Through The Wire: Sub Looking for the Big Amnesty

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If only every cable pirate would find Jesus ... a formersubscriber to TCI's Manhattan, Kan., system apparently felt so badly about tappinginto a neighbor's coaxial drop to receive free cable service that the person (whosegender was not identified) hand-wrote a three-page apology to TCI and enclosed $300 incash. Citing a need to "live my life for the right reasons" and to getstraight with God and TCI, the note explained that the theft occurred while the formerpirate was a sophomore at Kansas State University. "I apologize and ask forgivenessfor my actions," the letter said. "I hope that you may use this money in theoperations of your company or donate it to your favorite charity."

Can't cable ever catch a break? A few weeks ago, TheNew York Times showered praise on high-speed cable modems in the paper's new"Circuits" section. Then came the letters. Under the headline, "CableModems' Other Side," a reader from Westport, Conn., said that while he liked thespeed, "the problem is that cable companies still run cable modems." He thenproceeded to recount his experience with the cable technician who came to hook up hiscomputer -- and promptly locked his keys in his van.

If you turn on ABC on Tuesday nights this fall and see aprimetime sitcom that looks something like ESPN's SportsCenter set, it'snot a coincidence. Sports Night, which is about two best friends who co-host anightly cable-sports show, is indirectly based on ESPN's signature sports-newsshow. Writers from the sitcom actually spent several days at ESPN's SportsCenterstudios, observing the day-to-day activities of the anchors, cameramen and other personnelthat make up the show. No word yet if the writer borrowed any of SportsCenter anchorChris Berman's player nicknames

Fox Sports New York could be the recipient of more New YorkMets baseball games next year with the expansion of upstart broadcast network UPN to afive-day, weekday-primetime schedule. WWOR-TV, which will air 50 Mets games this year,will have to make room for UPN's expanded programming lineup, which could forcesome of those Mets games onto cable and FSNY. With WWOR's Mets contract up afterthis season, and with FSNY already carrying 100 games, it's not too hard to imaginethat Amazin' Mets games may soon only be seen via Cablevision Systems Corp.'sFSNY service.

Music Choice found out what it's like to be one ofthose big newsmagazines recently when it had to tear up and re-edit the June cover storyof its consumer magazine, mike,at the last minute. The magazine was justhours from going to press when the company learned that its cover boy, Frank Sinatra, diedMay 14. The cover story was a reminiscence about Ol' Blue Eyes' last publicconcert, and it would have been quite an embarrassment if the monthly mag had hit cablehomes at the end of May with no obituary mention. Music Choice officials scrambled torevise the publication, and they managed to make it to the press on time.


By R. Thomas Umstead, from bureau reports.

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