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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.

AFFIL: More than 600 net affiliates accuse the networks of strong-arming them in a voluminous complaint filed with the FCC. Network Affiliated Stations Alliance (NASA) say nets – bolstered over the last decade by deregulation and consolidation – are breaking various FCC rules, robbing local stations of their autonomy and ability to air local programming. NASA asks FCC to launch inquiry.

WARNERS: Warner Bros. wowed exhibs with a high-powered presentation of its upcoming film slate at ShoWest 2001 on Thursday.

INT: While the Neuer Markt collapses around it, IM Internationalmedia AG, better known as Intermedia, is going from strength to strength. Its annual results, announced March 8, show the company is piling on cash, beating profit predictions and readying itself for major corporate acquisitions.

WOLF: Media consultant Michael Wolf is leaving Booz Allen for rival McKenzie.

KIDSWB: At Kids WB! upfront presentation, net announces it will add its first ever-live-action series and four new animated series to Saturday morning and weekday slates during 2001-2002 season. Highlights are: live-action “The Nightmare Room,” based on R.L. Stine’s book series and an animated “The Mummy” based on the Universal movie. Also talk of co-producing and/or sharing serise with corporate partner Cartoon Network. Kids WB has also picked up two series which failed on other nets: “Sherlock Homes in the 22nd Century” which was previously on Fox and “Rescue Heroes” Global Response Team,” which aired on CBS last season.

ABC: At Disney Kids Network upfront presentation, ABC announces two new animated series to premiere in fall: a new animated series from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and “Disney’s Teamo Supremo,” from Walt Disney TV Animation.

NASCAR: Fox Network’s coverage of weekend Nascar races seems immune so far to the declining ratings of every other sport. For the first four weeks, Fox Network’s Sunday Nascar Nielsens are averaging a 7.8 rating, which is 39% higher than the four races last year (on CBS and ABC). The growth in male demos is even more pronounced.

FRINGE: ABC’s “The View” had its highest sweeps perf ever. CBS News’ “The Early Show” posted its best weekly perf in adults 25-54, women 25-54 and women 18-49 last week, and other fringe tidbits TK.

JENKINS: Chris Jenkins appointed senior VP of sound services for Universal Studios Operations Group

CYBERBIZ: Loudcloud lands Fox’s many Web sites as a client (Ovitz is an investor in Loudcloud); Disney Online inks a deal to distrib its content to China.

BRENT: A coalition of below-the-line crew members have asked production companies to schedule no more than 12 hours of work today (Friday), in memory of Brent Hershman, who died in a car carsh four years ago after working a 19-hour day.

BROCK: Universal Pictures and UCLA establish fellowships and scholarships in honor of Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry to study environmental justice.

COLUMBIA: The fifth annual Columbia Film Festival will unspool April 11-21 in Manhattan with a selection of student shorts in competition, New Line Cinema and Polo Ralph Lauren Development Awards, and a tribute to film critic and Columbia professor Andrew Sarris. Last year’s winner, Joan Stein’s “One Day Crossing,” is a current Oscar nominee.

MORE SHOWEST

SWINTERNET: Some Netcos say their movie ticketing Web sites could prove a valuable catalyst to Hollywood box office, and exibs and showing early interest in the fledgling services.

BUSINESS

CORUS: Canuck broadcaster Corus Entertainment has sold its 50% stake in the Family Channel to Astral Media of Montreal for C$126.9 million ($81.9 million) and Corus has acquired the Women’s Television Network from Moffat Communications for $132.3 million.

WGA: Hollywood’s writers, hitting a mostly unnoticed area following last week’s collapse of contract talks, have accused studios and nets of “gutting” writers’ rights to publish original film and TV scripts in other media such as DVD.The WGA, in a notice to members, is also claiming the companies have issued rollback proposals in the contract’s “separation of rights,” which cover copyright provisions conveyed to writers rather than companies.

CCRAFT: Chris-Craft Industries, Inc. today reported 2000 net income of $158,013,000, or $4.52 per share ($3.58 per share diluted), compared to net income in 1999 of $42,433,000, or $1.21 per share ($.97 per share diluted).

NTL: (UK’s No. 1 cabler NTL has signed up 650,000 digital TV subscribers to date and looks to be on track to hit its financial targets for 2001. It posted record sales of £586 million ($853 million) for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 21,

WORLD

SCHAPER: Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper, 51, died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Roman Polanski halted filming of his pic “The Pianist” for a minute of silence on Wednesday in remembrance of “his friend and colleague.”

TRAKTOR: “Chain of Fools” – a $20 million Hollywood movie, starring Steve Zahn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Jeff Goldblum and Salma Hayek – will have its world premiere today (Friday, March 9) in Stockholm, Sweden, before launched later this year in the US by Warner Bros.

SEOUL: French Television promoter TV France International (TVFI) kicked off its first showcase in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, 26 French companies, from Canal Plus to Ellipse Distribution and France Animation are taking part in the two-day event.

FRANCETV: France Television, the country’s main pubcaster, has admitted having problems after a 1.6% drop in France 2’s audience compared with the same period in 2000.

PLURAL: Spanish industry vet Jose Vicuna has been tapped as president of film and TV production company Plural Entertainment, owned by Spanish media giant Prisa. The appointment of one of Spain’s best-known film execs comes as Plural has inked a co-production accord with The New York Times TV.

CORUS: Canuck broadcaster Corus Entertainment has inked deal to buy specialty channel Women’s Television Network for C$205 million from Moffat Communications. In addition, Corus has sold its half share in The Family Channel for C$126.9 million to Astral Media, which already owned the other 50-percent of the Canadian channel.

REVIEWS

FILM: “The Greatest Story Ever Told” DVD release

LEGIT: The Unknowns

TV: The Lost Empire, NBC (Sun., Mon); Lorne Doone, A&E (Sun.)

MUSIC: Mojave 3, Troub; Living End, Roxy

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