Preview tomorrow's <I>Daily Variety</I> articles today

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.

CONGRESS: Senate Judiciary Committee weighs in on Napster at a packed hearing. Recording artists Alanis Morissette and Don Henley say major labels aren’t providing for royalties in the digital age. Sen. Orrin Hatch, chair of powerful Judiciary Committee, warns AOL Time Warner, EMI and RIAA to work with artists otherwise, he might ask Congress to approve a tax incentive to help the small fry. Hatch has lots of fun quoting Henley song titles, saying court ruling in Napster marked “the end of the innocence.”

VALENTI: All it took for MPAA prexy Jack Valenti to score a big victory for the pic biz at Tuesday’s congressional hearing on copyright was to show 30 seconds of a pirated copy of Gladiator that his office downloaded from the Internet. Sen. Orrin Hatch, dumbstruck by the quality of the clip, says Valenti can expect his full support on specific copyright issues facing studios.

VIVENDI UNIVERSAL: Vivendi Universal is reportedly close to announcing a U.S. deal to distribute its music over the Internet.

SAG: Peace breaks out in a small slice of the Screen Actors Guild as Gordon Drake, one of prexy William Daniels’ chief backers, takes his four-year-old actor.org site off the Internet with the goal of promoting solidarity within SAG.

HELINE: “3 Sisters” exec producers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline ink high seven-figure overall deal with NBC Studios.

STRIKE: Stockpiling for strikes continued at an impressive pace in March with off-lot TV and film production in Los Angeles posting strong numbers.

VOTE: Top Screen Actors Guild official blasts fellow members of SAG’s national board for postponing a proposal that would have given Hollywood members a majority.

RATES: Fox wins the week in key demos thanks to the premiere of “Boot Camp.” ABC, with two strong comedy premieres, and CBS, with “Survivor,” “CSI” and college basketball, finish in a virtual tie in total viewers.

HOOPS: Breakout story on Monday’s NCAA men’s basketball final. Ratings appear to be up vs. last year, which was the tourney’s lowest-rated ever.

LIFE: Lifetime comes out on top of the Nielsen cable-household ratings in primetime for the first quarter of 2001. That’s a first for Lifetime. Other first-quarter cable-ratings highlights.

NEWS RATES: Driven by “The O’Reilly Factor,” Fox News Channel beat all cable news nets in primetime ratings for an entire quarter for the first time in the net’s history. In primetime for the quarter, Fox News was up 80% in ratings and 121% in households, while CNN was down 13% in ratings and 1% in households.

WALKEN: Christopher Walken inks for “Country Bears” at Disney.

TRIBUNE: Tribune Entertainment formally declared a go on the production of “Talk or Walk,” it’s talk strip for broadcast syndication this fall.

TNT: TNT has commissioned “Julius Caesar,” a four-hour miniseries to be exec produced by Lorenzo Minoli (who did the high-rated “Jesus” mini for CBS last season) and Guido de Angeliis. Director and cast are TBA.

SHOWTIME: Showtime has bought up to 100 short films from AtomShockwave for Showtime Next, the digital pay network aimed at Generation Y viewers (18 to 24 year olds). It’s AtomShockwave’s first major deal since the two companies merged.

BALL: The new musical “Ball” rivals the movie “The Flintstones” for the number of scribes attached to the project.

OXYGEN: AOL is also making an investment in Oxygen and has committed to deliver the women’s net to 10 million of the 12.7 million cable subscribers served by Time Warner Cable by the end of the third quarter of 2002.

B’WAY: Actors Equity and the League of American Theatres and Producers resolve differences over the new National Broadway Theatre Awards.

UNION: Gabrielle Union has nabbed a role in Section Eight and Pandora’s feature “Welcome to Collinwood” and is set to join the ensemble cast of the Tollin Robbins/Warner Bros. TV pilot “Close to Home ” for Fox.

MARCH B.O.: Warner Bros. held last month’s B.O. ($89 million) title, making it the studio’s sixth March win since 1990. Overall receipts cha-chinged to $553.5 million, 5% off from last year’s high of $560.5 million.

PLAYERS: Players column.

BIG PICTURE CONFERENCE

LEVIN/CASE: Interview with Gerald Levin and Steve Case.

KARMAZIN: Mel Karmazin interviewd by analysts from Solomon Smith Barney.

CEOS: Panel with several CEOs.

MIP

PBS: Lark Intl., the PBS channel consortium, and Canadian programmer Alliance Atlantis have partnered in a $16 million co-funding deal aimed at producing 30 hours of history and science programming for PBS in the U.S. and commercial TV distribution worldwide.

STAR: Spain’s film and TV production house Starline is driving into event miniseries production.

BRB: A Spanish-Portuguese bank, the Banco Espiritu Santo de Investimento (BESI), has taken a 25% stake in top Spanish toon house BRB Internacional. The deal came to light at Mip Tuesday.

EM.TV: German kidvidder EM.TV is launching its branded Junior programming block in Russia, bringing the number of territories where Junior blocks air to 11.

BETA: German media giant Kirch Group packed them in again Tuesday at the company’s traditional Mip get-together, the Beta Brunch.

TF1: TF1 Intl. has bought most European rights to the Hilltop series “Shannon and Brooke” in its first foray into U.S. program sales.

WORLD NEWS

NTV: NTV founder Vladimir Gusinsky losses control of his TV station, the only politically independent web in Russia.

BABELSBERG: Studio Babelsberg is looking to launch two investment funds worth $360 million to bankroll U.S. and European pics.

GRANADA: Granada Kids, subsid of U.K.’s Granada, and JP Kids, U.S. children’s media company, are to co-produce up to four children’s and family shows per year.

KIRCH: Kirch Media is reportedly looking to take a stake in Russian broadcaster TV-6. If deal closes Kirch will be the first foreign media company in the market.

TORRENTE: Spanish James Bond spoof “Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella” saw the second highest-grossing bow ever in Spain, romping to Pta582.6 million ($3.24 million) over its first weekend off 300 copies.

REVIEWS

FILM: Marie-Line; Night Shift; Flickering Lights; Cool and Crazy; Never Again; Imax film of ‘N Sync in concert.

TV: Naked States

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