'10 Items’ Added to TBS’s Late-Night Cart
Atlanta — TBS will put the first brick in place for its late-night block of originals on Nov. 27 at 11 p.m. with the debut of loosely scripted comedy series 10 Items or Less.
Airing Mondays in that time slot, the series, which stars John Lehr as a less-than-successful businessman from New York who moves back home to take over the family supermarket after the death of his father, follows Family Guy.
TBS, which hopes over time to construct an 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. block of originals, has also finished shooting a pilot for The Late Night Buffet With Augie and Del, an irreverent talk show from The Jim Henson Co. featuring puppets interacting with live guests.
Other contenders for TBS’s late-night block include: a sketch-comedy project from Mad TV’s Frank Caliendo, based on his impersonations; Off the Road With Andrew Daly, in which the sketch comedian travels the country; What News?, about a local newscast; and a new sketch-comedy series from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart associate producer and Man Bites Dog executive producer Jenny Hunter.
Yahoo! TV Will Preview Showtime’s New Offerings
New York — Showtime’s October free network preview isn’t just reserved for cable. The premium service will give Yahoo! TV select uncut episodes from several of its series including Weeds, Dexter, Sleeper Cell and The L Word, according to Showtime officials.
The online preview, which will run from Oct. 6 through Oct, 13 will also feature a first look at Showtime’s upcoming original series, The Tudors, scheduled to debut in 2007. Showtime’s cable-based free preview runs Oct. 6 to Oct. 8.
Mediacom Filing Signals Retrans Spat With Sinclair
Middletown, N.Y. — Mediacom Communications Corp. hinted in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it could be gearing up for a retransmission-consent fight with broadcast-station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group.
In the Sept. 28 filing, Mediacom said that systems that serve about half of its 1.4 million subscribers carry local stations owned or operated by Sinclair. Mediacom said in the filing that in the process of negotiations for a longer retransmission-consent agreement with Sinclair, the broadcaster is “seeking compensation that we believe to be in excess of what is appropriate.”
Though Mediacom did not reveal the amount, it said that it would not be material to its operational results or financial condition.
Mediacom added that Sinclair has threatened to give it notice, on or before Oct. 15, to terminate retransmission of all of its stations effective Dec. 1.
Mediacom said in the filing that while it has “narrowed the gap” with Sinclair during subsequent negotiations, no agreement has been reached.
NBA TV Off to Europe For Eight Game Telecasts
New York — NBA TV will televise eight games from the league’s most extensive trek to Europe to date.
NBA Europe Live presented by EA Sports will tip off on Oct. 5 with the Philadelphia 76ers squaring off against FC Barcelona (no, Ronaldinho hasn’t changed sports) in that Spanish city at 3 p.m. (ET), followed by the San Antonio Spurs taking on Adecco Asvel Lyon in Lyon, France at 9 p.m. That contest will be Webcast live at 3 p.m.
Other participating teams on the tour that concludes Oct. 11: the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers, CSKA Moscow, Roma and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
In addition to the eight games, NBA TV will also provide coverage of team training camps and events from Barcelona, Cologne, Germany, Moscow and Paris.
On the continent, all 10 NBA Europe Live contests will air in primetime via 33 telecasters reaching 45 European nations.
U.S. Judge Throws Out Texas Cable-Franchising Challenge
Austin — A federal judge in Texas Thursday tossed out the cable industry’s suit aimed at overturning the state’s cable-franchising law that went into effect last September.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel dismissed the case by the Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association, holding that it was too early to determine whether the economic impact of the law could support the TCTA’s claims of unconstitutionality.
“Until TCTA can establish the [law’s] harmful impact on its incumbent cable providers, TCTA’s claims are not ripe for the court’s consideration,” Yeakel said in an eight-page opinion.
The TCTA alleged that the law, because it treated incumbents differently from new entrants seeking franchises, violated federal cable law and several provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
“We believe it is ironic that telephone companies urged dismissal on this basis,” TCTA spokeswoman Kirsten Voinis said in a statement. “More than a year ago, telephone monopolies said it was urgent that SB 5 be passed so they could more easily compete for Texans’ video business. We have yet to see a significant venture into the market by telephone companies.”
Tyson Returns to Pay Ring
New York — Mike Tyson will once again grace, or disgrace, the pay-per-view boxing ring — but it won’t be to fight for a heavyweight championship belt.
Instead, Tyson will fight an Oct. 20 pay-per-view exhibition against former sparring partner Corey “T-Rex” Sanders, in an event that also features several sanctioned boxing matches.
The event, distributed by event provider Integrated Sports, will retail at $29.95. In Demand will offer the fight to its affiliated systems, said a spokesperson for the PPV company.