INDIADishnet has acquired the Hindi music satellite channel Asian Television Network (ATN) and relaunched it as Entertainment TV Network (ETN). ETN will be a round-the-clock Hindi music channel and will compete with Star’s Channel V, Music Asia and MTV. Programming will be a mix of Hindi film songs and Indian pop musicvideos. Dishnet also is in discussion with French music channel MCM Asia for possible collaboration.
* * *Alarmed by allegations of corruption at pubcaster Doordarshan, the Indian government will launch a high-level inquiry into the broadcaster’s business deals over the last 18 months. The government is investigating allegations relating to the misuse of funds in the awarding of programming and marketing contracts. Doordarshan has been at the center of a number of corruption scandals in the last decade, and government inquiries have led to dismissals and arrests.
* * *Fox Kids and local conglom United Television have entered into a joint venture for producing 26 episodes of kidshow “The Heroes of Mount Olympus.” Deal envisages a 60/40 respective split of global revenues from TV rights and merchandising. UTV will dedicate over 100 artists, animators and visualizers for the project. Fox will be responsible for the conceptualization and voice tracks, as well as international distribution. Fox Kids exec Michel Welter and UTV chairman Ronnie Screwalla signed the joint venture deal.
AUSTRALIAIn a week of executive shuffles at Australia’s major festivals, Jo Kulchar has been appointed general manager of Oz’s largest one-night fest, Tropfest, which attracts 65,000 attendees to watch amateur short films in competition. Also on the fest front, Wellington Gay and Lesbian Film Festival topper Richard King will be tapped in August as the executive officer of Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, replacing Tony Grierson, who ankled in April. Robyn Archer, director of the prestigious Adelaide Festival, has been tapped artistic director of the Sydney 2002 Gay Games.
* * *Ben Gannon’s gritty drama series “Wildside” dominated the just-announced TV strand of the Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Award nominations. The show garnered three of the four TV series noms, while Southern Star’s actioner “Water Rats” got the fourth. Film nominees include Elise McCredie’s “Strange Fits of Passion,” which was selected for Cannes Critics Week, Robert Taylor’s “Muggers” and John O’Brien’s “A Wreck, a Tangle.”