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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 emailed to you each day.

VIACOM: Viacom filed suit in a D.C. appeals court over the FCC decision not to waive the broadcast ownership cap. Viacom will have to sell or swap station by may if not to fulfill conditions on its merger with CBS.

RATES: ABC sees good results Sunday with its first “Classic TV” episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “The Practice.” ABC will win the week in total viewers, with NBC squeaking by in 18-49. Meanwhile NCAA basketball has been doing well in primetime, that doesn’t appear to be the case for the tourney as a whole.

NBC: Peacock’s Scott Sassa and Jeff Zucker brief ad buyers on net’s development slate..

CRIME: Barry Diller’s USA Network launching a digital channel with crime theme — will be a rival to court TV. USA is buying the Crime.com Web site run by John Langley, who created “Cops” for the Fox Network.

WILD: Sony invests in a vidgame company called WildTangent and announces it plans to use the company to create a series of interactive Web and PlayStation games based on its films.

CYBERBIZ: XM Satellite Radio launches its first satellite Sunday.

GEMS: Screen Gems acquires most worldwide rights to “Black Mask 2,” the sequel to the “Black Mask” Jet Li starrer. Li will not, however, appear in the sequel.

LIBERTY: Liberty Media taps PR exec.

NICKEL: Backstreet Boys and Destiny’s Child have been confirmed to perform at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards April 21 in Santa Monica.

GROSSES: B’way B.O. for week of March 12-18.

INSIDE MOVES

WGA: A group of exec producers is preparing to sue the studios and networks in the event that its deals are terminated in the wake of a strike. Also, WGA is expected to announce a date this week for resuming negotiations next month.

BUSINESS

BBCEX: BBC Worldwide, the commercial division of U.K. pubcaster BBC, bucked a trend and announced a 28% increase in its exports with a total figure for 2000 of £220 million ($350 million), up on 1999’s figure of $270 million, with its exports exceeding its imports.

SAG: Screen Actors Guild reaches tentative agreement on a contract for dubbing performers.

TIVO: Shares in TiVo are up sharply after a rah-rah piece on personal video recorders on “60 Minutes.”

TELEWEST: U.K.’s No. 2 cabler Telewest is restructuring its debt load in a £2.25 billion ($3.2 billion) refinancing deal.

WORLD

SOCCER: The European soccer association UEFA has banned German pubcasters ARD and ZDF from selling pay TV rights to the 2004 European Championship matches to the Kirch Group.

EYRE: Former ITV boss Richard Eyre is ankling as director of strategy and content for RTL Group after only 14 months on the job.

DODONA: U.K. exhib industry is teetering on the edge of a financial precipice with investment in new multiplexes outstripping the rise in revenues, according to a report by Dodona Research.

POPSTARS: “Popstars” talent show winners HearSay’s debut single hit No. 1 in the U.K. charts in its first week, selling north of 550,000 copies, making it the fastest selling commercial single in U.K. history. Oh, the power of TV!

BOND: James Bond theme music composer, Monty Norman, was awarded £30,000 ($48,000) libel damages in a British high court over a Sunday Times article saying he did not write the tune.

RTL: The RTL Group is reportedly eyeing Tribune Broadcasting as a possible gangplank into the U.S. market.

CINEMA: German software company media [netCom] has been granted an international patent for its Cinema-on-Demand technology by the European patent office. Software is now protected in Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates.

EBU: The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in Geneva has chosen Frenchman Jean Stock to succeed Jean-Bernard Munch as its chief exec.

PERFECT: Loss-making direct-to-home satellite platform Sky PerfecTV scored a coup by landing Japanese broadcasting rights to the 2002 World Cup soccer final — now it plans to broadcast the games free to woo new subscribers.

REVIEWS

LEGIT: Moliere; Leader of the Pack; Les Liaisons Dangereuses

MUSIC: Ike Turner, SXSW; Nelly Furtado, El Rey; Weezer, Palace; Lloyd Cole, Bowery Ballroom

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