news digest


'Galactica' remains in orbit

Sci Fi Channel has not decided to end "Battlestar Galactica" after its upcoming fourth season despite comments made to the contrary last week by some of its cast members at the Saturn Awards. "Battlestar" star Edward James Olmos was quoted as saying that the next batch of episodes were definitely the last ones, but Sci Fi released a statement Friday from executive producer David Eick. "For those of you have been paying attention over the years, this is not the first time Eddie has made an announcement about the possibility of the show's end. I promise you that when (executive producer) Ron (Moore) and I make a decision about 'Galactica's' future, we'll let you know."

Source: EC to approve Uni-BMG deal

Vivendi's Universal Music will receive approval from the European Commission to buy Bertelsmann's BMG Music Publishing, a source familiar with the matter said late last week. The approval will come this month after Vivendi offered to sell some of its business to assuage the EC's fears that competition might be hampered by the tie-up. Impala, a group of independent record producers and publishers, had wanted but will not get the companies to offer "behavioral remedies" — promises to change some business practices, the source said. Universal's €1.63 billion ($2.05 billion) bid for BMG would create the world's largest music publisher.

Albrecht pleads no contest

Ex-HBO chief executive Chris Albrecht settled a criminal domestic violence charge Friday when his lawyer pleaded no contest on his behalf to battery and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine, authorities said. Albrecht's girlfriend, Karla Jensen, declined medical treatment and told police she did not want to press charges. Albrecht's lawyer, David Chesnoff, appeared before a Las Vegas justice of the peace, who imposed a six-month suspended sentence with a provision that Albrecht attend domestic-violence counseling as well as an informal order for Albrecht to stay out of legal trouble for a year. Albrecht lost his job after he was arrested May 6 outside the MGM Grand hotel-casino, where police reported seeing him "grabbing a white female by the throat with both hands."

Emmis charts weak Q4 on slow radio

NEW YORK — Broadcaster Emmis Communications reported weaker fiscal fourth-quarter financials as its radio stations in New York and Los Angeles continued to face challenges, with management predicting that they will remain a drag on results for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, president, chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan, who controls Emmis and failed with an offer to take it private in a buyout last year, acknowledged Friday continued market chatter about another buyout attempt but declined comment. The company swung from a profit of $138.9 million in the year-ago quarter to a loss of $10.5 million, while revenue fell 4.6% to $78.6 million.

'Violin' is a double pick at SF festival

Francisco Vargas Quevedo's "The Violin" won the Skyy Prize and the audience award for best narrative feature at the 50th annual San Francisco International Film Festival, which wrapped last week with a record 325 screenings that drew an estimated 84,000 viewers worldwide. Other fest winners included Jeanne Waltz's "Parting Shot/Pas Douce," which took the FIPRESCI prize for first-time filmmakers, and Mary Olive Smith's "A Walk to Beautiful," the audience award winner for best documentary feature.