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.
WGA: Negotiations reach the critical stage as Writers Guild of America leaders say they expect to respond no later than today to the “last, best and final” offer by companies. The WGA also tells its members to keep working until a strike is actually called.
EMI-BMG: The fate of the merger between EMI and Bertelsmann’s BMG is effectively at the mercy of European regulators, a Bertelsmann spokeswoman said Monday, adding that the company expects to get guidance from the EC about its opinion of the deal this week.
LEVIN: Former head of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s worldwide marketing Bob Levin has resurfaced as the head of Creative Domain Enterprises a newly former entertainment marketing company.
RATES: CBS’ live “On Golden Pond” doesn’t do much for the Eye on a night when the broadcast nets in general fared poorly. Will project weekly winners (NBC in adults 18-49 and CBS in total viewers) and update sweeps.
STALLONE: Sylvester Stallone has “Driven” away from WMA and Jim Wiatt, speeding toward ICM, where he’ll be repped by a team of agents led by Ed Limato, Andrea Eastman, and ex-WMA motion picture bigwig John Burnham.
MEIDEL: Paramount Domestic TV Distribution officially announces the appointment of Greg Meidel as programming prexy.
TRADE: The Bush administration gives Ukraine six months to clean up its act in terms of pirating music. Otherwise, sanctions might be in store. Announcement by U.S. Trade Rep Robert Zoellick praised by Hollywood.
CYBERBIZ: Netcaster Neurotrash.com merges with publicly traded MVD Holdings Inc. Formation of Ambience, a new Internet management company. Clients include Internet news info site Coming Attractions.
CRITICS: Outer Critics Circle awards are announced.
HAMMER: Sci Fi Channel has promoted Bonnie Hammer from executive VP and GM to the new post of president. That puts her on an equal level with Doug Herzog, who got the new post of president of Sci Fi’s sister network USA earlier this year.
KAY: Veteran Nickelodeon production exec Kevin Kay has been promoted to executive VP, production, Nickelodeon and TNN.
GROSS: B’way B.O. for week of April 23-29.
MOVES: The Economist’s cover story of this week, which declares Silvio Berlusconi not “fit to lead the government of any country, least of all one of world’s richest democracies,” has caused a huge response in Italy. The media tycoon turned politico, and Italy’s wealthiest man, called the magazine’s story and treatment of the allegations “trash.” The billionaire’s lawyers said they will be starting legal proceedings against the British publication.
EM.TV: German kidvidder EM.TV & Merchandising reported losses of $1.29 billion for 2000, worse than analysts’ forecasts and coming in at more than double the group’s revenues of $590 million.
HEARST: TV station group Hearst-Argyle Television posted a fourfold boost in profit Monday, even as its revenue fell 13% due to slackened ad sales.
GIAQUINTA: Jerry Giaquinta, formerly senior veep corporate communications at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Monday launched a consulting firm specializing in digital ventures. Giaquinta, who prior to Sony held posts at Silicon Valley’s Tandem Computers and Silicon Graphics, said the new firm will offer strategic marketing and communications services.
LOFT: Passions are running high in France over “Loft Story,” a home-grown reality show that is proving the French have just as keen an appetite for trash TV as other nations.
PASS: One of Paris’ controversial multi-access monthly cinema passes is to see a price hike in June because it’s proving too popular.
LEGIT: George Gershwin Alone (B’way), Rice Boy, Taper Too
TV: On Golden Pond, CBS
MUSIC: Coachella Valley festival; Sophie B Hawkins, HoB