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Viv U stocks gain after midweek drop

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Shares of Vivendi Universal rebounded Friday after taking a drubbing a day earlier as investors worried that a midweek executive meeting produced few concrete plans for reducing the French media giant’s hefty debt load or for clarifying corporate strategy.

Tivo subs buoyant

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Higher revenues and subscriptions helped digital video recorder maker TiVo cut first-quarter losses by nearly half, compared to a year ago.

Cutback in femme credits

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Forget about baby panic. Women in Hollywood have more pressing concerns. The number of female directors and writers fell sharply in 2001, according to a survey released today by Martha Lauzen, a professor at the San Diego State University School of Communication.

Review: ‘Bad Company’

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“Bad Company” arrives one week after “The Sum of All Fears,” another glossy entertainment that pivots on the possibility of nuclear terrorism. It’s almost impossible to enjoy this uneven but mostly exciting popcorn pic without flinching at a few plot elements that feel a bit too real for comfort.

Inside move: Radio daze

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When Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) turns on the radio these days, he doesn’t like what he hears — and neither do his constituents. Consolidation in radio has created, in his view, a handful of giants that homogenize programming and bully smaller rivals.

Upbeat finale at B.O.

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Broadway ended a downbeat season with a strong finish: Grosses for Week 52 (May 20-26) climbed a bit to $15,295,721, a small 2.3% rise over the prior frame but ahead of Memorial Day week last year.

Ads nix race data

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The South African Advertising and Research Foundation has thrown the cat among the pigeons by removing race as a demographic from its research data.

Road B.O. takes a tumble

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By contrast with Broadway, the road season ended on a sour note, as grosses dived by a whopping 31.4% to $9,234,386.

Inside move: Messier feels Bronfman bite

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Et Tu, Edgar? Last December, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. appeared to wash his hands of Vivendi Universal and its glibly efficient CEO Jean-Marie Messier, ankling his post as vice chair one year after Vivendi’s acquisition of Universal.

Gorgeous Cyan’s virtually a star

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She’s young, pretty, single and set to become Malaysian TV’s next big star. Oh, and she’s not real. Cyan is a virtual actress created after a nine-month gestation by local company Persistence of Vision (POV).