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Fast Track

FCC Wouldn't Block Sinclair Show

After Congress complained about Sinclair
's plans to air a documentary critical of
Sen. John Kerry, the FCC decided to bow out of the

Chairman Michael Powell last week said the
FCC is not in the business of regulating editorial decisions of media
companies, including blocking the broadcast of a show.

He said the commission would look into the issue, but he added, "There
is no rule that I'm aware of that would allow the commission—nor would it be
prudent—to prevent the airing of a program. In a later
CNBC interview, he said it would be illegal prior restraint
for the FCC to prevent a program from airing.

Broadband Powers Up

After years of talk and little action, electric companies are one step
closer to offering high-speed Internet and other communications services over
power lines.

The FCC last week approved rules that would allow
utilities to offer broadband service over power lines while attempting to
safeguard broadcasters and other existing licensed services against harmful

Broadcasters are wary of the new service because the FCC did not
forbid utilities from offering the service at frequencies that could interfere
with TV channels, particularly digital ones.

Get With the Program

Twentieth Television has cleared
Fox's thriller 24 for an off-net syndicated run on
Viacom stations in 18 major markets, covering 34% of the
country. Under the terms of the deal, Twentieth and stations will split the ad
time, with each getting seven minutes to sell.

Comedy Central has renewed half-hour comedy
Reno 911 for a third
season. Thirteen new episodes will debut in summer 2005. The show has been one
of the network's top performers since its debut.

Mischer Suits Up for Super Bowl

Vowing not to repeat last year's halftime show featuring a singing,
gyrating Jackson, the NFL has selected the producer of the 2005 show, whose
previous experience includes, well, producing a Super Bowl halftime show
featuring a singing, gyrating Jackson.

The NFL sought out Don Mischer Productions to produce the halftime
show on Fox, but not to worry. Mischer produced the 2003 show, featuring a
fully clothed Michael Jackson rather than a wardrobe-challenged Janet, and the
NFL will have sign-off on all elements of the new production, including talent
"and wardrobe," adds NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. He says it will be an
entirely collaborative process, with Mischer "executing the NFL's vision."

Mischer is a decorated veteran awards-show producer—13
Emmys—though, ironically, awards shows are the other live programming genre
to draw heavy indecency fire. Now that all the networks are putting delays on
awards shows, Mischer also has experience producing with a delay, including at
least one bleep of an offending phrase on the most recent Emmy telecast, which
he produced.

Media Jobs

VARIETYCAREERS.COM, an online job resource for the
media and entertainment industry, launched on Oct. 18. The Web site aims to
provide entertainment companies with more qualified candidates than other
broad-based sites, says Charlie Koones, executive vice
president and publisher of the Variety Group, which operates
the site.

"For job seekers in media, it's an extraordinary resource with over
3,500 jobs at launch combined with the editorial resources for research and
context," Koones says.

The Variety Group is a collection of business publications that
includes B&C.