news digest


Sony seals fund deal with Relativity

As expected, Sony Pictures Entertainment closed a deal with Relativity Media on Monday to co-finance their slate of films for the next five years (HR 1/31). The third deal of its kind, set up as a revolving credit facility, was announced by Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group COO Bob Osher. Called Beverly Blvd Llc., the fund will invest in the "majority" of films released by Columbia Pictures, likely omitting previously successful sequels and other franchise titles like the upcoming "Spider-Man 3."

Rubin talking with Columbia

Columbia Records is in talks with producer Rick Rubin to take the role of co-chairman of the label, sources confirmed. Rubin, nominated for Grammys this year for his work with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dixie Chicks, heads his own imprint, American Recordings, distributed by Warner Bros. Records under the Warner Music Group umbrella. He just moved American — which is home to Johnny Cash and Tom Petty — to Warner a year ago. Rubin reportedly has another three years left on his existing agreement with WMG. and Yahoo! guide 'Lost' fans

Disney-ABC Television Group is set today to launch the "Lost Survivor Guide," an online special allowing "Lost" viewers to explore the lives of Oceanic Flight 815's survivors beyond the series. Hosted by the show's executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and available now on and Yahoo! TV before Wednesday's spring premiere, the online segment extends the show's characters by illustrating who and what they were before the crash and how the island has changed them. The "Lost" island will be explored more in-depth, which may reveal additional secrets.

Burman joins int'l ATAS

John Burman, former international general manager at The Hollywood Reporter, has been named director of development at the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. In his new position, he will be responsible for securing new sponsorships for the academy worldwide and also will work with current and existing sponsors on the academy initiatives they support, including International Academy Day, the International Emmy World Television Festival and the International Emmy Awards Gala. Burman will be based at the academy's New York headquarters.

Reality series makes news for TV Guide

TV Guide Channel has gone into production on its first original reality series, "Making News: Texas Style," which will give viewers an inside look at the inner workings of a local news station in Midland-Odessa, Texas. The 13-episode weekly series, centered around CBS affiliate KOSA, began filming in January entirely on location in Midland-Odessa.

Ion, Bodog in late-night block party

NEW YORK — Ion Media Networks has partnered with Bodog Entertainment for a late-night programming block, the companies said Monday. The programming includes the rights for two young-adult-targeted shows owned by Bodog, "BodogFight" mixed-martial arts and "Calvin Ayre Wildcard Poker." Ayre is founder of Bodog Entertainment. The programming begins Feb. 13 with "BodogFight: St. Petersburg" at 11 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays.