news digest


Sides prep for more talks in Canada strike

TORONTO — Striking Canadian actors and North American producers are headed to the bargaining table again. But even as talks to end the three-week-old actors strike are set to resume Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto, this time with a government-appointed mediator in the room, neither side appears poised to compromise over the thorny issue of digital media compensation for performers. "We can't afford to do it wrong," Brian Topp, executive director of ACTRA Toronto, the Canadian actors union's biggest branch, said Friday. John Barrack, the CFTPA's chief negotiator, said both sides need to "back up" on the issue of digital media compensation to hammer out a labor deal.

City Lights treks to 'Brooklyn'

City Lights Media Group has acquired North American distribution rights to the dramatic thriller "Brooklyn Rules," starring Alec Baldwin, City Lights CEO Danny Fisher said Friday. Directed by Michael Corrente and written by Terence Winter, the film, set in 1985, tells the story of three lifelong friends in the mob world. Freddie Prinze Jr., Mena Suvari, Scott Caan and Jerry Ferrara also star in the movie, set for a late spring release.

Matlin, Zakman Prods. among 'Knights'

Marlee Matlin has joined forces with Stephen M. Zakman Prods. to produce the feature film "Silent Knights," an original screenplay from screenwriter-director Doug McKeon that will film in the fall in and around Pittsburgh. Matlin will exec produce through her banner, Solo One Prods., alongside producing partner Jack Jason. Ray Miller of Archetype, McKeon's manager, also will produce. "Knights" revolves around a Division 1A college football coach who struggles to lead a Division III deaf football program after a near-fatal car crash.

NBC solidifies launch dates for two series

NBC has set premiere dates for two midseason series: the drama "The Black Donnellys" and the comedy "Andy Barker, P.I." "Donnellys," from Oscar-winning "Crash" writers Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, will debut March 5 and run in the Monday 10 p.m. slot, following hit freshman drama "Heroes." First-year drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," which airs in the Monday 10 p.m. period, will go on hiatus, with a return date yet to be determined. "Barker," a gumshoe comedy starring Andy Richter and co-created by Conan O'Brien, will join NBC's Thursday lineup beginning March 15. It will air in the 9:30 p.m. slot for five weeks, with the time period's current occupant, "30 Rock," returning April 19.

Pantle now playing at UTA

Veteran music agent and former House of Blues executive John Pantle has joined UTA's music department as a senior agent. Pantle, who most recently worked for three years as a senior agent at the Agency Group, will bring to UTA clients including Cafe Tacuba, Molotov, Bebe, Nitzer Ebb and Madness, UTA said Friday. Pantle mostly handles rock and Latin artists.

Majesco's future concerns auditors

NEW YORK — Video game and digital entertainment developer Majesco Entertainment Co. said that its auditing firm is questioning the company's ability to continue operating amid continuing losses. Majesco said Friday that Goldstein Golub Kessler has included a comment questioning its future as a "going concern" in the company's financial report for its fiscal year ending Oct. 31.