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Beatrice Arthur, 86, star of two iconic television series, died peacefully Saturday at home. Beatrice won Emmy Awards for her role in the 1970s television series Maude and also for her role as Dorothy in the 1980s series The Golden Girls. (Cynopsis 4/27)

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With an average prime-time delivery of 2.26 million in the first quarter, Fox News Channel with relative ease locked up the No. 2 spot among ad-supported cable networks. But now, the right-leaning news outlet is even looking to oust general-interest network USA as the top cable programmer. Mediaweek (4/27)

President Obama’s communications handlers acknowledge that today’s evolving media landscape works to their advantage. Both network television and newspapers are “bleeding” and are “less powerful.” And Obama is “more popular” than all of the media “combined.” (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/27/new-media-no-match-for-popular-president 4/27)

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The major television networks are said to be unhappy with President Obama’s frequent primetime speeches, which are costing them some $10 million per hour in lost advertising revenue. Their revenue models didn’t “anticipate monthly State of the Unions.” (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.nypost.com/seven/04252009/business/an_obama_overload_166061.htm 4/25)

NBC says Jay Leno is its top marketing focus for 2009. “Leno is the single most important marketing priority of the year,” according to marketing head Adam Stotsky. The network is considering positioning the new primetime Leno show as a companion to its news programming. (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/209983-NBC_Leno_Top_Marketing_Priority.php 4/27)

Fox is facing an uncomfortable future, as Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell — the two biggest stars on its No. 1-rated show “American Idol” — openly discuss leaving, which could send viewership plummeting in future seasons. Millions of dollars in advertising revenue could be at risk. (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE53M0NB20090425 4/24)

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CNN, whose strategy is to steer the middle course in its news coverage, is ranked fourth among the cable news channels. Even CNN’s own staffers say its news formula may be preventing the network from competing effectively. (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/business/media/27cnn.html?_r=1 4/27)

CNN uses less opinion than its competitors. Lou Dobbs is an exception.

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MTV on Tuesday is expected to announce a new reality show called “The Stylist,” an occupational-competition series about fashion and accessory designers who will vie for a major contract. According to published reports, the show is a bit of a departure for MTV because its format will be reminiscent of series on Bravo, the CW and TLC. The Hollywood Reporter (4/26)

Two financial earnings reports to be released this week — Time Warner on Wednesday and Viacom on Thursday — are expected to provide the first detailed indication of how the cable industry fared financially in the first quarter of the year. Time Warner owns cable networks such as TNT, TBS and CNN, and Viacom’s channels include Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. The Wall Street Journal (4/26)

Analysts are blaming Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman for everything from MTV’s sagging ratings to the 44% fall in the company’s share price since he started. Some investors say they hope that “someday a CEO will come along” who can get more out of the company’s assets. (Iwantmedia 4/27, https://home.crainsnewyork.com/clickshare/authenticateUserSubscription.do?CSProduct=newyorkbusiness-web&CSAuthReq=1240855640:373352450840243&CSTargetURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.crainsnewyork.com%2Fapps%2Fpbcs.dll%2Fsection%3Ftemplate%3Dlogin_response 4/27)

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