Through The Wire: And Now, for That DOCSIS UPDATE!!!


Who slept through last Monday's CTO call? Sources tell TheWire that one senior cable engineer -- identity unknown -- was not quite awakefor CableLabs' weekly teleconference with its member-company chieftechnical officers. The call apparently happens every Monday at 8 a.m. (EST). That's 6a.m. in Denver and 5 a.m. on the left coast, if you do the math. "I don't know who itwas, honestly, but somebody was snoring so loud, on inhale and exhale, that itdisrupted the conversation several times," said one laughing participant."Engineers being engineers -- and, therefore, not dictated by protocol -- nobody went togreat lengths to expose the sleeper. "But there were great bursts of conversationafter the first snore, so that everybody knew who wasn't sleeping," the sourcesaid.

The Television Critics Association summertour brings the sublime and the ridiculous together in Pasadena. At the gathering earlierthis month, TV writers got to hear actor Gary Busey, now "a full-bloodedChristian," outline his ups and downs with cocaine, motorcycle crashes, sinus cancerand 12-step programs during E!'ssession. We'd say that Busey, the subject of an upcoming E! True Hollywood Story,hit rock bottom when he snorted coke off the side of his dog. But even the jaws of themost jaded critics droppedwhen one of their number, during Showtime's session onthe controversial Lolita, complained to director Adrian Lyne, "This is theworse film adaptation of a great novel I have ever seen ... You ought to show some sexif you're going to tell a sex story." Just what we need -- graphic depictions ofpedophilia.

Speaking of sex selling: What's HBO's top-rated show this year to date? From the Earth tothe Moon? The Larry Sanders Show? Well, the special Real Sex 19ranks No. 1, with a 14.0 rating, while critics' darling Sanders averaged a measly5.2. At the TCA tour, a writer asked HBO chief Jeff Bewkes if he was disheartened that Sex,uh, outperformed Sanders. "Yeah," Bewkes said, "but what can you do?... From the Earth to the Moon did not have a lot of scantily clad people in it. Mostly,they were dressed up in those moon suits."

The Wire caught up with former Showtime Event Television executiveVP MacAdory Lipscomb last week by phone. It seems that he's been involved in someentrepreneurial media efforts for the past several months, but he has, as he says, his"hat back in the ring," looking for his next gig. What caught our ear was whathe was up to before his latest project. Mac headed up marketing, distribution andprogramming for Worldspace Corp., an international satellite-delivered radio venture thatpartly owns American Mobile Radio Corp. -- a U.S. version that is now runby former Request Television president Hugh Panero. Lipscomb said he'sspoken to Panero, and he told Panero that he had a great job. "Within a short periodof time, Hugh could literally be the top radio programmer in the United States,"he said, adding that he felt that it was no coincidence that the radio start-ups turned topay-per-view marketing veterans for key jobs.

By Kent Gibbons, from bureau reports.