Company Town

Times Staff and Wire Services

Television: E.W. Scripps Co. said it is devising a long-term plan for its cable television business that could include forming joint ventures, adding to its systems or selling all or part of them. Scripps said it has hired Merrill Lynch & Co. as its investment adviser to help develop the strategy. Larger cable system operators such as Tele-Communications Inc. and Time Warner Inc. have been buying smaller systems near their current cable territories so they can be more efficient in offering sophisticated services such as telephone connections, movies on demand and interactive shopping. Cincinnati-based Scripps is the nation's 20th-largest cable operator, with 749,000 basic subscribers in Sacramento, Denver, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Florida. Its cable TV revenue totaled $255 million in 1994.

* Audio Books: Reader's Digest signed a deal for the direct marketing rights to audio books published by Beverly Hills-based Dove Audio, publisher of the controversial audio book on the late Nicole Brown Simpson written by her friend Faye Resnick. Terms were not disclosed. Under the deal, Dove will be allowed to create new titles using the Reader's Digest name. Dove is owned by entertainment executive Michael Viner and his wife, actress Deborah Raffin.

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