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WESTERN SHOW NOTES

ANAHEIM – The New York Times failed to report on Wednesday that the Fox News Channel had bagged ABC News White House correspondent Brit Hume to be FNC’s chief Washington correspondent and managing editor for political coverage. And MSNBC prexy Roger Ailes charged that it’s no oversight. Ailes said he’s certain the Times omitted the story on purpose as part of what he perceives to be a flagrant anti-Fox agenda. The Times could not be reached.

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A group of cable executives representing various networks met Tuesday in Anaheim to discuss what should be done about the CableAce Awards, an annual ceremony honoring cable programmers and professionals that has increasingly become a joke in the industry. Sources said there has even been discussion of disbanding the CableAces altogether in light of a nomination and voting process that is, at best, sorely lacking. But at the present, the talk is of figuring out a way to fine-tune the awards process rather than dump it.

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Animal Planet, the new Discovery Networks Inc. channel that is said to be offering cable systems as much as $4 per subscriber for carriage, Tuesday night unveiled a slate of original programming that includes yet another version of “Lassie” that will debut with a new Lassie and Timmy on March 2. The plan is for 26 new “Lassie” half-hours to run during 1997.

The channel is also premiering “Animal Planet Zoo Venture,” Animal Planet’s first original production and a gameshow that casts regular kids in a series of games and contests at the San Diego Zoo.

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Odd sights spotted on the convention floor included Weird Al Yankovic playing the accordion in the booth for the Box, a robot trying to talk attendees into taking a chance on the Sega Channel, cable executives having their pictures taken alongside a minx and an alligator in the Animal Planet zone and women dressed up as immigrant peasants handing passersby mock passports and asking, “Would you like to board the boat for Ellis Island?” That last one was designed to hype the History Channel’s January “Ellis Island” docu.

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