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Diddy, J-Lo Nets Verbally Spar Amid Rivalry for Millennials

Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jennifer “J-Lo” Lopez used to date, back in the late ‘90s. They’re both rich and famous, musical and entrepreneurial, and both count among their ventures ownership in independent television networks.

Combs’s Revolt TV launched last year, and Lopez owns a stake in NUVOtv, formerly Sí TV, where she became chief creative officer in 2013.

Revolt is a music-focused network targeting millennials, though Combs recently said young people don’t like that term.

NUVOtv targets Englishspeaking Hispanic millennials, and is in the process of buying MSG Networksowned music channel Fuse and its 72 million subscribers.

Revolt also bid on Fuse, unsuccessfully.

Lots of intersections there, as well as reasons to be rivals. And the networks certainly sounded like rivals at The Cable Show last week in Los Angeles.

Thursday’s general session chat between Broadcasting & Cable editor in chief Melissa Grego, Combs and Revolt CEO Keith Clinkscales was the headline example.

Grego asked about the Fuse auction, and Clinkscales started to say how much Revolt learned through the process of making “a very credible” offer for Fuse.

“I don’t want to interrupt you but, to be honest, we were kind of used as a pawn in the situation,” Combs cut in. “A lot of people were really lowballing, we came in with a price that was higher, somebody else came and, you know, drove the price up, and that’s the way it works.”

“Hopefully,” Combs said, “we’ ll still be able to grind out and get the distribution, sooner than later.”

Combs said he had sent Lopez a message of congratulations over Fuse.

On Wednesday, it was NUVO’s chance for a dig at Revolt.

During a multicultural-TV panel session put on by B&C and Multichannel News, Comcast Cable senior director of multicultural marketing Jose Velez-Silva extolled Revolt and said Comcast had given it wide distribution as part of a commitment (via the NBCUniversal merger) to launch minorityfocused independent channels.

He said Combs helped Comcast’s senior leadership see the importance of reaching the Revolt audience.

Lynnette Ramirez, NUVO’s vice president of programming, then asked Velez-Silva, “Is Comcast not an investor in Revolt?”

“Ah, yes we are, but …” Velez-Silva said, to some laughs.

“That helps,” Ramirez said.

Val Boreland, Revolt’s executive vice president of programming and production, was on the same panel, and she pointed out that Time Warner Cable also rolled out Revolt, “and they are so supportive, and they are not an investor in our network.”

UPDATE SINCE THIS WAS PUBLISHED: Comcast is not an investor in Revolt. Multichannel News regrets not clarifying that information in this report.

Net Thanks Telcos For Carriage Deals … At Cable Show

One America News Network, a conservative- leaning channel launched last July 4 by Herring Networks, signed significant carriage deals with Verizon’s FiOS TV and AT&T’s Uverse TV in April.

Last week, in Los Angeles, Herring decided to salute the two affiliates in a very public way, hiring an aerial advertising firm to have thank-you banners flown by plane high above the downtown convention center.

The convention center, of course, was hosting The Cable Show. As in, cable networks and cable operators.

Cable networks love any type of distributor. Cable operators compete against telco-TV distributors, such as FiOS and U-verse.

The Wire wondered if Herring, which also owns AWE, the network formerly known as Wealth TV, was trying to tweak cable companies with the banner.

Not at all, company president Charles Herring said. “Rather, we simply wanted to thank two major distributors and let other cable providers know that One America News Network is gaining traction in a meaningful way and should receive carriage consideration,” he said in an email exchange Friday.

“Several cable video providers saw the thank you banners and asked about the penetration level of Verizon and AT&T and channel positioning,” he told The Wire. “A few cable companies mentioned that it was nice to see a positive message from a programmer to a distribution partner, something that may be forgotten, considering all the battles.”

Herring Networks has exhibited at every Cable Show since 2005, including last week, he said, while some of the biggest programming groups have stopped coming.

“We are already planning for 2015,” in Chicago, he said, and would love to fl y banners there praising carriage by a big cable operator.

— Kent Gibbons

Cameras Outside Try to Persuade Justices Inside

C-SPAN has been staking out the Supreme Court, though thus far it isn’t allowed to bring its cameras inside.

The cable-backed public-affairs network has for years been volunteering its cameras to extend the public gallery for some of the most important legal decisions in the country to cable viewers, just as it has done for the Congress.

But the high-court justices have never been able to agree on the issue. Various congressional efforts to legislate cameras in the court have fallen short, in part over concerns about separation of powers.

While C-SPAN was concentrating on postoral argument insights from the lawyers in the ABC v. Aereo case argued on April 22, the Coalition for Court Transparency was camped out on the steps, carrying the banner, literally, for opening up the court.

The group’s members include the National Press Foundation, the National Press Photographers Association, the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Society for Professional Journalists.

The Aereo arguments are over, but the coalition is still collecting signatures for an online petition to Chief Justice John Roberts asking him to “heed [their] call for a more open judiciary.”

— John Eggerton