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OSEAS BOX OFFICE : As the year reached its holiday-season finale overseas, there was good news for Hollywood: Big, star-driven event films are grossing a ton of money abroad — in most cases eclipsing their domestic results more dramatically than ever before. b. FOREIGN BOX OFFICE: “Meet the Parents” duplicates some of its Stateside success with strong openings in Australia and Singapore and grosses $11.7 million at 1,940 theaters in 17 territories over the New Year’s weekend. The comedy’s foreign cume has hit $36.5 million.

CANAL PLUS: Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure on Tuesday played down a French press report that the group was dumping its old Hollywood partners after pacting with Universal. Backpedaling furiously Tuesday, Lescure told Daily Variety that Canal Plus’ Hollywood deals would be examined “on a case by case basis.” These include partnerships with Disney’s Spyglass, Warner Bros.’ Bel Air, Paramount’s Mandalay and Sony’s Phoenix Pictures. Lescure, however, did reveal that there will be changes in the Canal Plus Group’s dealings with U.S. indie filmmakers. Studio Canal, its Euro production and distribution arm, will no longer be able to single-handedly sign the checks for indie films.

TV RATINGS: Metered-market ratings for New Year’s Day big bowl games.

MORAL COURT: Frosh syndie gaveler “Moral Court,” hosted by Larry Elder, has earned a major time period upgrade in New York, moving from the late-night 1 a.m. slot to mornings 11 a.m. on WWOR-TV, effective Monday (Jan. 8). The show has consistently earned below a 1.0 national household rating thus far, but performed well enough in New York to earn the badly-needed upgrade.

WALSTON OBIT: Actor Ray Walston, who starred on stage and screen as the devil in “Damn Yankees” and was famed for his TV role as the extraterrestrial Uncle Martin in “My Favorite Martian,” has died at age 86, his agent said Tuesday.

BUSH TRANSITION: Bush may have appointed wrestling showboater (and part-time Minnesota Gov.) Jesse Ventura to his transition advisory team, but otherwise has included no bigtime media and entertainment execs on the 450+ list of people slated to help in the transition. Still no word on whether Time Warner’s prexy will indeed be chosen as U.S. Trade Representative.

NBA: The National Basketball Assn. has engineered a multiyear deal SportsLine.com. The deal includes licensing rights to the NBA, sponsorships of the NBA’s interactive talkshow and tons of cross-promotion.

SPUTNIK7.COM: Gotham-based online entertainment site Sputnik7.com has acquired music portal/digital music locker Epitonic.com for an undisclosed amount.

ONLINE CRIX AWARDS : “Almost Famous,’” Cameron Crowe’s semiautobiographical tale of a teen-age rock writer in the 1970s, received best picture honors from the Online Film Critics Society.

SAG: The Screen Actors Guild promotes veteran exec Zino Macaluso as director of agency relations. He replaces Joan Meyer, who retired in November.

WESTWOOD ONE: Radio programming giant Westwood One reups its content deal with MTV Radio Networks for three years. Under the pact, MTV gives Westwood audio feeds, breaking news and artist interviews, among other services.

RAVE ADVERTISINGRave! Advertising, a new entertainment advertising agency, opens.

B’WAY GROSS: Broadway looks like it hit an all-time box office record for the week of Dec. 25-31. Waiting on final figures. w/chart.

INSIDE MOVES

SURVIVORS’ REVEALED ON EARLY: Richard Hatch won’t be back, but CBS is betting that a new batch of castaways will boost ratings at “The Early Show.” The cross-promotional push begins on Thursday when identities of the 16 contestants competing in “Survivor: The Australian Outback” will be unveiled on the ayemcast exclusively. “All of CBS would like to see the same kind of heat that ‘Survivor’ generated,” said “Early Show” exec producer Steve Friedman. “If that same kind of heat is there, we hope to capitalize on the flame.”

POLITICALLY INCORRECT BID : “Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher” is looking for a few outspoken millionaires. Fans of the latenight chat show will have a chance to bid for a spot on the show, beginning Friday Jan. 12 on www.abctvauctions.com.

BUSINESS

DISNEY EARNINGS : Citing slowed sales in its TV and consumer products operations, Smith Barney lowered 2001 earnings estimates for Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday, sending the stock down $1, or 3.5%, on a tough market day that also saw other media stocks tumble.

NEWS CORP./WEBMD : News Corp. said Tuesday that it is revising its partnership with the troubled health care site WebMD that was announced with tremendous fanfare in Dec. 1999.

NAPSTER/EDEL DEAL : After winning a measure of respectability by inking a deal with German media giant Bertelsmann, Napster signs similar pact with German music company Edel. Under the terms of the deal, Napster will be allowed to use recordings from Edel artists on its new, still-in-development legal file-sharing service, the creation of which has been funded in part by Bertelsmann.

CABLEVISION : The next round of bids in Cablevision’s attempt to sell Rainbow are due Jan. 16.

WORLD

CZECHTV STRIKE : The Czech Television crisis has entered its third week of standoff in the fight for control of what strikers barricaded inside the broadcast facilities call “independent, not politically controlled” national television.

TF1′S EUROSPORT SALE : In what looks to be a coup for French TV group TF1, Canal Plus Group has confirmed that it will sell its stakes in the moneymaking sports channel Eurosport Intl. and French unit Eurosport France. Until now, TF1 and Canal Plus have been partners in Eurosport –with 18 million viewers, the world’s leading sports web. The Vivendi/Seagram deal gave TF1 a golden opportunity to grab its rival’s stake, since it was able to refuse the transfer of the shares from the French pay TV channel to the new conglom.

BOURGES REPLACEMENT : A political row is brewing over who will replace Herve Bourges as head of France’s broadcasting authority.

HONG KONG TV RATINGS : The veil that has shrouded Hong Kong’s television ratings for decades is about to be lifted with all industry players nervously anticipating the results.

CABLEVISION DUMPS FOX : Cablevision, Argentina’s largest cable MSO with over 2 million subs, has dealt a body blow to Fox Sports’ Latin American signal by dumping the channel Monday.

REVIEWS

LEGIT: Private Spirit, Tiffany

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