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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 e-mailed to you each day.

RATES: Preliminary national ratings for Sunday’s Oscarcast don’t look too promising. The show looks like it’s down about 8% from last year, making it one of the lowest-rated shows in years.

SAG: Screen Actors Guild board members plan to ask this weekend for a no-confidence vote in Hollywood branch exec director Leonard Chassman, who is due to retire in August.

BRESSLER: Richard J. Bressler named senior executive vice president and chief financial officer of Viacom.

CBS: CBS taps former Viacom exec Fred Reynolds to head the CBS Television Stations group. John Severino, who currently runs the division, is leaving.

REGAL: One group of Regal Cinemas suitors has bowed out, leaving only the group led by financier Philip Anschutz to tangle with current owners over control of the nation’s biggest theater chain.

JEN: “Everybody Loves Raymond” exec producer and former “Seinfeld” scribe Jennifer Crittenden inks overall deal at Par Network TV.

PEOPLE: In an effort to promote corporate synergy, AOL Time Warner’s CNN will launch “People in the News,” a half-hour weekly profile series from People magazine. The last time CNN developed a show from Time Warner mags, the result was “NewsStand,” a notorious disaster.

WE27: In a deal that could further change the evolving nature of TV advertising, Johnson & Johnson has signed on as the exclusive sponsor of WE: Women’s Entertainment, Rainbow Media’s newly branded women’s cable net (formerly Romance Classics).

CYBERBIZ: Oscar.com traffic numbers; Zoo Prods. has bought “Dare For Dollars” from shuttered Z.com; Play Streaming Media Group is now GlobalStreams and has raised $22 million; Zeros and Ones Animation opens up production arm.

HOLDEN: DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard and Sean Kanan have been cast in “Chasing Holden,” a Lions Gate drama directed by Malcolm Clarke. William Hurt and Joshua Jackson are currently in negotiations to star.

TIGERVIDEO: Sony announces VHS and DVD release of “Crouching Tiger” for June 5 — audio commentary by Ang Lee on DVD.

GOTHAMS: The Independent Feature Project has put out a call for noms for the 2001 IFP Gotham Awards.

BUSINESS

SINGTEL: Singapore Telecommunications is poised to enter the Australian market after launching a takeover bid for Cable & Wireless Optus Ltd., the country’s second-largest telco, which also owns a struggling pay TV platform.

ITC: The U.K. television market was worth £8.8 billion ($12.6 billion) in 2000, roughly double 1995’s figures.

RTL: German channel RTL reported record results and record investments in local wares on Monday, sending out the message that inhouse rather than acquired programming is the flavor of the month.

FOXNEWS: Fox News has signed research expert Nicholas Schiavone, a 26-year NBC veteran, to an exclusive consulting contract.

REGAN: Former Capitol Hill staffer Michael Regan Jr., who’s spent the last several years lobbying for failed NextWave Telecom, is named to head up News Corp.’s Washington office. He beat out top NAB exec Jim May for job.

WORLD NEWS

GUS: Russian media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky was released on bail by a Spanish court March 26 in a move his supporters see as the first sign that Spain may not comply with Russia’s requests to extradite him from the country on fraud charges.

REN: Following the postponement of “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” Renaissance Films has axed two exex and may cut four or five jobs from its sales arm, as the London-based production and sales company battens down the hatches to weather the threatened Hollywood strikes.

VICTORY: German film fund outfit Victory Media Group and Rome’s DeAngelis Group have established a joint production venture, DeAngelis Film Production & Distribution.

PARIS: The 16th Paris Film Festival kicks off today with some 60 films to unspool before the close on April 3. Nine of those pics will compete for a $50,000 Grand Jury Prize to go toward French distribution.

MEDIASET: Silvio Berlusconi’s TV group Mediaset, German media magnate Leo Kirch and Robert Murdoch have together acquired up to 6% of Olivetti Spa, the majority holder of Italy’s telco giant Telecom Italia, according to press reports. The three allies are said to want to block Seat Pagine Gialle’s acquisition of TV group TeleMonteCarlo. Olivetti controls Telecom Italia, which controls Seat PG.

PAYTV: Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting has asked the government to postpone its $11 million pay TV license deposit for six months so it can find investors — another sign that all is not well in Hong Kong’s slowly deregulating pay TV industry.

V PAGE

Two pages of photos from the Oscar parties

REVIEWS

LEGIT: Judgment at Nuremberg (B’Way); Book of Liz (Off B’Way); Servicemen (Off B’Way); The Woman Who Forgot Her Sweater (John Anson Ford)

MUSIC: the Waterboys; the Soft Boys; Nick Cave, Wiltern

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