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B&C Eye

TNN is Oblivious

How can TNN, which already boasts the WWF franchise, continue to pump up its remade profile? Pick up an all-the-rage reality project, for one. TNN has grabbed the pilot for Oblivious from Stone Stanley Entertainment, creator of ABC's The Mole and The WB's Popstars. In development at Stone Stanley since August of last year (B&C, Aug. 28), Oblivious is a Candid Camera-like game show where people are unknowingly taped in a variety of potentially humorous situations. Unwitting contestants will be asked trivia questions, not realizing that it is a contest or that the right answers will earn them prizes. One possible scenario: Someone posing as a waiter quizzes diners on food facts.

NBC to get Access

NBC Enterprises appears close to snagging the distribution rights to Access Hollywood. Sources say the strip, produced by NBC Studios but distributed by Warner Bros., should be under the wing of NBC's fledgling distribution division by the end of this month. One clue that it's almost a done deal—the wheels have been in motion since April—is that the NBC O&Os have just renewed Warner Bros.' Extra
through May 2005. That was apparently the sort of good-faith move Warner Bros. was looking to receive once it agreed to release Access Hollywood to NBC. Sources also say the NBC O&Os have renewed Access Hollywood through May 2005. At press time, neither Warner Bros. nor NBC Enterprises was commenting.

Do tell

Local TV stations must tell satellite TV companies by July 1 whether they want to negotiate payment for carriage or assert their must-carry rights. If they miss the deadline, TV stations may forfeit their right to be carried in markets where satellite companies are offering local service. According to FCC rules, all stations need to declare, even if they already have signed retransmission consent deals with satellite companies. The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, passed by Congress in November 1999, allows satellite TV companies to offer customers only the major local TV signals per market until the end of this year. But by Jan. 1, 2002, they must carry every TV station in every market they are serving, but only if stations actively assert that right.

On board at NAB

Here's the anticipated new lineup when the NAB board changes at this week's annual summer meeting in Washington:

  • David Kennedy, president and COO of Susquehanna Radio Corp., is expected to take over from Benedek Broadcasting President Jim Yager as joint-board chairman.
  • LIN Television Vice President Paul Karpowicz will move up to chair the television board.
  • Dispatch Broadcast Group President Michael Fiorile is expected to become TV board vice chairman.
  • Federated President John Dille will chair the radio board, while Hubbard President Ginny Morris will likely become vice chair.

Truth in advertising

We always like the hint of inspiration in convention literature, so we loved this headline for a panel plucked from the NCTA preliminary convention agenda this week: "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Field service management today." Applause! (And when cable customer service is as good as that headline, they won't need the panel.)