NETWORKS FACE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

Television networks around the world (including the U.S.'s NBC) who have been licensed to cover the Beijing Olympics are complaining about foot-dragging by Chinese officials in granting necessary permits for everything from freight shipments to camera placements, the Associated Press reported Monday. The wire service quoted from minutes of a meeting between network producers and the Beijing and International Olympic Committee organizers last month in which IOC official Gilbert Felli accused Chinese officials of imposing conditions "that are just not workable." In its report, the AP commented: "The minutes hint that procedures broadcasters have used in other Olympics are conflicting with China's authoritarian government. Some plans are months behind schedule, which could force broadcasters to compromise coverage plans." AP's own television unit, APTN, is among a number of non-rights-holding news organizations that have also complained about rigid Chinese restrictions. APTN News Director Sandy MacIntyre complained, "We are two weeks away from putting equipment on a shipment and we have no clearance to operate, or to enter the country or a frequency allocation."

DID MEDIA WRITE CLINTON OUT OF RACE?

A report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism has documented that during the last two months of the Democratic primary campaign in April and May, the television networks devoted more time to speculation about when Hillary Clinton would call it quits than about the candidates' positions on Iraq, the mounting price of gasoline, home foreclosures or the economy. Referring to the study, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw told the Associated Press that it was "inappropriate" for journalists "to try to cut the process short. ... There was an awful lot of commentary disguised as reporting that gave the impression that people were trying to shove her out of the race." Apparently referring to the campaign coverage by the cable news networks, Brokaw blamed the decision to focus on Clinton's possible exit on the availability of "too much time and too little imagination."

JON STEWART, COLBERT COMING TO HULU

Viacom is getting its toes wet in the waters of Hulu, the joint venture set up by NBC and Fox to showcase TV programming on the Internet. After balking at putting any of its cable content on Hulu's platform, Viacom announced Monday -- to the surprise of many industry observers -- that it would begin providing full episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report on Hulu beginning Tuesday. Both shows air on the Comedy Central cable network. In its announcement, Viacom indicated that it regards the modest entry as a test and that it will add more programs if it proves successful.

STRUGGLING YANKEES ATTRACTING RECORD-SETTING AUDIENCES

Despite the fact that the New York Yankees have exhibited a plethora of weaknesses during the first half of the current season and are 6 1/2 games behind arch-enemies the Boston Red Sox, which leads their division, viewership for the Yankees' games on the YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports) Network has never been better. Broadcasting & Cable observed that Sunday's telecast of the Yankees versus the Kansas City Royals game drew a 6.5 rating, the second highest rated game (Red Sox games excepted) that has ever been broadcast on the Network.

PTC SWINGS AT SWINGTOWN

Brent Bozell's powerful Parents Television Council, which has been responsible for generating most of the complaints to the FCC about "indecent" television programming, has asked CBS affiliates to refuse to carry the network's new drama Swingtown. In a statement, the PTC accused CBS of ignoring "common sense broadcast decency standards. ... "We are asking all CBS affiliates to consider preempting this show or to air it later."

TIME WARNER NOT CONSIDERING BUYING NBC, SAYS CEO

Responding to growing speculation on business sites the Internet that Time Warner might make a play to acquire NBC, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told a Deutsche Bank media conference in New York Monday that his company has no "agenda" to do so. Nevertheless, if General Electric, the network's current owner decides to sell it, "We'd have to look a that if and when it came up, he said.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.