Helmut Thoma, managing director of Germany’s top commercial web RTL, will serve as an adviser to the state of North Rhine Westphalia when he leaves his post in October.

As head of the soon-to-be-created NRW Medien GmbH, Thoma, 59, will use his considerable clout in the television business to draw foreign investors to the Rhine region. At the same time, Thoma will be chair of RTL’s advisory board.

SAT1 is the first German commercial network to be granted a cable programming window in Switzerland.Authorities have awarded SAT1’s Swiss subsidiary a license to broadcast programming aimed at Switzerland’s 1.6 million German-speaking cable households. SAT1 will launch its Swiss window with broadcasts of Swiss national league soccer games.


Energee Entertainment has released a prospectus to raise $7 million for the production of animated feature “The Magic Pudding” through chartered accountants Greenwood Challoner.

Under Oz law, tax breaks will be awarded to those investing in the pic, which has “Shine” Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and Sam Neill attached. Meantime, Energee has awarded international sales rights to Beyond, while pubcaster ABC has secured terrestrial TV and video rights and Showtime Australia has the feevee window.


Veteran Canadian TV personality Laurier LaPierre has been appointed chairman of government film and TV funder Telefilm Canada. LaPierre, who will hold the post for a five-year term, replaces Robert Dinan, who just stepped down.

LaPierre, who has been on the Telefilm board for a year, has hosted and written for many shows on CBC and he was also head of the French-Canadian studies program at McGill University in Montreal.


Censorship has reared its head on the cable front in Chile. Metropolis-Intercom canceled its transmissions of the “America 2” channel because of a program on sex called “DA2.” The MSO has also canceled screenings of a number of feature films including “Pulp Fiction” and “Multiplicity.”

Ricardo Claro, a majority shareholder in the cable system, is well known for his Catholicism and conservative point of view, and it is widely thought that he is calling the shots in this matter.

The films and programs censored by Met-Int were all transmitted by its competitor VTR Cable Express, without any objections from the watchdog Nat’l Television Council.