news digest


CNBC rolls out new Web site

NEW YORK — CNBC today took the wraps off a newly designed Web site that brings together several streams of live and on-demand video with graphics, data and analysis designed for a financial-news audience. has been in the works for almost a year, well before the business channel's deal with MSN expired. It will include three types of video, including more than 75 video clips per day — both from the cable channel and original to the Web site — and three to eight hours of live streamed events daily, all free to anyone who visits the site. Having its own Web site is sort of back to the future for CNBC, which produced its own site from 1998-2001, when it signed a licensing agreement with MSN. That five-year deal expired last month. "The timing was right for us to go it alone again," CNBC president Mark Hoffman said.

Complete Communications acquired

LONDON — Dutch interactive format venture 2waytraffic has acquired Complete Communications International, the company behind the hit game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," in a deal valued at €106 million ($210 million) and has resumed trading on London's secondary investment market, the company said Friday. 2waytraffic had been rumored to be close to a deal for Complete Communications, parent company of "Millionaire" producer Celador International, since July, when its shares were temporarily suspended from the Alternative Investment Market. Knight Whitehill Prods. and the River Studio, which own the business assets and rights to the show, also are included in the deal.

CW's 'Model' has British companion

On the heels of this cycle's finale of "America's Next Top Model," the CW is set to air two specials featuring highlights from the first two installments of "Britain's Next Top Model," which is based on Tyra Banks' original show. "Next Top Model: British Invasion" airs from 8-10 p.m. Dec. 13, and Part 2 airs from 8-10 p.m. Dec. 20. (Part 1 will air again from 8-10 p.m. Dec. 17, and Part 2 will repeat at 8-10 p.m. Dec. 24.) The finale of "ANTM" airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Berlusconi corruption trial begins

ROME — The long-awaited corruption trial of media tycoon and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi got under way Friday with attorneys for each side filing documents, and though Berlusconi was not present, it seems certain he will be forced to appear in the coming weeks. The trial has been delayed twice: once to rule on a motion that the judge be removed, and once after Berlusconi collapsed at a political rally and spent three days in the hospital. The billionaire media tycoon has been dogged by legal problems for most of the past 15 years, but he has never appeared in court to answer charges.

Jury selected for contest

Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Paul Schrader, Neil LaBute, Zak Penn, John Madden, Colin Firth and Bill Pullman are among the jurors participating in a new film competition from Directors will submit one- to three-minute shorts, and winners will receive $2,000 and $3,000 awards every other week. After 15 finalists are chosen, one winner will be awarded a feature film production deal with the site and its principals Eden Rock Media, Deepak Nayar of Kintop Pictures, Tim Levy of Future Film Group Holdings, Kurt Woolner of Film Finances and Robert Herman of Stink Ltd. Film uploads will be accepted Dec. 15-23.
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