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While this column's beat is money, like so many people from the biz side of showbiz, I have a barely concealed hankering for the creative domain. So, with my readers' indulgence, I'd like to pitch a surefire movie idea.
You want stow elements? We've got billions of dollars at stake, one or two villains, a possible hero, numerous members of the undeserving rich, a government agency hovering in the background and a MacGuffin: control of possibly the most important part of the television screen in virtually every American home.
This is a stow, like so many fin de millennium tales, with -- so far-- only winners and no losers. (Except maybe the public, but hey, this is the '90s, at least for the next month.)
Here's the back stow. We begin sometime in the early 1980s. TV Guide, once the largest-selling magazine in America, with a circulation of 20 million and, more importantly, the most ad pages, has been beset by a variety of factors that dim its glow. Cable television systems are going from 12 to 100-plus channels, with the 500-channel universe just over the horizon. Local newspapers begin to include the kind of detailed program listings that …