncompliant units were shipped. It arrived at a new, much less expensive menu for the Funai case, and declined to break down how the Funai fine total was arrived at due to the company's request to leave certain proprietary business facts out of the public domain (a request that is still pending). The charges run from 12.50 per unit on the low end as described above, up to 62.50 on the high end. The menu for both infractions is available under the click.

Units

DTV violation

V-Chip violation

0-1,000

$50.00 per unit

$12.50 per unit

1,000-2,500

$75.00 per unit

$18.75 per unit

2,501-5,000

$100.00 per unit

$25.00 per unit

5,001-10,000

$125.00 per unit

$31.25 per unit

10,001-20,000

$150.00 per unit

$37.50 per unit

20,001-30,000

$175.00 per unit

$43.75 per unit

30,001-40,000

$200.00 per unit

$50.00 per unit

40,001-50,000

$225.00 per unit

$56.25 per unit

50,001+

$250.00 per unit

$62.50 per unit

TVBR observation: The FCC has been busily levying fines on any business it visits selling analog only units without prominent warnings about its imminent decline in usefulness without a digital-to-analog converter box. Now we have this major, seven-figure fine over V-Chip concerns. Does anybody still doubt the FCC's commitment to pulling off the DTV conversion?

Analyst keeps pressure on Sinclair
Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller made it clear during Wednesday's quarterly conference call (11/1/07 TVBR #214) that he doesn't approve of Sinclair Broadcast Group investing in non-TV businesses like real estate and a sign-making company. A day later, he put out a note to investors taking the company to task for the strategy. "During its conference call, SBGI management suggested that 33% of its EBITDA could come from non-TV broadcast operations. We do not believe investors own SBGI shares for its investment prowess. SBGI is a TV broadcaster. Its forays into auto dealerships (2.5% CAGR return; and SBGI CEO David Smith on both the sell and buy side of the transactions) and direct mail (EBITDA not near 40mn initial company expectations) did not pay big shareholder dividends. The company should be sticking to a) acquiring TV stations, b) repurchasing shares or c) de-levering (especially with a weaker auto ad market). Investors can buy REITS/real-estate development companies rather than buy SBGI shares. Had the company not announced these sales, we believe shares would have been up, not down on Wednesday," Miller concluded. Sinclair shares fell 12 cents on Wednesday, despite beating expectations with its Q3 results and announcing a dividend increase.


Wall Street Business Report TM
LIN pretty much in line
LIN Television's stock fell yesterday, although Q3 revenues were in line with expectations and EPS was a penny better than the analysts' consensus of two cents. Excluding discontinued operations (the sale of its Puerto Rico stations and stake in Banks Broadcasting) net revenues were down 8% to 93.7 million. Excluding political, local ad sales were up 4% and national decreased 1%. Operating income fell 20% to 18.3%. LIN put itself up for sale earlier this year, but that process slowed down after the credit crunch hit. One analyst yesterday pressed CEO Vince Sadusky on whether private market TV prices have gone down because of the credit markets. Sadusky said the credit conditions had delayed LIN's sale process, but he insisted that there hadn't yet been any significant station sales to show any impact on prices. He also conceded that there had been some disruption of employee morale in Q3 because of the sale process, but that it is "business as usual" at this point. With the election and Olympics ahead in 2008, Sadusky is looking for "solid growth," but isn't yet offering any specific guidance. Q4 2007, without last year's political boost, is expected to see revenues down 15-17%.

Profits down at Washington Post Co.
Education revenues were up sharply again for the Washington Post Company, offsetting an 8% decline for the flagship newspaper and 5% for the TV group. On the bottom line, profits slipped 1% to 72.5 million, although that still worked out to the same 7.60 per share as a year ago. Although the company's recent growth driver, education, saw revenues increase 22% to 514.6 million, operating income declined 2% to 37.6 million. Post-Newsweek Stations, the TV group, saw revenues decline 5% to 77.8 million, due to a 7.6 million decline in political revenues. Operating income rose 10% to 36 million, but that was because of the sale of the studios of WPLG-TV (Ch. 10, ABC) Miami, which is being leased back while the company builds new studios, expected to be completed in 2009. Revenues for the Washington Post newspaper declined 7% to 210.2 million and operating income plunged 50% to 8.8 million. For the remaining divisions, cable TV revenues were up 11% to 157.8 million and magazine revenues declined 18% to 62.5 million.

Down quarter for Entravision
That's not a headline you've seen often, since Entravision has been on a strong growth curve for most of its history. But Q3 revenues were down 5% to 74.3 million and EBITDA declined 6% to 26.9 million. "During the third quarter we continued to execute our strategy and build our audience shares in a challenging environment. We faced difficult comparisons due to the absence of certain major events, such as World Cup and political activity, that occurred in the prior year period, as well as some softness in the advertising market, but we benefited from our focus on cost controls. Looking ahead, we remain well positioned to capitalize on the continued growth of the Hispanic population," said CEO Walter Ulloa. For the quarter, radio revenues were down 12% to 24.2 million, TV revenues were off 2% to 39.9 million and outdoor revenues grew 2% to 10.2 million. For Q4 the company expects net revenues to be flat to down in the low single digits.

Fisher details Q3 results
Fisher Communications says its Q3 2007 revenues increased 5% to 40.8M, with a 4%/1.1M dollar gain in television revenue and a 6%/679K dollar gain in radio. President/CEO Colleen Brown noted that television's performance was especially impressive given that Q3 was tough throughout the industry and TV was facing tough 2006 political comps. However, net income wasn't enough to overcome interest and tax expenses, resulting in a 601K continuing operation loss, which nevertheless wasn't quite as steep as a loss in Q3 2006, when the drop was 784K, a 23% improvement. The television side of the ledger was said to benefit from the company's entry into the Hispanic market with a Seattle Univision affiliation. It also enjoyed improvement in the local news competition. It acquired a full-/low-power TV pair in Bakersfield over the summer. Five small-market Montana radio stations are still being peddled and are considered by the company to be discontinued operations.

Revenues down, earnings up for CBS
Having sold some radio and TV stations and shut down UPN since a year ago, Q3 revenues at CBS Corporation were down 3% to 3.3 billion. But the company noted that net earnings from continuing operations were up 5% to 340.2 million and CEO Les Moonves is confident about the company's direction. For the CBS Television Network, he noted that scatter pricing is up "north of 35%" and he also expressed confidence in the turnaround taking place at CBS Radio. For Q3, TV revenues were down 3% to 2.08 billion, radio revenues dropped 12% (7% same station) to 445.7 million, outdoor grew 3% to 552.2 million and publishing gained 9% to 214.2 million. Operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 4% for TV to 476.1 million, dropped 19% for radio to 169.6 million, gained 8% for outdoor to 153.5 million and gained 5% for publishing to 23.8 million.


Ad Business Report TM

Interep launches Hispanic
Independent Television Sales (HITS)

Interep has opened a new rep firm for independent Hispanic television stations: Hispanic Independent Television Sales (HITS), will help independent Hispanic stations capitalize on advertisers' growing interest in reaching that burgeoning ethnic marketplace. HITS becomes the country's first and only independently O&O Hispanic television sales rep firm. Tom Marsillo has been named President of HITS, reporting to David Kennedy, CEO/Vice Chairman. In addition to his new role, Marsillo will continue to oversee Interep's Azteca America Spot TV Sales as its president, a position he has held for two years (note that Interep's Azteca America Spot Television Sales had previously repped five Pappas stations when they were Azteca America affiliates).

Marsillo tells TVBR so far they have officially signed TuVision, the Pappas Telecasting Stations. There are six to seven other groups pending with ongoing negotiations. There are a bunch of emerging platforms-some of them networks, some of them wanna-be networks; some of them are cable and satellite companies. HITS wants to bundle them all to provide the agencies with critical mass and viable options to the big, established choices like Univision and Telemundo. Those groups could include Liberman; KY; WJAN-TV 41 Miami; The SBS Mega station in Miami; Ch. 8 in Miami; LATTV Houston; Caribevision in NYC, Miami Puerto Rico; MTV Tres has a number of affiliates; LK Media Group run by Barbara Lawrence, who is buying stations that will be launching Spanish in January-likely called "SuTeve"; and The Televisa and Azteca stations from Mexico along the border. In 2007, ad spending in Hispanic media is expected to increase by 5.4% over 2006, and by 2010 is expected to reach 5.5 billion.


Media Business Report TM
Survey: majority of web users
prefer current model of online ads

On the first day of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) workshop on "Online Behavioral Targeting," the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) indicated that providing relevant marketing materials to consumers online is fueling the unprecedented growth in the Internet. Consumer response to a national survey found when given a choice about how Web content should be paid for, 72% of web users preferred that websites not charge them, and instead be funded by advertising. 86% confirmed that they usually visit free websites where the content they use is paid for by advertisers; only 10% said that the websites they access either charge them a subscription or pay for each download or use. 81% stated that the Internet made their lives better by making it easier to gain access to products, services, and content such as news, video, or music. When asked about their Internet shopping habits compared with two years ago, the overwhelming majority (86%) of Web users confirmed that they were doing the same amount of shopping or more. Finally, when all respondents, both online and offline, were asked whether they were aware that Internet companies were collecting information regarding their Web browsing, it was clear that consumers were aware of this practice. In fact, only 30% indicated they were not aware of it, and a significant portion of those who were not aware had not yet used the Internet.

Quick closing in Connecticut
That didn't take long. Just seven days after announcing a deal to sell two Connecticut newspapers to Hearst Corporation (10/26/07 TVBR #210), the transaction has closed and Tribune has 62.4 million bucks in its coffers. This time there was no court battle with the UAW local, which ultimately scuttled a previous deal to sell the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time to Gannett. Hearst agreed to assume the union contract.


Media Markets & Money TM
Close encounter in Traverse City
We don't know if it's pink or not, but there's a new driver at Cadillac MI Fox outlet WFQX-TV 33. According to brokerage firms Kalil & Co. (seller) and Patrick Communications (buyer), the sale of the station from SDR Rockfleet Holdings to Cadillac Telecasting Co. is complete. CTC, headed by Alexander Bolea, paid 141M for the station, which serves the Traverse City-Cadillac DMA.


Washington Business Report TM
Coastal Carolina TV keeps its satellite
Esteem Broadcasting filed to acquire WFXI-TV Morehead NC & WYDO-TV Greenville NC from Piedmont Television back in March for 5.885M. They operate in the geographically expansive Greenville-New Bern-Washington NC DMA as flagship and satellite, both carrying Fox programming. As the new licensee, Esteem was forced to defend this arrangement. Aided by testimony from BIA's Mark Fratrik, Esteem was able to show that WYDO would be unlikely to survive on its own as in independent station, so even though it failed to meet some criteria under which flagship-satellite relationships are granted, it was allowed to continue to operate as it had under prior ownership.

TVBR observation: This is a routine process every time such a combination is sold. We would suggest that if it were possible to operate otherwise, a smart owner would put independent programming on the satellite and increase income. If that is not what is happening, there is no doubt a very good economic reason for it, and if there is no compelling third-party objection, we would just waive such operations through without further fuss and muss.


Entertainment Business Report TM
Race debuts Sunday
Having been called up early to replace the ill-fated "Viva Laughlin" in the CBS schedule, "The Amazing Race 12" makes its season debut this Sunday, November 4th (8-9 pm ET/PT). The 11 teams depart from the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. Teams immediately begin jockeying for flights to Shannon, Ireland, where they will face a harrowing roadblock while riding a bike 200 feet above the Atlantic Ocean on a high-wire. The 11 teams will travel approximately 30,000 miles, covering five countries never before visited on the Race, including Ireland, Lithuania and Croatia.


Ratings & Research
Wheel and Judy still on a roll
"Wheel of Fortune" and "Judge Judy" remain out in front of the ratings pack in syndicated television, according to the latest report from the Syndicated Network Television Association (SNTA), based on data from Nielsen Media Research. CBS Television Distribution claims eight of the spots in the top 10, including all of the top six, with one each for Warner Bros. and Twentieth Television.

Syndication: 10/15/07-10/21/07

RANK

PROGRAMS

ORIG

HHLD Rtg. Live + SD

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

CTD

7.7

2

JUDGE JUDY

CTD

7.6

3

JEOPARDY

CTD

6.2

4

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW

CTD

5.8

5

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CTD

5.1

6

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT

CTD

5.0

7

TWO AND A HALF MEN

WB

4.8

8

DR. PHIL SHOW

CTD

4.6

8t

FAMILY GUY-M-F

2/T

4.6

10

CSI MIAMI

CTD

4.5

Source: SNTA; Nielsen Media Research data


Stock Talk
Stocks take a dive
High oil prices and the mention of the I-word (inflation) in the Fed's rate cut statement struck fears in traders that the rate cutting might be over - and the Fed might even start raising rates. That sent stock prices tumbling. The Dow Industrials dropped 362 points, or 2.6%, to 13,568.

Every single TV stock was down. (OK, Ion was flat.) LIN fell 7% after reporting its Q3 results. Sinclair was down 6.2%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Thursday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

3.63

-0.20

Lincoln Natl.

LNC

60.56

-1.81

Belo

BLC

17.94

-0.56

LIN TV

TVL

13.55

-1.02

CBS CI. B CBS

28.26

-0.44

McGraw-Hill

MHP

47.38

-2.66

CBS CI. A CBSa

28.27

-0.47

Media General

MEG

27.09

-0.89

Clear Channel

CCU

37.54

-0.23

Meredith

MDP

60.26

-1.99

Disney

DIS

33.80

-0.83

News Corp.

NWS

22.44

-0.49

Emmis

EMMS

5.05

-0.14

Nexstar

NXST

9.05

-0.38

Entravision

EVC

8.83

-0.27

Ion Media

ION

1.37

unch

Equity Media EMDA 2.60 -0.01

Saga Commun.

SGA

7.29

-0.01

Fisher

FSCI

45.48

-2.79

SBS

SBSA

2.51

-0.09

Gannett

GCI

41.45

-0.96

Scripps

SSP

44.13

-0.88

Gen. Electric

GE

40.34

-0.82

Sinclair

SBGI

11.30

-0.74

Google GOOG

703.21

-3.79

SWMX

SWMX

0.03

unch

Gray

GTN

8.97

-0.49

Time Warner

TWX

18.00

-0.26

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

9.44

-0.31

Tribune

TRB

29.45

-0.81

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

22.26

-0.04

Wash. Post

WPO

817.99

-31.01

Journal Comm.

JRN

8.49

-0.42

Young

YBTVA

2.19

-0.15


Bounceback

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hear from you.

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Below the Fold

Ad Business Report
Interep pressing it again
Launches its second TV rep firm Hispanic Independent Television Sales (HITS)...

Media Business Report
The Survey Says
Majority of web users prefer current model of online ads...

Media, Markets & Money
Close encounter in Traverse City
We don't know if it's pink or not, but there's a new driver in Cadillac...

Ratings & Research
Wheel & Judy still on a roll
CBS Television Distribution claims 8 of the spots in the top 10...


Stations for Sale

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

Contact
June Barnes
[email protected]


More News Headlines

RTNDA wants FCC off Comcast's case
The FCC has no business levying fines on Comcast news service CN8 for running video news releases on its cable network, says the Radio-Television News Director's Association on behalf of over 70 media organizations. The FCC called Comcast to task for running VNRs which it viewed as essentially promotional in nature, despite the fact that Comcast received no compensation for running them. Discussing the intent of Congress's payola statute, RTNDA argued, "That statute essentially sought to require identifications in situations where money was paid to a station in exchange for the broadcast of certain material...The legislative history shows Congress did not intend for the FCC to dictate how stations should make identifications when they independently decide to use third-party resource materials such as written press releases or their modern day electronic equivalents." RTNDA said holding journalists responsible for divining the motives of their sources takes the FCC onto an "extraordinarily dangerous slippery slope toward government censorship, and has imposed a chilling effect on the use all types of third-party materials that electronic journalists may independently decide are of interest or importance to their viewers."

Univision and ABC
cast "Housewives"
en español

Univision and Disney-ABC International Television-Latin America have completed casting for the upcoming US Spanish-language version of "Desperate Housewives" (Amas de Casa Desesperadas), calling it a veritable who's who of Latin novela stars. The series, which is being shot in Argentina specifically for the US Hispanic audience, will make its debut on Univision next season. There are, of course, some changes. Wisteria Lane has become Calle Manzanares. Mexican actress Lucia Mendez will portray the Mary Alice Young character, named Alicia Arizmendi. Playing Susana Martinez, the Susan Mayer character, is Venezuelan actress Scarlet Ortiz. Mexican motion picture and television star Ana Serradilla will interpret the role of Gabriela Solis. Colombian actress Lorna Paz will star as Leonor Guerrero, the Latin version of the Lynette Scavo character. Regina Sotomayor, the character based on Bree Van de Kamp, will be played by Mexican novela actress Julieta Rosen. Rounding out the "housewives" is Venezuelan model and actress Gabriela Vergara, as the Latin version of the Edie Britt character named Roxana Guzman.

The men of Calle Manzanares will also feature some of Latin TV's biggest male actors. Peruvian novela star Diego Ramos will interpret the role of the resident plumber Miguel Santini, the Mike Delfino character. Rugged Peruvian leading man Bernie Paz will play Gabriela's husband Carlos Solis. Peruvian heartthrob Diego Bertie has been tapped to play the Tom Scavo character named Antonio Guerrero. Mexican motion picture and novela star Riccardo Dalmacci will portray Roberto Sotomayor, Rex Van De Kamp's Latin counterpart. The part of character Paul Young, named Pablo Arizmendi, will be played by Mexican novela veteran Leonardo Daniel. Argentinean actor Ezequiel Stremiz will interpret the role of the gardener Pedro Linares, based on the character of John Rowland in the original US version.


RBR - Radio News

House members take a stand against performance fees
An impressively bipartisan House Concurrent Resolution 244 has been introduced into the record by a pair of Texans representing both major parties, Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Conaway (R-TX), which would head off any attempt to impose royalties, performance fees or other charges on music played over the air. 51 additional members, representing both parties, cosponsored the measure. All told, 19 Democrats and 34 Republicans appended a signature. The Resolution states that "Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings." It is in recognition of the promotional value of radio airplay. "NAB salutes Reps. Green and Conaway and their House colleagues for formally recognizing radio airplay's enormous value to both record labels and recording artists," said NAB EVP Dennis Wharton. "The undeniable fact is that radio airplay is a musician's greatest promotional tool and generates millions of dollars in revenue annually for RIAA-member companies and performers."

RBR observation: The performance tax or fee or royalty or whatever you want to call it is seen by many as a cash grab by the big multinational recording companies in an attempt to make up for shortfalls related to their own failure to adapt to new digital realities. There is much doubt as to exactly how much cash will wind up in the wallet of the artists that the recording companies are hiding behind, and the simple fact remains that the basic elements of the decades-old symbiotic relationship between broadcasters and recording companies are still in place. If a sudden charge to play music over the air comes into being, the logical response from broadcasters will be to make it official and label all airplay as an act of promotion and charge for the airtime.
| Bill sponsors and cosponsors |


TVBR Radar 2007
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Potential WGA Strike: What might happen to programming options
These are live ratings points, very little C3. Valentine's Day, Easter holidays--for a lot of retail advertisers these are very important holidays and they need the ratings points. So retailers may look at alternative programming that's going to give them live ratings points. The premium will be driven way up. Another factor will be overseas companies-a lot of programming emanates from Europe, BBC is a biggie. A lot of networks will see what they can do with these companies to get something new and original on the air.

TVBR observation: Word has it the Daytime soaps are poised to hire non-union "scab" writers. As Carat's Shari Anne Brill pointed out to us yesterday (10/31/07 TVBR #213), the Teamsters (set crews, etc.) may stage a solidarity strike with the WGA-scab writers increase the chances of that happening ten-fold. Kanefsky says if there is a unity strike, "You might as well turn the key off. Cable becomes primetime. And it really becomes about acquisitions." Some agencies tell us they are already telling clients they are going to be very, very careful on what they accept as make-goods. They're trying to get as many ratings points as they can, and are slightly over-buying in Q1. TVBR note: A complete Key Strike Analysis in this special Report page.
11/01/07 TVBR #214

FCC gets an earful on localism
NAB's Marcellus Alexander pointed out at the FCC Localism Forum that broadcasters cater to their local audience or they go out of business. Eleven other witnesses, including Capitol Broadcasting's Jim Goodmon agreed, at best, in part, or not at all. Goodman asked that no changes in ownership rules be made until the new realities of digital broadcasting are fully understood.

TVBR observation: This is the second time in two weeks that we have heard a prominent regional broadcast owner refuse to take a bullet for the big consolidated broadcast companies that seem to be the cause of most of the heat being directed at the business. Goodmon followed Russ Withers, who declined to defend his competitor Clear Channel under questioning from Byron Dorgan (D-ND) at a 10/14/07 Senate Commerce Committee hearing. To underscore, Goodmon said no to deregulation and yes to public interest standards and reporting requirements. Extraordinary.

TVBR note: Details with all testimony text in this TVBR report page.
11/01/07 TvBR #214

No announcement on Lincoln sale
One analyst pressed Lincoln Financial Group CEO Dennis Glass for an answer about the status of Lincoln Financial Media - "is this thing for sale, or not?"

TVBR observation: A non-answer answer if ever we heard one. So, we wait. As reported previously, our sources say Raycom has the inside track to buy the TV group for about 500 million, but that the radio stations will be sold in pieces for a total of about 650 million. The other piece, the sports broadcast operation, is expected to bring about 50 million.
11/01/07 RBR #214

WGA strike:
What it could mean to advertising
If the WGA strike goes through, advertisers, agencies and networks would all be in some sort of turmoil-depending largely on how long the strike lasted. Remember, the strike in 1988 lasted for 154 days. Shari Anne Brill, Carat USA VP/director of programming, wonders if "this economy could handle that." She notes the C3 ratings would be in trouble as well. For comments see TVBR.
10/31/07 TVBR #213

Senators request new
hearing on net neutrality
Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have reached across the aisle in the past to promote the concept of network neutrality. Concerns about cable and telephone companies playing an active gatekeeper role when providing internet access have prompted the duo to call for a new hearing on the topic.

TVBR observation: Put us down for net neutrality. You are reading this right now because you - and TVBR - both have access to a free and open internet. We occasionally are critical of companies that may be carrying us into the homes and businesses of our subscribers. The notion that this relationship between the press and citizens can be disrupted by the carrier runs counter to the founding principles of the United States and absolutely must be protected.
10/30/07 TVBR #212

Publisher Perspective
At the stroke of midnight
Right now, TVBR goes completely electronic. We cease printing SmartMedia mag but the content goes electronic. We have stated numerous times, "Technology Waits for No One." LPM and PPM are rolling, gathering real time data. Therefore, I am not waiting for the New Year's baby to arrive to bring forth our electronic improvements. This is the 2nd time in 25 years I have had to make this hard decision. The first time was 07/08/02 RBR Epaper #1 and my radio friends and colleagues thought I was friggen nuts. When we wish all a Happy New Year 2008, RBR/TVBR will turn 25 years young, our Silver Anniversary. (Reason and looking ahead worth a read see TVBR)
10/29/07 TVBR #211

Copps presses for News Corp/
Dow Jones hearing
Commissioner Michael Copps is still upset about the pending 5.6 billion bucks acquisition of Dow Jones & Co. by News Corporation and is insisting that the FCC should do something about it. In a letter to Chairman Kevin Martin, Copps calls for the Commission to open an inquiry into whether News Corporation should be allowed to own one of the big four TV networks and two of the nation's largest newspapers.
10/26/07 TVBR #210


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