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FCC cracks down on broadcasters. Spec script market warms up.

Television IndustryTelevisionEntertainmentFederal Communications CommissionSatellite and Cable ServiceViacom Inc.

After the coffee. Before thinking of a good April Fools' Day joke.

The Skinny: I don't want to hear any spoilers about the series finale of "How I Met Your Mother." Although I haven't watched the show in maybe five years I've decided to catch up, so be considerate! Today's roundup includes some tough new FCC rules for local broadcasters. Also, the spec-script market heats up and "How I Met Your Mother" says goodbye.

Daily Dose: Viacom, owner of cable channels MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, is still negotiating a new deal with National Cable Television Cooperative, which represents small cable operators. Although the contract was up at midnight, it has been extended as talks continue. However, another pay-TV distributor, Cable One, has dropped Viacom's networks because it didn't want to pay big increases to keep the channels.

New rules. The Federal Communications Commission came down hard on broadcasters Monday. First, the commission issued new rules prohibiting two competing local stations from teaming up to negotiate distribution deals with cable and satellite operators. The FCC also issued new standards for operating partnerships between local stations that will likely bring that practice to an end. If that wasn't enough, the regulatory agency punted on gutting the almost 40-year-old rule that prohibits a broadcaster from owning a newspaper in the same market. More on the new FCC regulations from the Los Angeles Times, Broadcasting & Cable and The Hill.

Heating up. Although it will probably never recapture its glory days of the 1990s, the market for movie spec scripts, which are scripts that are unsolicited, is heating up for a few lucky folks. The number of spec scripts sold in 2013 was 182, a big jump from the 67 that were sold in 2009. However, the million-dollar deals are few and far between. The Los Angeles Times takes the pulse of the spec market. 

All eyes on WWE. Earlier this year, the WWE launched a new network delivered to its fans via the Internet at a cost of $10 a month. Next week, the WWE will release the number of subscribers it has landed and if it is a big, the industry will take notice. Variety takes a look at WWE's over-the-top strategy and its potential implications.

Tough life. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Josh Elliott was being offered more to stay at "Good Morning America" than he took to jump to NBC, where he will start out working on its sports coverage. His contract at NBC also includes a production deal and other perks, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say overall Elliott's camp felt there was greater value at NBC. Either that or a big bluff didn't pay off.

Farewell. The long-running CBS comedy "How I Met Your Mother" ended last night. Although it never got the publicity of other hit sitcoms such as "Modern Family" and "The Big Bang Theory," it delivered steady ratings and became a cash cow for 20th Century Fox Television, which made the show. I confess I was not a watcher, but apparently the sitcom was risk-taking in its production style. Deadline Hollywood looks at the legacy of "How I Met Your Mother."

Don't fall for this. It's April 1, which means some companies and even a few cities are going to try to their hand at April Fools' Day jokes. Frankly, this always seems like a better idea on paper, but if a company can generate some extra publicity with a gag, they figure it's worth it. The New York Times looks at some of the media and marketing jokes to be on the lookout for today.

Inside the Los Angles Times: Mike Judge, the creative force behind "Office Space" and "Beavis & Butt-head," takes aim at Silicon Valley with his new HBO sitcom.

Follow me on Twitter and you'll get rich! April Fools! @JBFlint.

 

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