It turned out to be unnecessary, but the southFlorida-based Home Shopping Network did everything that it could to assure that everythingfrom Capodimonte ceramics to collectibles would not end up gone with the wind. When itseemed that Hurricane Georges might hit the Florida Coast, talent and staff alike buggedout from Fort Lauderdale, probably making execs think twice about building a campus in adisaster-prone area that is only three feet above sea level. The nasty storm hit Alabamaand Mississippi instead, leaving HSN to trumpet that it had weathered the storm (ourbad pun, not theirs) without disruption to its third annual "GoldenOpportunities" jewelry sale. With people left homeless, the glee seems a littleinappropriate. The temporary relocation caused the cancellation of an on-air appearance byJohn Tesh, leading one wag in the L.A. Times to opine that any storm responsiblefor that can't be all bad.
Cablevision Systems, since acquiring the former TCI systemin Westchester County, N.Y., has revamped the program lineup that digital subscribers werereceiving there, dropping a number of networks to make way for some owned by itsRainbow Media unit. Effective Sept. 14, off the digital lineup were Ovation, BET onJazz, International Channel, Kaleidoscope, Encore Action and Encore True Stories, amongothers -- many of which TCI holds stakes in. They were replaced by Romance Classics andMuchMusic -- which Rainbow owns or has pieces of -- as well as Fox Sports World, DiscoveryCivilization, Speedvision, BBC Americas, The Box Pulse and The Box Classic. A Cablevisionspokeswoman said a number of the networks that were added, such as Fox Sports, were highlyrequested, and the changes have been well-received. She noted that when TCI launcheddigital, some of these newer channels weren't even available. The Westchester systemhas 1,500 digital subscribers.
Just in time for this year's holiday parties ...Sci-Fi Channel has teamed up with TVT Records to release a four-CD set featuring themesfrom some of the greatest science-fiction series and movie hits ever made. The compilationwill offer 200 vintage theme songs, including those from Star Trek, The TwilightZone, The Outer Limits, Batman, Halloween, Independence Day andJurassic Park. Sci-Fi execs said the deal -- the network's first foray into therecorded-music business -- is the first of many projected moves tailored to expand thenetwork's brand outside of cable. The network wants to venture into moremusic-related projects, as well as publishing, home-video and computer deals.
The National Association of Minorities in Communications isunder new management. Bresnan Communications programming and marketing vice president JoeLawson has been elected president of NAMIC, replacing immediate past president ClaytonBanks. Also, the organization named former BET Action Pay-Per-View exec Cathy Johnson asits first ever executive director.
Operators are still confident that Mike Tyson will fightDec. 5, in a mega pay-per-view event, despite yet another setback in the fighter'sbid to regain his boxing license. The Nevada Athletic Commission, which revokedTyson's license, postponed an Oct. 3 hearing on the matter aftercommission-mandated psychological tests performed on Tyson were submitted late. Thecommission will now meet either Oct. 10 or Oct. 17 to determine the fate of Tyson andoperators' PPV budgets for 1998.
By R. Thomas Umstead, from bureau reports.