INTERACTIVE NETWORK PULLS A RABBIT OUT OF THE HAT; BABY BELLS TEST DISTANCE LEARNING; TIME WARNER UNIT GOES TO AOL; OTHER NEWS:

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Financially troubled Interactive Network has found some breathing room. The play-along interactive TV service, close to folding a few weeks ago, reached agreements in principle with current investors Tele-Communications Inc. and NBC and new partner Motorola, which together will give the company a loan of approximately $20 million. Those agreements, however, are contingent on other talks to achieve an additional $30 million in financing that would keep the company afloat. Motorola said it's interested in developing hardware for IN. "Our initial role is to help fund the growth of the company and to participate as a supplier of equipment," said Ed Gams, Motorola VP-director of investor relations. "In the future, that financing position that we presently have could convert to an equity position." IN had planned to start a long-awaited national rollout this month; whether that still will happen is unclear. IN executives declined to comment pending further financing discussions.

Bell Atlantic Corp. and Ameritech last week said they would test interactive educational tools allowing students to interact with teachers at remote sites. Bell Atlantic will test the system in three Delaware high schools; Ameritech's system will link 1,700 Indiana schools.

Time Warner Interactive last week opened a forum on America Online, offering information about the company's games, upcoming products and a chance to talk to software developers. Time Warner Interactive executives said they plan to set up similar forums on several other online services.

SCTT Interactive's Interactive Index, tracking the aggregate stock performance of 65 new-media companies, closed at 102.74 on Sept. 7, down from 103.68 on Aug. 31. ... The New York Times Co. said it would start providing its help-wanted classified ads over the Internet next year. ... Marty Levin was named manager of advertising and interactive marketing for Microsoft Corp.'s broadband media applications group, Redmond, Wash., a new post, from president, Digital Marketing Consultants, and previously, senior VP-group creative director, J. Walter Thompson USA, New York. ... Viacom Consumer Products is selling "Forrest Gump" merchandise through Hollywood Online, a movie promoter available on America Online. Fans can buy a baseball cap or a T-shirt, but alas, none of Gump's famous chocolates.

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