news digest


Gemstar buys add sites to

NEW YORK — Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. said Thursday that it has purchased several television-focused Web sites.,, certain assets of eVokeTV Inc. and have been acquired to complement, the online network's flagship site. The company also will relaunch, purchased in June, on Feb. 28. had 3.6 million visitors per month last year according to Nielsen//NetRatings. The newly acquired sites, including Jump the Shark, have a combined audience of about 1 million users.

Ovitz sued by ex-employee over Pellicano

Arthur Bernier, a one-time employee of Michael Ovitz's now-defunct Artists Management Group, is suing Ovitz, disgraced private investigator Anthony Pellicano and others for alleged violation of his right to privacy. The suit, filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court and circulated Thursday, claims that Ovitz hired Pellicano to uncover embarrassing information on Bernier after he was terminated and sued his former employer. It alleges improprieties including disclosure of police records and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Quebec forms IATSE-AQTIS truce group

MONTREAL — The Quebec government on Thursday intervened to referee a possible negotiated end to an 18-month turf war between rival film production unions over Hollywood movie shoots in Montreal. Quebec culture minister Line Beauchamp said she has agreed to form a working group of industry experts to restore Hollywood's presence locally by sharing jurisdiction over behind-the-camera technicians' jobs on U.S. movie shoots between IATSE and a rival Quebec union, the Alliance quebecoise des techniciens de l'image et du son (AQTIS).

Ruling favors Presley group over Passport

A federal judge in Los Angeles has ordered Passport International Prods. to pay $2.8 million in damages and legal fees to Elvis Presley Enterprises and songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller for releasing a 2002 DVD set without permission. Passport had appealed a previous U.S. District Court ruling but lost in a 2006 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent the matter back for a judgment ruling, handed down Wednesday.

TBS Inc. ups Kampfe to exec vp, CFO

John Kampfe has been named to the top financial post at Turner Broadcasting System Inc. In his new role as executive vp and CFO that becomes effective April 2, he will have executive oversight of all financial operations of the company related to its worldwide news, entertainment, animation, sports, advertising sales and distribution units as well as managing the operations of its properties unit. Kampfe joins the TBS Inc. executive committee chaired by company chairman and CEO Phil Kent, to whom he reports. Kampfe, based in Atlanta at Turner Broadcasting headquarters, succeeds Vicky Miller, who late last year announced plans to retire as CFO after more than 15 years with Turner Broadcasting.

Steiner adding space with tower revamp

Steiner Studios, located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, is expanding with the renovation of a 289,000-square-foot, seven-story tower. In addition to more production space for film, television, commercials and photo shoots, the building will be a resource for postproduction, animation and other media-related companies and is expected to bring an additional 550 jobs to the yard. Steiner Studios chairman Douglas Steiner and Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., announced the expansion of the two-year-old studio Thursday.