FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is prepared to junk federal rules that limit companies from owning TV and radio stations in the same market — and go half way in doing the same for TV stations and newspapers. He’s circulating a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would wipe out the TV-newspaper restriction in the 20 largest markets, trade magazine Broadcasting and Cable reports citing “a person familiar with the document.” But it would keep a test that could block a combo in smaller markets if it would result in less local news, less diversity of voices, or too much concentration of economic power. Genachowski’s proposal sounds a lot like the standard that former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, pushed through in 2008. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned those rules this past July, saying that Martin hadn’t given the public enough time to weigh in on them. Public interest advocates who want to preserve cross-ownership restrictions applauded the court decision. Newspaper and broadcast owners say that mergers are needed to preserve local newsrooms as their companies compete against a massive number of national news competitors on cable TV and the Internet. As part of the rulemaking process, the FCC will ask whether stations skirt the ownership limits
As you know, Deadline’s TV Editor Nellie Andreeva is still traveling… Broadcasting & Cable is reporting that TBS’ Lopez Tonight is shaking up its producing ranks. “Leaving the show are executive producers Mike Gibbons and Jim Paratore, and sources say that coming in as executive producer will be Robert Morton… Gibbons’ option for a second year with the show was not picked up by the show.” Morton is the longtime producer and Letterman alum who has worked on several shows, including those starring Wayne Brady, Carlos Mencia and David Alan Grier. Paratore has launched several shows including TMZ and Bonnie Hunt and then, once they are up and running, moves on to new projects. Gibbons credits include creator and executive producer of Comedy Central’s Tosh.O, and executive producer of Talk Show With Spike Feresten on Fox as well as The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn and The Showbiz Show With David Spade. The shuffle comes as Lopez Tonight moves back one hour to make way for the launch of Conan O’Brien’s new TBS show at 11 PM.
Broadcasting & Cable just reported that the FCC says Comcast/NBCU returned incomplete answers and did not follow the directions in responding to a May FCC request for a bunch of information. Wanted was everything from organizational structure and channel lineups to copies of all programming agreements and detailed discussions of all deliberations in making content available online. “The commission sent letters to the two Thursday, informing them that the FCC would put the brakes on vetting the merger until such time as they had complied fully,” the trade says. This is Day 50 of the FCC’s 180-day vetting — and the 2nd time that the process was stopped. Comments — positive, negative, inbetween — were due Monday.
Grossman New Broadcasting & Cable Editor; Robichaux To Multichannel News; Steinert-Threlkeld Lost Out To Advertorial
Reed Business may be up for sale, but life goes on at the brands produced by the media giant. Ben Grossman has been named editor of Broadcasting & Cable, overseeing both digital and print. The announcement was made today by Reed Television & Publishing Group president Jeff DeBalko and Television Group publisher Larry Dunn, who also announced that Mark Robichaux will assume the same position with Multichannel News. Grossman was formerly Los Angeles Bureau Chief for B&C. Robichaux led B&C since August, when he was promoted from executive editor. He was a 13-year veteran of the Wall Street Journal.
The company also announced that editorial director Tom Steinert-Threlkeld who was overseeing both Reed Television Group publications is now no longer with the organization. He was at the epicenter of a Black Monday shakeup with layoffs at both publications last August. An insider tells me, “The reason they pushed ‘TST’ out is that he had really fought the sales guy Larry Dunn about giving it all up to advertisers and trying to pass off editorial that was really advertorial. TST is an old school principled guy and said, “You can’t do this.’ ” Also, the moves reduce payroll even further. Both outlets are major trades in the TV business, although their differentiation has long been a mystery to the showbiz …