Through The Wire: Anyone Arrive by Sailboat or Race Car?


Oh, to be a fly on the martini glass:BrendanClouston, the former TCI president who resigned lastSeptember with a tidy going-away packet, hosted his own going-away party July 31. Heinvited all of his former direct reports for an evening of libations and story-swappingabout those halcyon days at Terrace Tower II. Therefore, the invite list included thedozen-plus bigwigs who were summarily lopped out of TCI's executive quarters bycurrent TCI president Leo J. Hindery Jr. when he took control last year, as well ascurrent TCI execs who evaded the ax. Clouston threw the fete to celebrate hisfamily's planned move from posh Cherry Hills to London this week. It seems thatthey've purchased a flat two blocks from Buckingham Palace and a "fixer-uppercastle in the country," one in-the-know ex-TCI-er reports. No word on Clouston'scareer intentions on the far side of the pond. "He's still under a noncompete,so far as I know," another, more tight-lipped attendee said.

Last Tuesday afternoon -- the day before a big two-day tripto Marcus Cable's headquarters in Dallas -- Charter Communications CEO Jerry Kent suffered a communications breakdown: A lightningstrike at an electrical transformer knocked out the phones at Charter in St. Louis fromabout 1:30 on. According to a spokeswoman, Kent recovered by borrowingsubordinates' cell phones, switching one for another when the batteries drained.He went through "a handful," she said. We hope that they were the digitallyencrypted kind -- we'd hate to see any of Paul Allen's future acquisition plansleaked.

Taking a page out of the synergy handbook, Fox Family Channel invested in a high-profile launch event, sponsoring a Los AngelesDodgers baseball game. Any tyke under 14 who passed through the turnstiles got a beachtowel emblazoned with cartoon characters that are featured on the newly configuredchannel, while three planes buzzed overhead touting the new Mr. Bill series.Such an investment usually entitles corporate brass to an introduction on the field, butCEO Rich Cronin demurred, saying, "I think that they'd rather seecelebrities." So the network came up with one of the cooler premiums: Two invitedguests got to go on the field with former NBA star John Salley (who hosts a show on thechannel) to throw out the ceremonial first ball.

It's only natural these days for comedians to makeMonica Lewinsky cracks, and Jon Stewart is no exception. During Comedy Central's press conference last weekto announce that Stewart was taking over as host of The Daily Show, a reporterstarted to ask the young comic, "Another unresolved question is ..." whenStewart abruptly interrupted, "No, it's not my semen." A few minuteslater, Stewart complimented Comedy Central chief Doug Herzog, who was also takingquestions, for sounding "very impressive -- presidential." Quipped Herzog,"It's not my semen, either."

The Wire sends best wishes for a speedy recovery toDavid Beddow. The day after he was promoted to TCI executive vice president and CEO of theNational Digital Television Center last week, he landed himself in the hospital for aquick angioplasty. Beddow, an avowed hard worker of the very long hours variety, expectsto be back on his feet this week.

By Kent Gibbons, frombureau reports.