WABC-TV New York Launches Retrans Offensive Against Cablevision

As we first reported back in December, WABC-TV, a member of the Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) had begun preparing for a standoff with Cablevision in New York as its retransmission contract comes up for negotiations by registering for a series of domain names which had inadvertently put its agenda on public display for a couple of hours until we brought to the public’s attention.

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Report: Kate Gosselin to Join Cast of ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Television columnist Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post reports that the former co-star of TLC’s Jon and Kate + Eight-turned occasional The View co-host stand-in will be announced as one of the new cast members of the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars when ABC reveals the list throughout the season finale of The Bachelor on Monday night.

In related news, ABC has announced that on March 1, Jimmy Kimmel will interview one of the new celebrities set to compete in this season’s competition as well as the new Bachelorette.

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ESPN Names ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as 3D Development Center

Recognizing the need for a real-world testing ground to continue the development of ESPN 3D, ESPN has designated the ESPN Innovation Lab at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex located at the Walt Disney World resort as the hub for developing 3D technology.  ESPN will invite various technology companies to utilize the site for emerging technology enhancements focused on 3D television.  In addition to the resources at the Innovation Lab, ESPN will bring online a new production center that can be used for producing live sporting events for multiple ESPN platforms.

The ESPN Innovation Lab at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World. © ESPN

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Hilary Duff Stars in ABC Family Original Movie ‘Beauty & the Briefcase’ April 18

They say a good man is hard to find, but one woman will make it her career goal to find love in the workplace in ABC Family’s new original movie, “Beauty & the Briefcase” (fka. “The Business of Falling in Love”), premiering Sunday, April 18th (8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT). The film stars Hilary Duff (“Gossip Girl”), Matt Dallas (“Kyle XY”), Michael McMillian (“True Blood”), Chris Carmack (“The O.C.”) and Jaime Pressly (“My Name Is Earl”).

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Celebrity Couple Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor Guest Star on ‘Phineas and Ferb’ March 8

Emmy Award-winning Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor guest star in an action-packed episode of TV’s #1 animated series for kids and tweens, “Phineas and Ferb,” premiering MONDAY, MARCH 8 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney XD. It will also be presented Friday, March 12 (9:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. The real-life husband and wife are the parents of “Phineas and Ferb” fans.

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Study: Cable Operators Rank ESPN, ESPN2 and Disney Channel as Most Valuable Networks

In Beta Research Corp.’s 2009 Cable Operator Study, ESPN, ESPN2 and Disney Channel again ranked first, second and third in the key category of average perceived value.  This is the 10th consecutive year that cable operators have ranked ESPN the most valuable network on their cable system.  ESPN2 and the Disney Channel have held the second and third most valuable spots for five consecutive years.

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Production Started on Second Season of ‘JONAS’ with Additional Cast Members

Production has begun in and around Los Angeles on the second season of the Teen Choice Award-winning comedy series, “JONAS,” starring global sensations Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas and popular actresses Chelsea Staub and Nicole Anderson. The new season finds the Lucas brothers and friends Stella and Macy spending a summer in Hollywood.

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New JoBros Short Form Series ‘Living the Dream 2′ to Premiere on Disney Channel March 21

The new installment of the music-driven reality series “Jonas Brothers: Living The Dream 2,” which gives viewers unprecedented access to worldwide superstars Jonas Brothers’ lives on stage and off, will premiere SUNDAY, MARCH 21 (8:55 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. The 11-episode short form series offers a revealing look at Platinum selling rock stars Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas as they embark on a 16-city European leg of “Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009.”

“Jonas Brothers: Living The Dream 2? follows Kevin, Joe and Nick on the road during their headline tour across Europe, with stops in France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and England.

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Debby Ryan to Star in New Disney Channel Original Movie, ‘Sixteen Wishes’

Debby Ryan of Disney Channel’s The Suite Life on Deck will co-star with Kyle XY’s Jean-Luc Bilodeau in a new Disney Channel original movie set to premiere during summer 2010.

Ryan plays Abby Jensen, who has been planning her 16th birthday for the longest time. She has a secret wish list taped to her closet door, and on her big day a box of Sweet Sixteen Birthday Candles arrives, each of which corresponds to a wish on her list. As her wishes come true, her day gets better and better until she makes a wish that changes everything.

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ABC News to Ask Hundreds to Resign; May Cut Workforce by About 20%

Weak advertising is forcing ABC News to restructure, as per a report by the LA Times, resulting in a workforce reduction of 20%, or approximately three hundred employees.

The process is expected to begin tomorrow morning in which ABC News will seek volunteers to accept a buyout and leave the organization followed by likely layoffs if not enough volunteer. ABC News employs 1,4000 staffers in all.

Update #1: AOL’s Daily Finance has reprinted today’s memo from ABC President David Westin which you can view here.

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