Irwins Will Find Biggest Croc, Name It After David Zaslav

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav has received many honors and financial rewards during his tenure at the programming giant. Yet this past week (June 24), during a Discovery 30th-anniversary celebration at New York’s Paley Center for Media, Zaslav received a unique honor, courtesy of Discovery’s Australian first family of wildlife conservation, the Irwins.

The family of late Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin said it will name the largest crocodile it captures after Zaslav as part of its annual crocodile research excursion, during which the family captures and tags the creatures to get a closer look at their habits.

Irwin’s wife, Terri; their 16-year-old daughter, Bindi (who starred in Bindi the Jungle Girl on Discovery Kids) and their 11-year-old son, Robert, told a crowd of luminaries, Discovery executives and reporters about their plans during a panel session hosted by On the Case host Paula Zahn.

“We’re going to catch the biggest and most incredible crocodile and we’re going to name the crocodile David Zaslav,” little Robert Irwin enthusiastically stated.

Added Terri: “We’ll know what [crocodile David] has been eating and how long he holds his breath.”

Joining the Irwins on the panel were Stacey London, star of TLC’s Love Lust or Run, and Sig Hansen, star of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Hansen discussed Discovery’s big risk in giving a platform to high-stakes crab fishing, and the celebrity that the show has brought him and his crew.

Hansen recalled a chance meeting with a New York insurance company CEO earlier that evening outside of the Paley Center who was enamored with meeting the veteran fisherman. “He asked if he could come fish with us and I said get the hell out of here,” Hansen said, igniting a roar of laughter from the crowd.

London, who helped spearhead the fashion makeover genre with TLC’s iconic reality series What Not to Wear, was less than enthusiastic when posed with a request from Hansen to give makeovers to him and his grizzled fishing crew. London jokingly adding that their wardrobe was “not that bad.”

Later that evening, Zaslav expressed to The Wire his personal thoughts on Discovery’s 30th anniversary, saying that he entered the cable business “because of Discovery and [Discovery founder] John Hendricks. Thirty years later I’m at the helm of, I think, the greatest brand on cable.”

— R. Thomas Umstead

Searching for a Hero To Wear a Bandanna In Crowther’s Honor

American Heroes Channel will look to live up to its name by saluting everyday heroes as part its Red Bandanna Hero Award competition, in partnership with USA Today and the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust.

The competition, which launched earlier this month, will span America in search of an everyday hero who exemplifies the American spirit, in recognition of Welles Remy Crowther, a 24-year-old equities trader who saved as many as 12 people before dying during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

The 60 million-subscriber channel and its partners will honor the ultimate winner of the Red Bandanna Hero Award with a $10,000 donation to the charitable organization of the winner’s choosing, as well as a trip for two to attend the Boston College Red Bandanna Game on Sept. 18.

The game was created to honor Crowther, who attended the university and played lacrosse there, wearing a bandanna under his helmet.

Along with the charitable donation, AHC will create a “Hero Moment” video about the winner that will air on the network and online at

AHC kicked off its search for America’s Red Bandanna Hero Award winner at the Country Music Awards Festival in Nashville June 13-14. The network transformed the streets of Nashville with giveaways of #WhosYourHero red bandannas, network officials said.

The network has also teamed with select minor-league baseball teams to host special “Red Bandanna” games, where attendees will receive a #WhosYourHero bandanna.

“It’s with great humility and gratitude to their service that we create the Red Bandanna Hero Award in Welles’ memory, to provide Americans everywhere with the opportunity to recognize those like him who answered the call despite insurmountable odds,” Kevin Bennett, general manager of American Heroes Channel, told The Wire.

— R. Thomas Umstead

FCC Briefing Schedule Is Like Feuding Cats With a Lot to Say

Put feuding cats in a legal sack and you get a briefing schedule. Or something like that.

Both sides of the legal challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s new network-neutrality rules — more like three or four sides — have gotten together to propose a briefing schedule they say would allow for oral argument before the end of the year.

Those self-described “separate and conflicting” challengers included Internet service providers challenging Title II reclassification but not the bright-line rules; a voice-over-IP pioneer who is challenging the bright lines; and government officials defending both. Then there is the group challenging the rules because they did not go far enough, as well as the “multiple amici with divergent views and interests to file on all sides of the case.” Sounds like they might need another sack.

It was admittedly a forced marriage of the minds. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to expedite the case and asked the parties to get together to propose a briefing plan of action.

They did so, telling the court that their proposal “accommodates the divergent interests of the various parties to this complex, consolidated proceeding” — that’s legal-speak for the sackful of battling cats — and said that if the court complied, the case could be fully briefed by October, only four months away, and oral argument scheduled by year’s end.

But just to show you can’t take all the spat out of the battling cats, they also pointed out each petitioner separately proposed a word allocation for their opening brief on which the others took no position.

Jointly, USTelecom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, AT&T and CenturyLink have asked the court for 18,000 words. Why? Well, we’ll tell you. Here’s their estimate of how many words it will take:

(A) “The Commission’s reclassification decision is contrary both to the plain text and any reasonable reading of the statute (4,000 words);

(B) “Departs from prior precedent without sufficient identification of changed facts or consideration of reliance interests (3,000 words);

(C) “Was adopted without sufficient notice of the rules or legal authority the Commission ultimately promulgated and relied upon (1,500 words);

(D) “Violates other statutes (500 words).

(E) “Impermissibly impose common carriage duties (750 words);

(F) “The Commission’s decision to extend Title II regulation to broadband Internet access service providers’ Internet interconnection arrangements, independent of the arguments regarding the reclassification of the service itself (1,500 words);

(G) “The new Internet conduct standard and the clarifications of the transparency rule [requiring more info] adopted in the 2010 Order reviewed in Verizon are unlawful independent of the Commission’s assertion of authority under Title II (2,000 words together);” and

H) Background and other required boilerplate — issues statement, summary of argument (4,750 words).

Some cats really have a lot to say.

— John Eggerton