Around the World- week in review


Rather annoyed

Dan Rather, right, will not be going gentle into that good night. The longtime CBS anchor is suing over his high-profile 2006 dismissal. The $70 million suit, which claims Rather was made a scapegoat and isolated within the organization, targets the network, parent Viacom, Sumner Redstone, Leslie Moonves and former CBS News chief Andrew Heyward.

Exiled HBO boss Chris Albrecht has resurfaced at the helm of sports powerhouse IMG's media group. His partnership with finan-cier Ted Forstmann will see him run a $250 million private-equity venture for media holdings, where he's expected to navigate a course toward acquisitions.

No business like ...

The growing tension between Paramount and DreamWorks founders Steven Spielberg and David Geffen spilled into the open this week as Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told a Goldman Sachs confab that an exit by the duo — whose contracts are up in 2008 — would be "completely immaterial." A day later, DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg called the comments "ill-advised," adding that "calmer heads need to prevail."

If Apple's iTunes thinks talks with News Corp. will be any easier than they've been with NBC Universal, they can forget it. Peter Chernin told attendees at Britain's Royal Television Society confab that he expects content-licensing discussions to be "prickly, dicey and contentious."

Microsoft's appeal of a $613 million fine leveled three years ago by the European Commission was swatted down by the EU's Court of First Instance. The judgment backed the fine as well as the EC's order that the software giant make its Windows operating system more compatible with rival systems. Microsoft hasn't said whether it will appeal.

Down Paraguay way

Señor Gary Sanchez might only live in our hearts, but HBO's series pickup of the Will Fer-rell-Adam McKay pilot about a pro baseball player-turned-gym teacher is all real. The comedy joins recently ordered Alan Ball drama "True Blood" as the net continues to line up heavy hitters.

"CSI" masterminds Jerry Bruckheimer and Danny Cannon have a new series at CBS, an update of British sci-fi series "Eleventh Hour." The penalty on the pilot pickup is rumored to amount to a 13-episode production commitment.

"Shield" creator Shawn Ryan inked a new three-year deal at 20th Century Fox Television, and veteran exec Marney Hochman Nash will run the shingle being set up under it, Midd Kidd Prods.

Finishing strong

A lackluster sales scene at the Toronto International Film Festival picked up near the end as First Look shelled out $3 million for GreeneStreet's Aaron Eckhart starrer "Bill." Other last-minute deals saw music docu "Joy Division" go to the Weinstein Co., while IFC Films grabbed U.S. rights to Guy Madden's "My Winnipeg."

Hometown hero David Cronenberg beat out U.S. indies "Juno" and "Body of War" to take Toronto's top prize — the audience award — for his Russian gangster tale "Eastern Promises."

A letter from "Valkyrie" scribe Christopher McQuarrie put the Tom Cruise starrer back in the German government's good graces. A Defense Ministry spokesman cited the missive as the reason the World War II-set film will now be able to shoot on location at the politically sensitive Benderblock building.

Fox's addition of ostensibly younger-skewing host Ryan Seacrest did nothing to keep Emmy from tanking in the 18-49 demo. The Primetime Emmy Awards dropped a steep 17% from NBC's telecast a year ago and drew just 13.1 million total viewers, the lowest since 1990.

End credits

Jennifer Garner will haunt Matthew McConaughey's dreams in New Line's "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past." ... Zoe Zaldana will fill Nichelle Nichols' boots as Uhura in J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" update. ... Touchstone's "Confessions of a Shopaholic" landed Isla Fisher.