news digest


Chandler offer for Tribune gets extension

An offer for Tribune Co. from its largest shareholder, Chandler Trusts, which was set to expire Wednesday, has been extended, a source close to the Chandler family said. Chandler Trusts, which in June urged Tribune to break itself up or consider a sale, proposed taking the company private two weeks ago in a deal valuing Tribune at $7.6 billion, or $31.70 a share. Under the deal, Chandler would buy Tribune's newspaper business and spin off its broadcasting unit. Tribune shares closed Wednesday at $30.54.

First Look Int'l opens U.K. operation

LONDON — First Look International, the overseas sales and financing arm of First Look Studios in Los Angeles, said Wednesday that it has opened a U.K. base of operations and hired Celsius Entertainment's Tim Grohne to lead the unit as vp international sales. "This is a logical development for our rapidly growing international sales operation," First Look International president Stuart Ford said. "The London base will allow us to have much more day-to-day contact with European distributors." FLI also announced hires for its Los Angeles operations: Ruzanna Kegeyan is joining as vp international sales from Bob Yari's Syndicate Films, and Catherine Quantschnigg, who joins from Showtime International, is director of international sales.

CBS board addition OK by NYSE

CBS Corp. said Wednesday that it has added TV and film producer and veteran executive Leonard Goldberg to its board. The addition of Goldberg, who was president of 20th Century Fox in the late 1980s and worked at ABC, among other places, means that a majority of the CBS board is now independent in accordance with the New York Stock Exchange listing requirements, the company said.

BBC extends global arm via Freehand deal

SYDNEY — The BBC's push into global production has accelerated with commercial arm BBC Worldwide's acquisition of a 25% stake in Australian independent production shingle the Freehand Group, the British broadcaster said Wednesday. The Australian investment is part of a wider global strategy to become active in local content production and marks the first deal of this nature in any market since the broadcaster announced its intention to expand into the international production sector last year, a BBC spokeswoman said. BBC Worldwide's stake in Freehand gives it the right to distribute new Freehand programs and formats globally and gives Freehand first-look production rights in Australia and New Zealand for all BBC and indie formats to which BBC Worldwide holds rights.

Mediaset sues soccer league over scandal

ROME — Italian broadcasting giant Mediaset sued the country's top soccer league Wednesday, seeking damages for what the company called "a loss in viewer interest" in the wake of a game-fixing scandal that broke last year. In the suit, Mediaset is seeking damages against the €61 million ($79.9 million) fee it paid for the right to broadcast the majority of Serie A soccer matches. Soccer broadcasting was a central part of Mediaset's development into Italy's largest private broadcaster and the main rival for state broadcaster RAI. Mediaset is controlled by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who also controls AC Milan, a Serie A team.

McLaurin joins MPAA to help thwart piracy

WASHINGTON — In a move to strengthen the industry's attempt to convince college students that stealing movies is a bad idea, the MPAA on Wednesday appointed a former Georgetown University administrator as the trade group's education czar. Stewart McLaurin, former chief of staff to the president of Georgetown, was named executive vp education affairs, MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said. McLaurin starts his new job today.