The Donald is about to get some (much more fashionable) competition. On
Thursday, “The Apprentice”-like reality show “The Cut” will debut, allowing
all-American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger to do the hiring and firing of wannabe
designers. [The New York Times]
The New York Times

Say goodbye to Dick and Dom. A revival of the BBC quiz show “Ask the
Family,” hosted by Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood (a.k.a. Dick and Dom), was
cancelled after being panned by critics and ignored by viewers. The show, which was
meant to catapult the children’s TV presenters into the mainstream, failed to
do much of anything for BBC Two’s 6-7 p.m. timeslot. [BBC News]
BBC News

A new character will be donning a bikini on hit island drama “Lost.”
Michelle Rodriguez, who appeared at the end of season one, has signed on to join the
cast for season two. [The National Ledger]
The National Ledger

Like two obedient kindergarten kids, Japan’s Fuji TV and Internet company
livedoor have chosen to end their fighting and come to a compromise. Fuji and
livedoor said Monday they have completed two financial deals to officially end
their battle for control of Nippon Broadcasting System. After the TV broadcaster
paid 67 billion yen (U.S.$625 million) to acquire an entire stake in livedoor
Partners Co from livedoor Financial Holdings Co, Fuji TV is now the biggest
shareholder in Nippon Broadcasting. [Japan Today]
Japan Today

And the new head honcho is . . . Peter Viner. The CanWest executive has
replaced Richard Camilleri as president in charge of the company's broadcasting,
newspaper and online operations in Canada. Viner is no stranger to the Canadian
and international media business: he was a former television sales executive
and manager of Vancouver station CKVU-TV, he was chief executive of Australia's
TEN Television Network, publisher of the National Post, and most recently a
strategic advisor to Winnipeg-based CanWest. [Financial Post]
Financial Post

What a difference a couple of years makes. NBC, the now struggling net that
just a few years ago was the one to beat, has lowered its advertising prices
after the network Upfronts. Some analysts are estimating that rates will fall 2
percent lower than last year. NBC hasn’t cut rates since the 2001-2 prime-time
season, when the net was sluggish in the aftermath of the dot-com bust. [The
New York Times]
The New York Times

According to Middle Eastern advertisers and media buyers alike, the biggest
barrier to effective TV advertising campaigns in the region is a lack of
viewing numbers. The second most threatening aspect is fragmentation of the media.
These issues were discussed during recent industry forums conducted by
television technology provider Selevision, and held in Dubai. [AME Info]
AME Info

Once again, execs at the Mouse House are headed back into the courtroom —
this time in response to complaints made by often squabbling investor, Roy
Disney. Disney and his financial advisor, Stanley Gold, contend that before choosing
Michael Ovitz to succeed Michael Eisner as CEO of the company, the board did
not give fair consideration to outside candidates. [The New York Times]
The New York Times

Toshiba is gearing up for the release of HD-DVD recorders at the beginning of
next year with production of a write-once HD-DVD-R disc, which can store 15GB
of data (about three times the storage capacity of today's DVD-R discs). The
new technology should give consumers who want to record and store content on
the HD-DVD format an alternative to the 20GB HD-DVD-RW discs that will also be
available at the same time. [PC World]
PC World

There were an abundance of breasts outside the ABC headquarters in New York
on Tuesday. “Lactivitsts” (women who promote breast-feeding) staged a
“nurse-in” to protest Barbara Walter’s recent statement on female-centric morning
show “The View,” that the sight of a woman breast-feeding on an airplane next to
her had made her uncomfortable. [The New York Times]
The New York Times

Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson. Legendary actress Anne Bancroft (née Anna Maria
Louise Italiano) died on Tuesday at the age of 73. The Bronx-born actress was
known best for her Oscar-winning role in “The Miracle Worker” and her
portrayal of older seductress Mrs. Robinson in the “The Graduate.” Bancroft was
married to comedian Mel Brooks for over 40 years. [The London Times]
The London Times

Video pirates beware, the Shanghai International Film Festival is here. In
preparation for the Festival — the only one of its kinds in China’s
entertainment market — Shanghai’s police force is cracking down on those selling illegal
copies of DVDs. Stores have temporarily closed or boxed up unauthorized DVDs
to avoid having them seized in raids. [Associated Press]
Associated Press

Move over Hollywood and Bollywood, China is closing in on you. China has
become the third largest film producer in the world, having shot a record 212
films in 2004. Cinemas nationwide reported a total box office income of 1.5
billion yuan (U.S.$180 million). Chinese films made 3.6 billion yuan (U.S.$433
million) in overseas cinemas and on the movie channel of China Central Television;
yet quality films still remain scarce. [Shanghai Star]
Shanghai Star

Assuming he can take a brief break from his “romance” with Katie Holmes, Tom
Cruise will star in Paramount Pictures’ “Mission Impossible III.” Paramount
has officially given the green light to the latest installment of the
franchise. [The New York Times]
The New York Times

Dom Serafini of “VideoAge International” will present a press conference at
this year’s BANFF World Television Festival (taking place June 12-15). The
press conference will focus on Canadian involvement in Italian politics and the
role of Canadians in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Italy.

Celador International has added a new quiz format to its portfolio. “The Big
Call” pairs six contestants with six celebrities to win a big prize. Celador
will distribute the format and represent all interactive and licensing rights
worldwide, excluding the U.K.

Effective June 30th, CHUM Television will rebrand its youth lifestyle and pop
music video channels as Razer and PunchMunch. The channels will offer
enhanced access to a variety of interactive experiences. Razer will feature music,
hit movies, anime and sports among other topics. PunchMunch will be Canada’s
first-ever fully automated, all-request music video service.
CHUM Limited

At DIC Entertainment, 10-year company veteran Deb Clark has been promoted to
vice president of Royalty & Music Publishing Administration. In her new
position, Clark will oversee music administration on a worldwide basis — including
publishing, royalties and licensing for DIC’s catalog of television programming
— as well as its consumer brands, including “Trollz,” “Strawberry
Shortcake” and “Madeline.”
DIC Entertainment

DISCOP ’05 (to be held June 23-25 in Budapest) has officially topped 2004’s
pre-registration record. 818 participants have already confirmed attendance
for the market, including 498 Central and Eastern European buyers.

Oobi, the preschool puppet created by Little Airplane Productions and
featured on NOGGIN network in the U.S., is going international. The show has been
sold into 23 countries around the world, from Australia to Tonga.
Little Airplane Productions

PROMAX&BDA (to be held in New York June 21-23) has added “ABC News”
journalist Ted Koppel to its group of speakers set to open its 2005 edition. In other
PROMAX&BDA news, the company has announced that a common focus at many of this
year’s conferences will be the impact of PVRs, VoD and emerging technologies.

Sesame Workshop and Merrill Lynch have teamed up to launch the WorldwideKids
initiative, aimed at preparing a new generation of children to become globally
aware and financially responsible. The program will build on the impact of
financial literary program Talking Cents, but will focus on a diverse group of
people and cultures. In other Sesame Workshop news, the company has promoted
Carol-Lynn Parente to executive producer of venerable children’s show, “Sesame
Sesame Workshop

AXN, Sony Pictures Television International’s global action and adventure
channel, has become the first international general entertainment channel
approved for retransmission by the Korean Broadcasting Commission. As a result, the
channel with launch in Korea, as a 24-hour service, in July 2005.
Sony Pictures

The 16th annual SPORTELMonaco will be held October 24-27. The International
Symposium will feature two debates — “New screens for sport” and “The
influence of television on sport: rules and refereeing” — that will complement the
international sports television program market.

At DISCOP ’05, Tepuy International will present telenovelas (including
“Loving the Enemy,” “Looking for Dad” and “Idols”), TV movies (including “Death
Note” and “False Offender”), reality shows (“Cinderella” and “Soap Stars”),
a DVD (“Mejorando Tu Vida with Gabriela Spanic”), a variety show (“Life is a
Lottery”) and one series (“P.S.”).

At “Happy edelkids — the great children’s party,” organized by the Edelkids
department of Hamburg-based record company Edel, popular TV-Loonland
production “Pettson and Findus” won two platinum and three gold awards. The awards
were in recognition of sales of more than 250,000 videos and DVDs of the first
“Pettson and Findus” movie.

Universal Studios and Getty Images (the world’s leading provider of still and
moving imagery) have announced a partnership. Now, footage from the Universal
Studios Film Library will be available for licensing exclusively through
Getty Images (at
Universal Studios

Venevision International will present its 2005 catalog to buyers at DISCOP
’05. Programs include soap operas (“Nunca Te Diré Adiós,” “Sonar no Cuesta
Nada,” “El Amor las Vuelve Locas” and “Besos Robados), a reality show (“Te Llego
la Suerte”), movies, musical magazines, talk shows and documentaries.

The pre-MIPCOM issue of VideoAge is coming out in September, with a focus on:

* Children's TV at MIPCOM Jr.
* Reality TV
* Cinema in Italy (Venice Film Festival)
* Cinema in Canada (Montreal and Toronto Film Festivals)
* TV in Greece

For more information on deadlines and special advertising packages, contact
Dom Serafini at

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