Through The Wire: Nielsen Schmielsen: Bring Back Raw!


For some, the whale's hot breath doesn't stir theblood like Stone Cold Steve Austin -- and Ahab's no Vince McMahon. As we know, USANetwork's presentation of Moby Dick March 15 and 16 harpooned the competitionwith an 8.1 Nielsen rating. But there were quite a few viewers foaming over thepre-emption of WWF Raw, the Monday-night wrestling exhibition, as their e-mails toUSA illustrated. Several were incredulous: "I personally think the U.S.A. [sic]Network is pretty good, because you put a lot of good shows and movies, but MondayNight Raw is like a god to me!!! Last time you put on the dog shows and this time awhale?" Another: "Who in their right mind [or wrong mind] would watch MobyDick over wrestling?" Still others tried threats: "If Raw becomespre-empted anymore, I will no longer tune in to your channel and will convince myfriends and anyone who will listen to do the same thing." USA felt their pain and ranWWF Raw the following night."We're just delighted that all of ourprogramming has such a loyal following," said USA media-relations director JayneWallace-Cohen.

Ready for National Show tidbits yet? Well, here's oneanyway: Nostalgia Good TV plans to offer up some good vibrations in Atlanta, sponsoring aBeach Boys concert on the convention's opening night. This would be theBoys' first appearance since the death of co-founder Carl Wilson in February, andrumor has it that it may be one of the last for the aging surfer dudes.

Heads up to anyone headed to TCI's corporateheadquarters: Don't forget your photo ID. Security is pretty tight over atTCI's Englewood, Colo., ivory tower these days: A squawk box installed next tothe barred parking garage asks for specific visit information. Once inside, visitors haveto fill out a detailed pink form. Then comes the picture ID part. After that, visitors gettheir stick-on badge and wait for an escort to take them where they're going.Here's another tip: After parking, be sure to read and obey the signs that cautionagainst walking out of the parking garage via anything other than the pedestrian door.They're serious. An alarm does sound. And it's really, really loud.

Ironies abounded at the annual Cable Television PublicAffairs Association conference in San Diego last week. First and foremost was the weather,which remained cool and rainy for the duration, in contrast to the balmy, summerliketemperatures in the rest of the country. At the CTPAA's annual "silentauction," a telco exec -- Ameritech New Media's VP of public affairs, DonnaGarofano -- won an afternoon at an Orioles game with NCTA president Decker Anstrom.Finally, the cable crowd was sharing space with the Satellite Broadcasting andCommunications Association, which was holding its regional programmers'conference at the same hotel.

B.J. Vickers, executive assistant to Time WarnerCable's chief technical officer, Jim Chiddix -- and perhaps the most organized andquick-witted in the industry -- will leave the MSO to move to Panacea, Fla., this monthwith her journalist husband. Vickers, adored by those who regularly call Chiddix, will besorely missed, especially by her boss. When asked about her April 23 departure, Chiddixresponded with what sounded like a heavy sigh. "Some aptly refer to B.J. simply as'Jim's boss,'" Chiddix lamented. "I sure will miss her."

By Kent Gibbons, from bureau reports.