Average household ratings for basic cable rose 10.6% to 29.2 from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6, according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis. Broadcast TV ratings fell 18.6% to 28.6 for the same period.
The landmark merger that created AOL Time Warner two years ago was seen then as a triumph of new media over old. But with the popping of the dot-com bubble, Time Warner's diversified media holdings and Old Economy business savvy may set the tone for the future of the media conglomerate, key analysts say.
NBC's decision to sell repeats of Carson Daly's late-night talk show "Last Call" to E! Entertainment Television caused a conflict between the two sides, leaving the contract unsigned. NBC pre-empted the show's premiere Jan. 7, much to Daly's surprise.
Analysts say No. 6 operator Adelphia's comparatively low valuation and solid balance sheet could make it a prime target for acquisition by a larger cable company. ABN AMRO analyst John Martin says big cable players also are attracted to Adelphia's clustered cable systems.
Mel Gibson's production company, Icon, has agreed on a deal with HBO to produce a 10-part miniseries on Alexander the Great. The project, based on Mary Renault's novels "Fire From Heaven" and "The Persian Boy," is expected to cost about $120 million and is tentatively scheduled to air in 2004.