L.A. Confidential: Avoid the Boppers

More than 20,000 cable execs will hit L.A. for the Western Show. But we know some of you will be there for more than just trade-show business. After all, the city has a lot to offer. So here's some free advice. Those arriving in town early (Sunday or earlier) should be advised that
the convention center area will be overrun with teeny boppers on the scene for an 'N Sync concert Sunday night at the
Staples Center.

The Los Angeles Lakers also have a Staples Center home game Nov. 28, and the Clippers play Nov. 27 and 28.

(Given the way the Clippers play, if you plan walking up for a ticket, they're a better bet than the champion Lakers). Traffic related to each game should be factored into travel time and dinner reservation opportunities on those nights. The hottest ticket in town is The Lion King at the Pantages Theater. If you haven't already scored a ticket, your chances are slim. But if you have snared a ducat, you can take L.A.'s new subway from downtown to Hollywood (Red Line train to North Hollywood, off at Hollywood and Vine stop. Trains stop at midnight). If you're bringing the family for a little post-show R-and-R at Disneyland, be advised the price just went up again. Adult entry is $44, kids are $38, and forget about seeing the new Disneyland California Resort. The second theme park doesn't open until first quarter 2001, so all the shake-out bugs should be gone when the Western Show returns to Anaheim next year. Universal Studios is now also accessible from downtown via the Red Line; use the Lankershim Avenue stop.

What do you do when you're a vendor with a name remarkably similar to another company laboring in the same product space? Throw a party with a big lure. DemandVideo, a company marketing video-on-demand solutions, is not InDemand, a pay-per-view and VOD programmer. DemandVideo will try to build its profile with a Nov. 29 blowout at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, in conjunction at the Western Show. The entertainment will be industry-related: a band headed by Dave Smith, an executive with 20th Century Fox.
But what might draw the most attention is the prize on the block that night for a lucky attendee. Free VOD-that's vacation-on-demand.

But before you start envisioning yourself as a civilian guest on the Mir space station or on a month's long trek around the world, be advised the trip will have a cost cap.

House Republicans retained a narrow majority after the Nov. 7 elections, in part because Republican Ric Keller prevailed over Democrat Linda Chapin, with 51 percent of the vote in an open-seat race in central Florida. Keller, a lawyer who never held public office, pulled ahead late in the race after he aired a barrage of attack ads on Orlando TV stations,
including one that accused Chapin of providing padded furniture and cable television to prisoners when she was Orange County chairman.

Chapin campaign spokeswoman Kristine Roselius claimed the ad was "totally false," and said cable was installed in a work-release center four years before Chapin was elected county chairman. "When she found out about it, she had it yanked." Although Keller corrected inaccuracies in the original ad, he later hit the airwaves with a new cable-for-inmates version, Roselius said. "We had the ad pulled from the air, but it was retooled and put back on," Roselius said. Taylor Ford, field director for the Keller campaign, said the National Republican

Congressional Committee had run ads that were inaccurate and were pulled, but none of Keller's ads had accuracy problems. "Our ad was never pulled and was correct," he said. The ads slammed Chapin for providing "criminals with carpet and cable TV," he added. Ford insisted Chapin's defeat was the result of several factors, not just the cable-for-inmates ads.

Cable may be lucky it got its anti-forced cable access decision out of federal court when it did. The jurist that sided with AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp. in its access challenge in Broward County
had his docket full last week, and may be busy for some days to come.

U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks in Miami was the judge who heard last Wednesday's challenge of the continued vote count in Florida by Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

You've got-no mail. If you've got a cable modem and haven't yet downloaded America Online 6.0, think twice. Cable operators say the upgrade, which is supposed to offer a greater array of broadband content for high-speed data users, obliterates the Internet-protocol settings on some computers.
"We've gotten some calls, but we're not inundated," said Marty Zajic,

spokeswoman for Cox Cable's Orange County, Calif., cluster, just one of the systems affected. Tech support has developed a "work around" to get Excite@Home customers back online. But after that, it's up to consumers to talk to AOL about the problems, the spokeswoman said. One exasperated help desk worker advised a
Multichannel News

user to uninstall the upgrade until problems can be resolved. Stay tuned.