news digest


Late changes might disrupt Moscow fest

MOSCOW — Interfest, the company that has long run the Moscow International Film Festival, has been ousted in favor of organizers with closer connections to the fest's president-director Nikita Mikhalkov, Russian media reported Tuesday. The move — just three months before the late-June opening of Russia's top international movie showcase — threatens to make 2007 a disastrous year for a festival that has long been criticized for poor organization and autocratic leadership. Long-standing events company Interfest failed in its bid to win the annual tender for running the festival in what agency head Mikhail Shvydkoi told business daily Kommersant had been a "fair competition."

Court TV alive with 'Death'

Court TV's back-to-back premieres of its first scripted series, " 'Til Death Do Us Part," featuring John Waters, drew 1.2 million total viewers and 526,000 adults 18-49 from 10-11 p.m. Monday. That marks a 27% improvement in the slot from a year ago in total viewers and a 33% increase in the demo. The numbers helped Court TV rank in the top 10 among basic cable networks for the night.

Ofcom probes British pay TV supply role

LONDON — U.K. media regulator Ofcom has agreed to launch an investigation into the British pay TV market after receiving a joint submission from cable companies Virgin Media, Setanta and British Telecom. The investigation comes after 3 million Virgin Media homes lost access to Sky's basic entertainment channels because the companies could not agree on the pricing of carriage contracts. The investigation will look at the program-supply role of satcaster British Sky Broadcasting and other participants and will consider whether the Competition Commission should further examine issues of market dominance.

CBS Corp. wins play for MaxPreps

NEW YORK — CBS Corp. said Tuesday that it has bought, a site that covers high school sports nationwide. Terms of the deal were not announced. MaxPreps, with a database of 1 million high school athletes, will become a part of CSTV. CSTV already has a major position in college sports, which not only includes the linear channel but also as well as 215 official athletic sites and a broadband service.

Tribeca game for sports lineup

The inaugural Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, a rebranded collection of 14 sports and competition-themed films from the current Tribeca Film Festival lineup, announced new advisory board members and attendees for a May 5 outdoor Sports Saturday event. The board will include Mark Cuban, Spike Lee and former Sen. Bill Bradley, among others. Snowboarder Sean White will hold interactive demonstrations alongside members alongside members from the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball other organizations.

'Three amigos' seek film support

MEXICO CITY — Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron met this week with Mexico's new president to urge more support for the struggling film industry. The trio said they had met recently with President Felipe Calderon in a bid to garner more backing for the industry; they plan to meet today with lawmakers. The "three amigos" are pressuring the federal government to create better distribution and exhibition opportunities for local production companies.