news digest


Fox puts rush on 'X3' for Blu-ray Disc

Seeking to ride PlayStation 3 momentum, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is rush-releasing "X-Men: The Last Stand" to Blu-ray Disc on Nov. 14, three days before Sony's next-generation video game console makes its U.S. debut. Executives from studios supporting the high-definition optical disc format believe PS3 will be the Trojan horse that gives Blu-ray an unbeatable advantage over rival HD-DVD. PS3 will come with a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive, while Microsoft's Xbox 360 has an add-on HD-DVD drive available.

Sundance sets star lineup for birthday bash

The Sundance Institute will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an evening of film, theater and music Monday in New York. Hosted by honorary chair Robert Redford and celebration committee chair Glenn Close, the event at the Metropolitan Pavilion will include a half-hour program written and directed by Paul Dinello ("Strangers With Candy"), hosted by actress Jackie Hoffman as well as performances from Miranda July, Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel, among others. The evening will conclude with a montage of clips from films supported by the Sundance Institute.

Channel 4 boss warns of impending ad shift

LONDON — Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan on Wednesday warned that broadcasters face "deep structural" changes in the advertising market after revealing that Google's U.K. ad revenue will exceed that of Channel 4 for the first time ever this year. In an interview with the Financial Times, Duncan revealed that the pubcaster will report advertising revenue of about £800 million ($1.5 billion) in 2006, compared with £900 million ($1.7 billion) in U.K. revenue expected by Google. "People need to wake up and realize that this is not just a cyclical issue," Duncan told the newspaper.

BBC News staffers OK 12-hour strike

LONDON — BBC News production teams have voted for strike action after being told that they will have to work more shifts, unions said Wednesday. More than 95% of staffers polled voted in favor of a 12-hour strike over the issue of planned changes to working hours that will result in compulsory additional shifts after shift lengths are shortened from 12 hours to eight-10 hours. Overall, the amount of hours worked is not being changed, meaning staff will have to work extra shifts to compensate. The strike plans so far do not include journalists, but producers, cameramen and technicians could be among those involved.

BBC America adds 4 shows for Jan. bows

BBC America said Wednesday that it has acquired four U.K. programs set to make their U.S. premieres in January. The drama "Soundproof," a BBC and Blast Films co-production distributed by BBC Worldwide, will debut Jan. 15; the reality lifestyle series "Turn Back Your Body Clock," produced and distributed by Celador, will debut Jan. 17, along with interior design series "The Wow Factor," an IWC Media production distributed by RDF; and the comedy series "Feel the Force," produced and distributed by Catherine Bailey Prods., will debut Jan. 19.

Warner goes 3-for-1 with DVD line

Much has been written about the greater capacity of next-generation optical disc formats, but Warner Home Video is pushing the proverbial envelope with standard DVD. The studio Wednesday announced a new line of "triple feature" DVDs in which classics from the expansive Warner library will be bundled, three to a disc. A total of 57 films will be released Tuesday on 19 DVDs. The highlights include 12 classic Westerns, six starring John Wayne and six featuring Randolph Scott.