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EmptyDonatellos push back nom dates
ROME — Italy's David di Donatello awards pushed back the closing date for nominations, ostensibly to accommodate actor-director Carlo Verdone, who complained about the early deadline because his upcoming film, "Grande Groso e Verdone" (Grand, Big and Verdone) would have been in theaters too late for consideration. It opens in Italy on Feb. 29. Organizers of the award said Monday that the new deadline for a film's Italian release is March 7, eight days later than the previous deadline. According to the Italian media, at least two other films that could earn Donatello noms are set to open Feb. 29. Verdone said last week that he would not attend the Donatello ceremony in protest of the early deadline. The move sparked a firestorm in the local press, with famed film producer Aurelio de Laurentiis backing the move in Monday's edition of Rome daily Il Messaggero and Ricardo Tozzi, president of the cinema, audiovisual and multimedia association ANICA, saying that the Donatello organizers risked looking "ridiculous."
France Televisions locks up Tour
PARIS — Gallic public TV group France Televisions will broadcast the Tour de France bike race through 2013, the group said Monday. Public service channels France 2 and France 3 have inked a new €23 million ($33.3 million) contract with race organizers the Amaury Sport Organization, giving the networks the right to air the popular cycling event. France Televisions also will air other sporting events organized by the ASO including other bike races in the territory and the Paris Marathon. All of these events will most likely be aired commercial-free because president Nicolas Sarkozy's previously announced plan to rid the public service channels of ads is already under way.
Cisneros hat in Colombia's TV license ring
MEXICO CITY — Venezuela's Cisneros Group has joined a growing list of Spanish-language media giants set to participate in a bidding war for a coveted new private television channel in Colombia. Gustavo Cisneros, chairman and chief executive of the Cisneros Group, said that his company will partner with Luis Carlos Sarmiento, one of Colombia's richest businessmen, in a bid for a license to operate the new network. The Colombian government expects to issue the broadcast license in September and the channel will hit the airwaves in 2009. The auction for the channel has drawn interest from top international players, including Mexican media powerhouse Televisa, Spain's Grupo Prisa and publishing company Planeta. Also in the mix is Telemundo's Colombian production partner RTI and Miami-based Grupo Angel Gonzalez, according to Cisneros.
Quebecor unit files for bankruptcy
TORONTO — Quebec printing giant Quebecor World secured bankruptcy protection in Canada and the U.S. on Monday, a day after it failed to agree to terms on a financial rescue package. Justice Robert Mongeon of the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal granted creditor protection to Quebecor World after he was told by company lawyers that the commercial printer, a division of Quebec media giant Quebecor, was within days of running out of money. Earlier in the day, Quebecor and its cable and broadcast division Quebecor Media said in a statement that they would be unaffected by the decision of Quebecor World to go to court for creditor protection.