news digest


Baron Cohen friend sues over 'Ali G'

An unidentified former acquaintance of Sacha Baron Cohen is suing the actor over a reference to her in an episode of the cable comedy "Da Ali G Show." In a suit filed Feb. 9 in Los Angeles Superior Court and circulated Thursday, the Jane Doe plaintiff said Baron Cohen and HBO had agreed to have the irksome reference rendered inaudible. But in some recent airings of the episode — involving an interview of writer Gore Vidal by Baron Cohen's faux-rapper character Ali G — the plaintiff's name could be plainly heard, according to the suit.

ABC ready for 'Road'

ABC's midseason drama "October Road" will premiere March 15 in the 10 p.m. Thursday slot. Meanwhile, the network's benched "Six Degrees," which launched in the fall in the 10 p.m. Thursday slot, will return with original episodes on a new night, Friday. "Road," from ABC TV Studio and GroupM Entertainment, is guaranteed huge sampling as its premiere will air after an original episode of ABC's top series, "Grey's Anatomy." "Road" stars Bryan Greenberg as an author who goes back to his hometown to get over his writer's block. Laura Prepon and Tom Berenger co-star. The serialized drama "Degrees," which was put on hiatus, will return to the schedule March 23, airing in the 9 p.m. Friday slot.

Apple, Cisco reach deal over iPhone

Cisco Systems Inc. and Apple Inc. have agreed to share the "iPhone" name, but both companies are staying tightlipped about what future products might come from the resulting deal. The settlement was announced late Wednesday in Cisco's trademark-infringement lawsuit, which was filed last month in San Francisco federal court and threatened to derail Apple's use of the iPhone name for its much-hyped new iPod-cellular phone gadget, which is set to go on sale in June. The companies said Apple will be allowed to use the name in exchange for exploring wide-ranging interoperability between the companies' products in the areas of security, consumer and business communications.

Temp job for L.A. Coliseum

The Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games unveiled a $112 million temporary enhancement to the Los Angeles Coliseum that would add 204 luxury suites, sun shading, guest facilities and a reappearance of the running track to the stadium should the SCCOG win its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Coliseum, which opened in 1921, hosted the Games in 1932 and 1984.

'Cyborg' to close SXSW film festival

The South by Southwest Film Festival has selected Park Chan-wook's surreal romance "I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK" as its closing-night film. The South Korean feature, from the cult director of "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," will be making its North American premiere March 17 at the Austin fest, which kicks off March 9. Other films added to the SXSW slate Thursday include D.J. Caruso's thriller "Disturbia" and three new documentaries: Eric Chaikin's "A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar …," Kris Carr's "Crazy Sexy Cancer" and Shannon O'Rourke's "Maybe Baby."

B'buster OKs plan to sell Aussie ops

Blockbuster said Thursday that it has agreed to sell its Australian subsidiary and grant master franchise rights to rental chain Video Ezy as part of a plan to divest its foreign operations. Video Ezy has applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for clearance and expects a decision soon. Blockbuster shares rose 1.4% on Thursday to $6.78.