NO VOUCHERS FOR SKID ROW
Thousands of skid-row residents living in one-room facilities in apartments and hotels are being turned down for the $40 converter-box vouchers under a provision of the voucher program that classifies such facilities as business addresses, thereby making them ineligible, the Los Angeles Times disclosed today (Monday). Moreover, Bart Forbes, a spokesman for the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said that group homes and housing provided by nonprofit groups are also excluded, since the vouchers can only be issued to "households" as the word is defined by the Census Bureau. Forbes explained: "It was an oversight in the way the law was written. ...We're constrained by the law."
AMPTP CHIEF STEPPING DOWN
Nick Counter, the president and chief negotiator for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, has announced that he is retiring, despite the fact that he has been unable to conclude his bargaining talks with the Screen Actors Guild. There was no announcement concerning Counter's successor. For the time being, his place at the negotiating table will be taken by Carol Lombardini, executive vice president of the AMPTP, the organization said.
JOURNALISM STUDENTS REPORTING ON AIR -- FOR FREE
Network and local TV news operations have begun providing cheap video cameras to university journalism students and using some of the footage online and on the air, the Associated Press reported today (Monday). The move is intended to offset cutbacks at the networks and their local affiliates, to give the students some practical experience, and to allow the broadcast news operations to present coverage from areas where they may not have access -- such as storm-ravaged communities. The students are not being paid. Karen Scott, news director of WPIX in New York, told AP: "It helps to have more eyes and ears around the area." And Joseph Angotti, a former NBC News vice president who now teaches Journalism at Monmouth College in Illinois, remarked: "As a professor I think it's a grand idea because it's giving opportunities to students that they wouldn't have had before. But I'm not so sure if I were the executive producer of the nightly news that I'd want to be relying so much on students to do it for me."
DISH LOSERS MORE THAN 100,000 SUBSCRIBERS
Without being able to bundle telephone and Internet services with its own satellite TV service following the expiration of its deal with AT&T, DISH Network lost 102,000 subscribers -- presumably to cable -- in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, it reported net income of $217 million (on revenue of $11.62 billion), up 24 percent from $175 million ($11.09 billion) reported during the comparable period a year earlier. In an SEC filing, DISH said that At&T "was a substantial contributor to our gross and net subscriber additions over the past several year" and that it accounted for about 17 percent of its subscriber additions.
SIEGFRIED AND ROY SHOW TAPED FOR ABC NEWS MAGAZINE
As unlikely as it may seem, what was billed as the final on-stage appearance of Siegfried and Roy -- at a charity show in Las Vegas Saturday night -- was taped for a one-hour TV special that will air on the ABC news program 20/20 next Friday. The show, in which Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher perform an eight-minute illusion that features Montecore, the tiger that mauled Horn in 2003, is likely to attract big ratings just as it is likely to attract new controversy over the issue of "infotainment." On their website, the German-born duo said, "Elizabeth Vargas, co-host of 20/20 will be in charge of the piece, which will feature Horn's remarkable recovery." In a report about the Las Vegas performance, the French news agency Agence France Presse observed: "Horn walked haltingly but steadily, remarkable in and of itself for a man who was not expected to survive" the tiger attack.
TIME WARNER TO ALLOW ONLINE ACCESS TO TV SHOWS
Borrowing a page from Netflix, which provides thousands of movies online exclusively to its subscribers, Time Warner now says it will soon allow subscribers to its cable systems to have unlimited access to cable programs. Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes told Advertising Age, "It's a natural extension of the existing model." AdAge said that Viacom NBC Universal, and Discovery are currently working with Time Warner to develop the online plan and that talks have begun with News Corp and Disney.