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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 emailed to you each day.

PRYOR: Tom Pryor, for 30 years the editor of Variety and Daily Variety, died Monday. A one-time Golden Gloves boxer, he was hired by Variety publisher Syd Silverman in 1959 as editor and held that position until his retirement in 1989.

MOULIN: Baz Luhrmann’s audacious musical “Moulin Rouge” to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

ANCIER: Former NBC Entertainment prexy Garth Ancier has reteamed with Jamie Kellner, joining Turner Broadcasting as executive vice president of programming.

SCHWARTZ: Sander Schwartz, who has been prexy of Sony Pictures Family Entertainment for the past two years, is moving to Warner Bros. to serve as prexy of Warner Bros. Animation. Starting April 16, he’ll have responsibility for Warner Bros.’ physical production of theatrical, TV, direct-to-video and classic animation, as well as oversight of creative development for TV and direct-to-video toon programming.

RATES: NBC narrowly wins the week in adults 18-49 despite what’s likely the lowest rating ever for one of the major nets on one night (Saturday with the XFL). ABC won in total viewers, Fox in teens and adults 18-34.

WGA: Directors Guild of America prexy Jack Shea declares that the possessory credit proposals by the Writers Guild of America are unacceptable but concedes the DGA itself has proposed some limits on awarding the “a film by” credit.

AFTRA: The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists has tapped veteran exec Ann Chaitovitz to the newly created post of national director of sound recordings and will send her to Capital Hill.

SCIFI: Sci Fi Channel, which has just reached the magic 70 million subscribers count, is readying a movie spinoff of the “Babylon 5” series called “Legend of the Rangers” (which could end up as a weekly series), plus a Stephen King miniseries “Firestarter: The Next Chapter,” which picks up 20 years after the “Firestarter” theatrical movie. Also, “Clive Barker’s Saint Sinner,” a fantasy/horror original movie. And pre-production has begun on “Taken,” the previously announced 20-hour miniseries about alien abduction exec produced by Steven Spielberg.

MR.BILL: Lions Gate picks up rights to Mr. Bill shorts for video, and its CinemaNow Internet service to go with “Saturday Night Live” video rights through newly merged Trimark.

BLOOMBERG: He may be a featured guest at the TV Academy’s second annual TV-Internet conference, but that doesn’t mean Bloomberg founder and CEO Michael Bloomberg has faith in the future of convergence. “I don’t think most people want to switch camera angles during a football game or decide whether a movie will have a happy or a sad ending,” Bloomberg said. Bloomberg, whose name has been bandied about in the press as a potential Gotham mayoral candidate, said he won’t announce at the conference.

CHARTER: Paul Allen’s Charter Communications has signed with the Fox Cable Networks Group for digital carriage of three Fox Sports Digital Gold channels and the Fox Sports Network lineup of international events.

TUCCI: Stanley Tucci has signed to play Groucho Marx in “Love, Groucho,” a CBS telepic that is based on the book by his daughter, Miriam Marx Allen

CLASSICAL: Continuing its ongoing push to consolidate and streamline operations, Warner Music will revamp its Warner Classics Intl. unit, shuttering the regional offices of European imprints Teldec and Erato, and letting go of 30 staffers.

BUSINESS

CLEVE: Cynthia Cleveland steps down as U’s prexy of consumer products division in the wake of Rick Finkelstein’s ascension.

KING: King World Prods. has upped its top marketing execs, moving Delilah Loud to senior veep and Chris Carson to VP in the ad-promo department. Loud, who has been with the company for about a decade, will be heading up the department.

BET: BET, which was acquired by Viacom last November, has laid off about 50 staffers.

MGM: Joseph Fitzgerald, formerly Seagram’s veep investor relations, Tuesday was appointed executive VP investor relations and corporate communications at MGM effective April 9. He replaces longtime spokesman and IR exec Craig Parsons, who is ankling the studio for unspecified other opportunities.

GC: General Cinemas parent GC Cos. on Tuesday posted a broadened fiscal first quarter loss due to restructuring costs and expenses from shutting down some theaters.

STOX: Media stocks sank with the broader market as Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan’s half-point interest rate didn’t cut it with investors.

PRIMEDIA: Primedia Tuesday appointed Matthew Flynn senior veep and treasurer, reporting to chief financial officer Lawrence Rutkowski.

GULLANE: “Thomas the Tank Engine” company Gullane Entertainment, formerly known as the Britt Allcroft Co., has announced record interim results for the second half of 2000 with total sales for the period up 173% to £20.34 million ($29 million).

WORLD

KIRCH: Kirch Group execs have admitted that they are unhappy with the company’s faltering pay TV service Premiere World, which has taken longer to develop than had been anticipated.

PERFECT: Money-losing direct-to-home satellite platform Sky PerfecTV, which scored a coup by landing Japanese broadcasting rights to the 2002 World Cup soccer final, is to broadcast the games free to woo new subscribers.

RUSSELL: The Film Co., a London-based international sales company, will be selling all rights and territories to director Ken Russell’s “The Fall of the Louse of Usher.”

VILLAGE: Struggling exhibitor Reading has compounded Village Roadshow’s woes by launching legal action against the entertainment conglom in federal court.

MARFEST: Proposed government tax hikes dampened spirits at Argentina’s Mar del Plata film fest closing ceremony Saturday, where Polish drama “Te ja, zlodziej” (It’s Me, the Thief) took top prize.

DTH: Nearly five years after Rupert Murdoch announced plans to launch satcaster ISkyB in India, the government has published guidelines for direct-to-home broadcasting.

HONG: Government plans to liberalize pay TV suffered another setback as a second new operator bailed out of the market, which some speculate is only big enough to support two or three players.

GREENLIGHT: Toon producer Greenlight Media is gearing up to launch a $100 million animation fund with investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. It’s the company’s second Berlin Animation Film Fund venture in two years.

EARTH: German outfit Earth Television Network (ETN) will take reality TV one step further when it unveils two series and its Earth TV Net broadcast technology, at MipTV next month.

REVIEWS

FILM: Say It Isn’t So

MUSIC: John Hammond, Knitting Factory

LEGIT: Lonesome West, SCR; Titanic, SBCLO; My Fair Lady, London

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