news digest


Reuters OKs $17.2 bil sale to Thomson

Canadian publisher Thomson Corp. has agreed to buy Reuters for about £8.7 billion ($17.2 billion). Reuters Founders Share Co., which has the power to block a change of ownership at the 156-year-old company, backed the deal, but it still needs regulatory clearance and shareholder approval. Multinational companies need approval from regulators in Brussels, Washington and elsewhere to complete mergers. With 34% of the financial information market, the new Thomson-Reuters will overtake privately owned Bloomberg Lp. as the world's largest provider of news and data for professional markets, according to the newsletter Inside Market Data.

HDNet ready for 'Action'

Mark Cuban's HDNet said Tuesday that it will produce and finance 15 new episodes of the improv comedy series "Sports Action Team." The network will debut new episodes of the series in high definition starting in the fall, with MGM handling worldwide television distribution of the series exclusively. "Action" is a half-hour semiscripted series that follows the antics of a hapless team of reporters who cover the national sports beat. The series, produced by Chicago-based Tower Productions Inc., debuted on NBC stations in the fall, airing after the network's Sunday night telecasts of NFL games.

TLC and E! put fashion, laughs online

Two cable networks unveiled new broadband programming Tuesday, one focusing on fashion and the other on comedy. "Makeover Train," set to debut June 4 at, is TLC's first original direct-to-broadband series. The 10-webisode show follows the adventures of two expert stylists who ride the Boston subway and choose an unsuspecting commuter for a full fashion makeover. E! Online announced four new original comedy series to roll out separately on its broadband channel the Vine and the wireless platform. They include the animated series "Bad Kitty," the tongue-in-cheek "A Song by Julia," the parody "The Thin Crowd" and the sketch comedy "Varsity Interpretative Dance Squad."

WIFF finishing fund selects finalists

Documentary filmmakers Leyla Leidecker and Cynthia Wade are among the 10 finalists selected for the 2007 Women in Film Foundation's Film Finishing Fund. Winners include Leidecker's documentary "Golden Gloves," Wade's documentary short "Freeheld," Becky Smith's documentary "The Daring Project," Emma Vinluan's "Tea and Justice," Beth Murphy's "Beyond Belief," Lulu Friesdat's "Holler Back," Ginny Martin's "Finding a Way Back," Nicole Quinn's "Racing Daylight," Ilana Trachtman's "Praying With Lior" and a documentary from Linda Pattillo titled "The Breast Cancer Diaries." During the past 22 years, the WIFF Film Finishing Fund has given more than $1.6 million in cash awards and in-kind prizes to filmmakers whose work promotes the goals of the foundation.

Seeger pic to launch Silverdocs

Jim Brown's "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" will kick off Silverdocs 2007 on June 12 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Md. Now in its fifth year, the six-day festival will feature 100 films, special screenings, musical performances and panel discussions. Sarah Robertson's documentary "Arctic Tale," narrated by Queen Latifah, will wrap the festival June 17.