L.A. SUING TIME WARNER CABLE
The city of Los Angeles is expected to file a lawsuit against Time Warner Cable today (Thursday) alleging that the company made false and misleading statements to Adelphia Communications subscribers after it acquired the company in 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported today. In a 25-page lawsuit, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo claims that the New York-based cable provider violated its franchise agreement with the city by providing poor customer service and allowing excessive delays in repair work. "Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles residents were ripped off," the Times quoted Delgadillo as saying in a statement. "Time Warner must be held accountable for its promises." According to the newspaper, the cable provider, which is in the process of being spun off by parent Time Warner Inc., could face civil penalties amounting to tens of millions of dollars.
OBAMA RUNS AGAINST RERUNS; RERUNS LOSE
Many media critics were sharply scolding the nation's television networks Wednesday for their decision to ignore the results of Tuesday's Democratic primaries, which resulted in Sen. Barack Obama receiving enough delegate votes to guarantee his nomination as president at the Democratic convention in August. "History was made in the nation last night. It just wasn't carried on the nation's airwaves," Advertising Age's John Rash wrote on the trade publication's website. Rash observed that ABC, CBS and NBC ran mostly reruns and that their failure to cover the primary election results represented "a lost opportunity to find new audiences for the networks' nightly newscasts." (ABC briefly interrupted its programming to carry Obama's victory speech.) The New York Times observed that CNN outdrew most of the broadcast networks Tuesday night and concluded that it was likely "the second time in history that a cable network attracted more viewers than a broadcaster during a major news event." The networks' decision also allowed Fox to move to the front of the ratings race with a schedule of reality shows during primetime Tuesday. Its Hell's Kitchen was the night's highest-rated show.
REPORT: ET KNEW IT HAD BEEN PUNK'D
Entertainment Tonight was informed in advance that a story that it intended to air about the birth of Angelina Jolie's twins was a hoax -- but ran the story anyway, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing documents and two people with knowledge of the exchange. The AP said that Jolie's personal assistant, Holly Goline, who was named by ET as the source of its story, contacted the producers of the television show after they posted the story on the ET website (but before it went on the air). Goline reportedly told the program "that their information came from an impostor," according to the AP source, who said that several conversations and email exchanges took place before the ET report aired. The show declined to comment on the AP report except to say that it was "actively investigating the matter." In its report the AP commented: "The mystery of who was sending the e-mail fit perfectly into the world of celebrity gossip, in which rumor and third-hand sources coalesce into 'facts' at the speed of the Internet."
FOX BITES FCC
If its appeal of an FCC fine is upheld in court, Fox Broadcasting could bring down the regulator's power to enforce indecency regulations. As reported by Broadcasting & Cable, the appeal, filed on Wednesday, argues: that the current indecency ban is unconstitutional because of the ability of parents to employ the V-chip to prevent children from viewing objectionable material; that the notion of indecency is too subjective; that the FCC's regulation on the matter applies only to language, not images, and that in any case, the images in the case at hand -- scenes in the series Married by America -- were pixilated to blur out any explicit nudity.
ABC, ESPN FIND GOLD IN TRIPLE CROWN
In much of the recent discussion about the resurgence of interest in the televised Stanley Cup finals in hockey and expected record ratings for the NBA Lakers-Celtics championship series that begins tonight, the "sport of kings" has gone largely overlooked. However, Reuters reported Wednesday that advertisers are lining up to buy ads on programs linked to ABC and ESPN's upcoming coverage of the Belmont Stakes, which, following Big Brown's win at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, could produced the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years. The Disney-owned broadcast and cable networks are devoting seven hours to coverage of the race, and Len DeLuca, ESPN senior vice president of programming and acquisitions, told the wire service that advertisers are paying "an absolute premium" for spots on the telecast.