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Will April 7 Meeting Determine CableACEs Fate?

Cable programmers will meet April 7 in New York to discusswhether or not they should pull the plug on the CableACE Awards.

The programmer board members of the NationalAcademy of Cable Programming, as well as members of the Satellite NetworkCommittee of the National Cable Television Association, will take part inthe session, which is expected to last two hours. About 30 programmers are expected toattend the meeting.

But NACP spokeswoman Torie Clarke said details about whatwill happen at the meeting are still being worked out. It's unclear if a vote will betaken right then and there about whether the CableACEs should go on.

One source said the attendees at the April gathering aremeeting strictly to craft a joint recommendation to the NACP about the future of theCableACEs, which would celebrate their 20th anniversary this year.

The meeting is being put together by DiscoveryCommunications Inc. chairman John Hendricks, who is chairman of the NACP and anNCTA board member. He couldn't be reached for comment last week.

The NACP and its board, at the urging of two cable-networkchiefs, are trying to decide whether the CableACEs have outlived their purpose. The NACPis an arm of the NCTA, and it runs the CableACEs.

Officials at some of the larger cable networks have arguedthat the medium is now winning Emmy Awards -- Home Box Office took home a truckload ofthem last year -- and it is getting recognition, so it doesn't need its own awardsand ceremony.

In contrast, a number of smaller, niche cable networks wantthe CableACEs to continue, since they don't realistically have chances to win Emmys.

The National Cable Television Center and Museumin Denver reached out to offer its assistance to the NACP regarding the CableACEs,according to Marlowe Froke, president of the Cable Center.

"We certainly want to be of help to the cableindustry," Froke said. But, he noted, "we [the Cable Center] are not in theposition of making specific offers or moving aggressively to do the awards."