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As federal regulators expanded their probe into charges that Fox Broadcasting's TV stations are "illegally controlled," a gag order was placed on those involved in the case. The FCC issued a "formal gag order" to Fox execs and their attorneys as well as to the NAACP New York Chapter. The order "highlights both the high- profile nature of the dispute and the political stakes for the FCC" (Paul Farhi, WASHINGTON POST, 12/8). The NAACP challenged Fox's New York license, "arguing Fox is a foreign-owned company" in violation of FCC policy (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 12/8). NBC launched a similar challenge last week. STOCK WATCH: News Corp.'s shares fell to a two-year low amid "uncertainty" over NBC's challenge (AP, 12/8).
USA TODAY will expand its on-line computer services and start by "converting the paper's existing on-line service, the Sports Center." USA TODAY will move to a Microsoft Windows format and continue to provide "up-to-date statistics for fantasy league players and other sports enthusiasts" (USA TODAY, 12/8)....Time Warner will unveil its long-delayed interactive television network next week in Orlando, FL (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/7)....The Clippers have their games broadcast in Mandarin Chinese. They join nine other NBA teams that offer non-English broadcasts (Mike Hiestand, USA TODAY, 12/8)....Fox is changing its Sunday night schedule. Despite a strong lead-in from the NFL, ratings are lower than expected (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/8).