news digest


Cable nets seek FCC delay on CableCARDs

WASHINGTON — Some of the nation's most prominent cable TV programmers are asking the FCC to continue allowing cable operators to skirt the commission's regulations designed to ultimately allow people to shop for a set-top box like they do for a telephone. In a letter to each of the five commissioners, 11 of the biggest cable program producers from A&E TV Networks to the owners of the Weather Channel asked the commission to extend its waiver of the so-called "integration ban" rule. The networks argued that letting the waiver expire "will adversely affect our ability to provide new and innovative content and services to cable customers." Under FCC regulations, cable operators will be required to include CableCARD technology in their set-top boxes by July 1. Consumer advocates said the corporate arguments are simply a way for the cable companies to keep competition in the set-top box market at bay.

Foster, Gustafson buy out ICM Artists

ICM has sold its classical music and performing arts subsidiary ICM Artists Ltd. to ICMA president and CEO David Foster and executive vp and managing partner Byron Gustafson. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Foster and Gustafson led a management buyout of ICMA in conjunction with Newsweb Artists Llc., a Chicago-based media company. ICMA will retain its name during the transition period, with a new name to be announced later. A subsidiary of ICM since 1976, ICMA represents a wide roster of classical instrumentalists, conductors and vocalists and manages the touring activities of orchestras, dance companies and performing ensembles.

McFadzean on family plan at Wind Dancer

Wind Dancer Films said Thursday that partner David McFadzean will oversee the development of family films at the company. McFadzean, a veteran writer-producer, is involved with three projects for Wind Dancer: "Hello, I Love You," "The Fulton Street Gang" and "The Motel Galileo." He plans to develop four to five additional projects over the next year. "I'm thrilled to put my energies into family comedies. After eight years of 'Home Improvement,' I know there is a substantial audience out there," said McFadzean, creator of the 1990s sitcom. "My goal is to keep production costs down while delivering the highest quality entertainment."

Dow Jones b'bands with Brightcove

NEW YORK — Dow Jones Online has paired with Internet TV provider Brightcove to create a broadband business news/lifestyle video channel. The broadband player, which will feature as many as 50 new pieces of video per day by reporters, columnists and bloggers from Dow Jones units, has been integrated into the Wall Street Journal Online, and Barron's Online. The site launched about a month ago in beta but was announced Thursday.

Kosmic opens doors, buys 'Getting Down'

The newly formed theatrical distribution company Kosmic Films, headed by CEO Sarah Wasserman, is launching with the acquisition of "The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down," director Paul Sapiano's comic look at sex, drugs and life. Kosmic already has signed on to produce and distribute a follow-up, "The Boys & Girls Guide to Being Gay." The company also is handling all rights for the children's film "Doubting Thomas," which it helped produce. Gene Irwin is heading Kosmic's distribution arm. Based in Beverly Hills, Kosmic is unit of India-based Kosmic Films Entertainment.