Astros Owner Jim Crane said that "'something doesn't add up' in the more than year-long effort to craft a profitable business plan" for CSN Houston, which is the subject of a bankruptcy court hearing today "involving the network's three partners -- the Astros, Rockets and Comcast/NBC." In Houston, David Barron writes getting distribution deals with larger carriers "remains a problem that perplexes Crane." He said, "It continues to puzzle me why this market can't get a deal done when you look at things that happened in Los Angeles and some of the press on Philadelphia signing a $180 million rights deal with Comcast, and we can't get a deal done in the fifties here and make the network viable." He added, "Something just doesn't add up, and eventually that will come out in the wash. We continue to believe the rights fee (is fair) and that this market is a good market and we should be paid fairly and we should get the games on TV and everyone should be happy. We're working on it" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/21).
BUMPING UP: Time Warner CFO John Martin today said that for the company's TV networks unit, '12 programming costs "were up only" 2%, and they will be up 2-5% in '13, "both at the low end or below management's goal of mid to high single digit percentage growth." Martin said, "Next year we will be at the higher end." The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Georg Szalai notes Martin "cited the first year of a new Major League Baseball contract and an acceleration of amortization of NCAA costs" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 11/21).
WISE MOVE: VARIETY reports Fox has partnered with non-profit Women in Sports & Events "in an effort to open doors for women in the world of sports production and broadcasting." Fox' work with WISE "stems from its Fox Audience Strategy unit, which is focused on increasing gender and ethnic diversity at all levels of parent company 21st Century Fox" (VARIETY.com, 11/21).