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The week that was


Subscribership to high-speed Internet and data services climbed 250% during the 18 months ended June 30, according to the FCC's annual report to Congress. The report comes as the FCC gears up to resolve several complicated policy disputes over broadband regulation. The study says there were 9.6 million high-speed subcribers, as of June 30. …

Pay-per-view sales increased 26% last year, to $2.2 billion, but only movies have been a stellar performer, distributor Showtime Event Television
said. The PPV distributor's annual review of PPV sales found that the sale of theatrical movies via PPV zoomed 54%, largely because of the rollout of digital cable and its wider choice of PPV times and titles.

Porn increased 17%, but sales of events dropped sharply—25%—because of the elimination of WCW wrestling events and the absence of a marquee boxing event.


FCC Chairman Michael Powell
will get an additional $33 million to run the agency if the White House's budget recommendation is approved by Congress. That's a big if, however, because the FCC rarely gets as much money as the White House proposes. The Bush
administration recommended $278 million for the FCC, with $248 million of that coming from regulatory fees. …

anchor Tom Brokaw
will deliver the keynote at the Television Bureau ofAdvertising
confab at the Javits Convention Center in New York March 26. For the first time, the TVB parley is linked to the New York Auto Show. …

NBC West Coast President Scott Sassa
is expected to leave the network by early summer or possibly sooner. In November, Sassa signed a new deal to remain on at the network as head of West Coast operations. The deal, insiders now say, was a short-term pact that allowed Sassa to leave the network this year. …

tapped former Fox News host Arthel Neville as host of TalkBack Live. She takes over the spot vacated by Bobbie Batista, who left last October to start her own business. …Greta Van Susteren
made her Fox News Channel
debut Monday, Feb. 4, with a new look and strong ratings. Van Susteren—who recently had cosmetic surgery on her eyes—debuted to a 1.5 rating Monday night and followed with a 1.1 rating on Tuesday night. She was down to 0.7 by Wednesday. …

Jana Bennet, executive VP and GM for Discovery's The Learning Channel, is stepping down to return to the British Broadcasting Co.
She'll become director of television for BBC One, BBC Two
and several digital nets. She leaves TLC in April.


Bidding for four new analog TV stations was suspended for two days due to power failure. Bidding resumes in Washington today at 9 a.m. …ABC
has ordered 13 episodes of Dinotopia: The Series
for next season. The network and Hallmark Entertainment
are already teaming up on the upcoming miniseries, Dinotopia, in May. …

Twentieth Television's latest court series, Texas Justice, in its third week in national syndication, took over the top spot among rookie strips, averaging a 2.3 rating for the week of Jan. 21-27, up 10% from the previous week, according to Nielsen Media Research. …

Fox's Super Bowl
telecast on Feb. 3 was the fifth-most-watched program in TV history. Fox averaged a 40.4 rating/60 share, according to preliminary data from Nielsen. Fox researchers estimate that 131.7 million viewers watched some portion of the game. The audience total is the highest ever for Fox and ranks it as the most-watched program on TV since 1998's Super Bowl. The 40.4/60 equals that of CBS's coverage of last year's Super Bowl. …

Executives hyped branding at the Cable Advertising Bureau
conference in New York last week. "Brands aren't put out in a press release or decided in a boardroom," Lifetime's head of research Tim Brooks
said. "It has to come from the consumer." While attendance at most industry gatherings is slipping, the CAB says 1,425 people attended this year, up from 1,200 last year. …

The Speed Channel
relaunches today with scores of new NASCAR-related programs. The Fox-owned racing net is branding the new programming NASCAR TV. Last May, Fox swapped its interest in Outdoor Life
and The Golf Channel
with Comcast
for 100% ownership of Speedvision.