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Through The Wire: @Home Exec Plays Rough

8/23/1998 8:00 PM Eastern

Yes, that was Tom Jermoluk playing golf with Tiger Woodsat the Sprint International Pro Am tournament in Castle Pines, Colo., last Wednesday. Andyes, it was that same @Home CEO whoteed off at the 209-yard 16th hole, sliced the ball sharply to the right and elicitedshouts of "Fore!" from the Woods-enamored crowds. The Wire's on-the-scenewitness said Jermoluk handled the biff with aplomb, watching the rest of the fivesome puttin while drawing casually on a long cigar. "He's an avid golfer, but he'sbeen working so much that it's hurting his handicap," one of Jermoluk'scompany caddies said.


A bit of a spat has popped up between computer-networkupstart ZDTV and mighty Discovery Online. It seems that thesmaller company (ZDTV anticipates reaching 8 million cable homes at the end of the thirdquarter) sent an advertising proposal to Discovery Networks U.S. (approximately 73 millionhomes). ZDTV advertises on a variety of Web sites, and it anticipated no problems gettingon Discovery's Web version. Wrong: Discovery rejected the package. Company officialsperceived the start-up as a competitor, ZDTV spokeswoman Peggy Keegan said. "We'reflattered by the compliment," Keegan added sarcastically. Discovery Online seesit a bit differently, of course: The Web page accepts little advertising on TVprogramming. Further, it accepts no ads with a call to action, such as the date and timeof a competitor's show, a spokeswoman explained. Next thing you know, they'll beslapping each other silly with computer mice.


Networks have different ways of determining when a servicehas made a dent in the collective viewing psyche, and officials of Animal Planetclearly believe that their network is there. One of its shows was recently the subject ofa question in the "Personality Parade" feature in the front of Sunday-magazinesupplement Parade. "Someone wrote in asking about those 'hunky doctorson Emergency Vets,' and whether they were married. That's when weknew that we had made it," joked Lynn McReynolds, vice president of communications atDiscovery Networks U.S.


Don't start plugging in numbers yet for a pay-per-viewWoodstock 30th-anniversary concert from hallowed Yasgur's Farm in Bethel, N.Y.For one thing, the site owner -- former Cablevision Industries chairmanAlan Gerry's Gerry Foundation -- hasn't decided how to commemorate the occasionnext August, said Michael DiTullo, vice president of business and community developmentfor the Liberty, N.Y.-based foundation. For another, Gerry, who doesn't own thetrademark, is moving beyond the Woodstock name. (The original concert was supposed to bein Woodstock, N.Y.) Over the weekend of Aug. 14-16, Gerry threw a concert at the sitefeaturing Woodstock performers like Melanie and Pete Townshend on the first two days, andnewcomers Goo Goo Dolls and Third Eye Blind on Sunday. "It wasn't a Woodstockreunion," DiTullo said. "It was 'back to The Garden.' We'rerepositioning and rebranding the site -- it's going to be known as 'TheGarden.'" Thanks to some ticket discounting and the strength of the newer bands,the three-day fest drew about 70,000 people, proving that "the site still has juice,if you will," DiTullo said. They didn't close the New York State Thruway,though, man.


Deborah Lathen, installed a few monthsback as chief of the FCC's Cable Services Bureau, is starting tomake some changes. With big policy debates like digital must-carry only beginning to heatup, Lathen has had time to think about personnel. In her first move -- which the FCC, forsome reason, declined to announce -- Lathen unseated Gary Laden as chief of theconsumer-protection and competition division and named him as a special assistant,portfolio unknown. Laden's vacant post will be held down on an acting basis byDeborah Klein, who has been serving as the bureau's point person on program-accessdisputes, along with Steve Broechaert.


By R. Thomas Umstead, from bureau reports.

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