week in review digest
EmptyCBS, former host Imus settle
NEW YORK — Radio host Don Imus and his former employer CBS Radio reached a legal settlement Tuesday that could be worth $10 million, and industry talk quickly turned to Imus' next likely radio job (HR 8/15). Two of Imus' former business partners could look to sign him, with market chatter focusing on Sirius Satellite Radio and WABC-AM, a station here operated by Citadel Broadcasting, as the biggest bets to land the radio icon. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin ran a former iteration of CBS Radio and its parent CBS Corp. in the late '90s. Citadel chairman and CEO Farid Suleman is Karmazin's former CFO and later president and CEO of the radio operation at that conglom, which then was called Infinity Broadcasting. Imus was fired in April for his comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, whose players he had described as "nappy-headed hos."
Canada's film, TV policy in new hands
TORONTO — Quebec Parliament member Josee Verner on Tuesday traded places with outgoing federal Heritage Minister Bev Oda as part of a Cabinet shuffle (HR 8/15). Verner, minister of international cooperation in Ottawa, will move to the heritage post, responsible for Canadian film and TV policy, while Oda will take his slot. Oda had been under fire for campaign financing irregularities, a situation instigated when she allowed broadcasters she oversaw to organize a fundraiser on her behalf.
VRL buys rest of Roadshow stake
SYDNEY — Village Roadshow Ltd. said Wednesday that it will acquire the 50% of local film and TV distributor Roadshow Distributors Group that it does not already own (HR 8/16). The Australian entertainment company will pay its 20-year joint venture partner, Amalgamated Holdings Ltd., AUS$129 million ($107 million) for its stake in Roadshow Distributors Group. That figure includes an AUS$95 million ($79 million) cash payment and the payout of Amalgamated shareholder loans totaling AUS$34.4 million ($28.5 million). Village Roadshow said the further consolidation of its local businesses will have an immediate positive impact on cash flows and earnings per share.
Heroes of India from UTV, Virgin
NEW DELHI — UTV Motion Pictures Plc., through its movie production affiliate SpotBoy, has inked an agreement with Richard Branson's Bangalore-based Virgin Comics to create four original superhero franchises (HR 8/16). The new stories, which will be leveraged across publishing, film, animation and gaming, will be co-created and co-owned by Virgin and UTV Motion Pictures and initially released as graphic novels published by Virgin. The partnership, announced Friday, anticipates the first comic books will be released by year's end.
Meeting of 'Minds': CBS and Mantegna
Joe Mantegna is in final negotiations to join the CBS drama "Criminal Minds" (HR 8/13). The hire caps weeks of exhaustive searching for a new lead on the 2-year-old crime drama after star Mandy Patinkin's abrupt departure last month from the show because of what he called "creative differences." Details about Mantegna's character as well as when he will be introduced have yet to be determined. Patinkin's character, Jason Gideon, was the leader of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit at the center of the show, which is produced by ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co.