news digest


Kirch demanding $1.8 bil in lawsuit

COLOGNE, Germany — Ex-mogul Leo Kirch is demanding €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion) from Deutsche Bank and the bank's former CEO Rolf Breuer in a marathon corporate case sparked by the collapse of rights giant KirchMedia in 2002. It had been speculated that Kirch would be demanding in excess of $1 billion, but the first confirmation came in a letter from Kirch to Deutsche Bank that was made public Friday. Kirch blames Breuer for his company's failure.

Quite a pair: O'Reilly, Colbert ratings jump

The much-anticipated showdown between Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert reaped strong ratings for both of their programs Thursday. The anchors took turns interviewing each other on their respective programs, pushing Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" to its largest audience ever, 1.7 million total viewers, up 42% over the series' 2006 average. Although "Colbert," which airs at 11:30 p.m., was topped by Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," which gleaned nearly 3 million at 8 p.m., "Colbert" scored more viewers in the 25-54 demo.

EMI seeks $100 mil in InfoSpace suit

NEW YORK — Music publishing giant EMI has filed a $100 million lawsuit against InfoSpace, one of the world's biggest ringtone providers. In a complaint filed Jan. 12 in U.S. District Court in New York, EMI alleges that InfoSpace and its subsidiaries, Moviso and Premium Wireless Services, have been underpaying royalties and selling ringtones for songs to which they hold no licensing rights. The complaint also states that the InfoSpace defendants "have engaged in a deliberate effort to frustrate and obstruct the audit rights held by plaintiffs pursuant to license agreements."

DLT taps Powell as head of development

Former BBC head of drama Jonathan Powell is set to lead DLT Entertainment's programming development in the U.K., DLT president Don Taffner Jr. said Friday. Powell is tasked with increasing development and production of DLT's comedy and drama output alongside John Bartlett, DLT's director of comedy and drama. Powell served six years as the BBC's head of drama and another six years as controller at BBC1.

MTV Nets Europe topper Guild leaving

LONDON — MTV Networks Europe president and CEO Simon Guild is quitting the company after 14 years to take on undisclosed "new challenges," he said Friday. Guild, who has played a major role in growing the MTV Europe business and brand, will assist colleagues during a handover period but will not renew his contract.

Okun named chair of VES

Jeffrey Okun has been elected chair of the Visual Effects Society for a one-year term by the group's new board and will succeed outgoing chair Carl Rosendahl. Other newly elected board leaders are first vice chair Ray Feeney, second vice chair Tim McGovern, treasure Ray Scalice and secretary Pam Hogarth. New members include Mat Beck, Jerome Chen, Jonathan Erland, Warren Franklin, Hogarth, Gene Kozicki, John Knoll, Marshall Krasser, Tim McGovern, Loni Peristere, Tim Sarnoff, Ray Scalise, Mark Stetson, Richard Winn Taylor II and Susan Zwerman.
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