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The Morning Fix: VH1 wants redemption; Viacom's Beatles bet; Tennis Channel gets slammed; what will Howard Stern do?

August 27, 2009 |  7:15 am

After the coffee. Before deciding whether remaking "Heathers" into a TV show is such a hot idea.

Too much love? Viacom's VH1 says it is reassessing its lineup of relationship and dating-themed reality programming and its heavy reliance on the producer 51 Minds Entertainment. The move comes in the wake of a VH1 reality participant, Ryan Jenkins, apparently taking his own life after becoming the primary suspect in the grisly death of his ex-wife. VH1 President Tom Calderone told the Los Angles Times that he'd like the network's programming to have more of a redemptive quality.

Time Warner Cable's turn. Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable operator, has signed up several programmers to test its own online content viewing system, reports the Wall Street Journal. Like No. 1 cable operator Comcast's effort, Time Warner Cable will ask subscribers to verify that they are paying customers before being able to watch selected programming online. Among the programmers on board are Syfy, TNT and AMC.

Overhead smash. New York-based cable operator Cablevision took its battle with the Tennis Channel to a new level Wednesday, saying it would carry the service on a digital sports tier that costs about $6 a month. The move was done without consulting the Tennis Channel, which has been attacking Cablevision publicly for not carrying the service. The Tennis Channel, which told the New York Times that it may take legal action, wants to be on Cablevision's big New York systems, particularly with the U.S. Open about to start.

All you need is cash. Viacom is hoping that The Beatles: Rock Band will boost sales for the slumping Rock Band video game franchise. But there is some concern among analysts that this one will face a long and winding road, reports Bloomberg. Projections are that 1.7 million games will be sold by the end of this year, compared with more than 4 million for the latest version of Activision's Guitar Hero.

Where will the King of All Media rest his crown? Although Howard Stern's contract with satellite radio giant Sirius XM still has 15 months to go, speculation is already starting on whether he will renew. The Daily News' radio ace David Hinckley talks to industry watchers, and one thought is that Stern could take a risk and start his own Internet radio operation. The experts said that if anyone has the clout to create his own moneymaking platform, it's Stern. 

Greetings and salutations. Sony TV is looking to make a small-screen version of the 1989 black teen-angst comedy "Heathers," which put Winona Ryder and Christian Slater on the map, for Fox, says Variety. We have a feeling that Heather No. 1 would react to this news by suggesting an inappropriate act involving a chainsaw, but since we're a family site we'll just say "corn nuts."

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The latest executive shuffling at OWN, the Oprah Winfrey and Discovery-backed cable network, has some wondering whether the channel will launch on schedule and whether all this behind-the-scenes drama is a bad sign. Director Ang Lee on Woodstock.

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