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A Look Ahead

Here’s a preview of the stories we’re working on for Daily Variety tomorrow. These stories will be available on the Variety Web site after midnight Pacific Time. Sign up now to have the top stories e-mailed to you each day.

WGA: Studios and networks harden their strike stance in a press briefing, saying that anyone expecting a quick resolution is “uninformed.” Producers say that the WGA proposals, coupled with similar deals for the other guilds, would bankrupt them, and that they are unwilling to meet the WGA halfway. Despite the waves of “new” info and data costing out of the WGA proposals, however, the two sides remain less than $120 million apart on a three-year deal, even by the producers’ figures.

LESCURE: Vivendi Universal TV and film division chief Pierre Lescure called DreamWorks’ bluff on Thursday by saying that if the renewal of their co-production deal goes beyond a certain sum, Universal won’t be interested in it.

NOW: Miramax is picking up the re-issue of “Apocalypse Now.”

RATES: ABC’s “The Job” isn’t nearly as impressive in its second outing, even with Elizabeth Hurley as a guest star. “Survivor” clips show does well, but “Big Apple” tanks again after it.

HOFFMAN: Greg Hoffman, former Disney exec and most recently production exec at Miracle Entertainment, joins Paramount-based Lynda Obst Prods as exec VP.

CAP: Viacom, NBC, Fox expected to file another round of papers with the federal appeals court considering repeal of the national ownership cap prohibiting a broadcaster from reaching more than 35% of the national audience.

TRIO: In its first major programming acquisition, Barry Diller’s arts network Trio has bought all 78 hourlong episodes of “Sessions at West 54th,” featuring performers like Fiona Apple, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks and Jewel.

EMUSIC: Inspired by recent court actions against Napster, emusic.com has developed its own technology to sift through all Napster files to find those that infringe on e-music copyrights. The new tech is an update of emusic’s prior effort to identify users that traded infringing files.

QUILLS: UCLA has purchased some Marquis de Sade manuscripts penned in the insane asylum depicted in the biopic “Quills.”

RANDOM: Random House has struck a deal with Mondadori, the largest Italo publishing firm, to expand its holdings in the Spanish-language market.

HUDSON: Deston Songs, publisher formed by pop-rocker Desmond Child and ex-Polygram publishing topper David Simone, ink multiyear deal with songwriter Mark Hudson (Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Baha Men).

OWATCH: Penelope Cruz to present.

BUSINESS

STOX: Dow narrows the gap, dropping 97 points after at one point being down 380. Nasdaq rallies, up 67.

MEDIASET: With Silvio Berlusconi expected to win Italy’s general election May 13, his TV and advertising group Mediaset announced 2000 financial results are better than expected and the acquisition of a strategic minority stake in Italy’s former monopolist Telecom Italia.

GREECE: MPA chair-CEO Jack Valenti announces that Greece has promised the United States trade rep that it will crack down on unlicensed TV stations pirating Hollywood product. Greece is a notorious offender.

FTC: President Bush names Washington lawyer Thomas Muris to head the FTC. Muris, who’s pro-merger, worked as a junior lawyer at the FTC in the 1970s and then later during the Reagan administration.

SALTER: Analysts were unfazed by a substantial fall in Halifax-based Salter Street’s bottom line for the quarter.

WORLD

NINE: Oz’s Network Nine and the Macquarie Film Corp. are joined by government funders the FFC to make “Dirty Deeds.”

LIZM: Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth has tapped two senior British TV execs, Waheed Alli and Paul Hamann, to join her new production company.

DIET: The German version of “Big Diet,” the reality format where 10 overweight people are locked on a slimming farm for 105 days with the task of reaching their ideal weight, has tapped ex-German TV queen Margarethe Schreinemakers to host the show.

CNN: CNN has expanded its Mexico City bureau into a full-service TV and Internet newsroom, its first for Latin America.

CROSS: “Crossing Over With John Edward” has crossed over: The sci-fi psychic reality series has been snapped up in the U.K. by the Living Channel.

REVIEWS

LEGIT: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Off B’Way); : QED, Taper

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