news digest


Regal deal brings Imax count to 21

Giant-screen firm Imax Corp. and Regal Cinemas, a unit of film exhibitor Regal Entertainment Group, unveiled a joint-venture deal Tuesday for five Imax theater systems. The agreement will bring Regal's total number of Imax theaters to 21 by second-quarter 2009. It includes the first North American order for Imax's digital-projection technology, which is in the advanced stages of development. Imax and Regal previously struck a joint-venture deal covering two Imax theater systems.

'Russert' reports to MSNBC

NEW YORK — Tim Russert's eponymous weekend talk show is moving from CNBC to MSNBC. The move comes as the business channel prepares to do head-to-head battle with Fox Business Network for the hearts and minds of Wall Street and Main Street. Its cable-news sibling is trying to shore up its reputation as the go-to place for politics. Meanwhile, "Meet the Press," which Russert moderates, celebrated 10 consecutive seasons on top of the Sunday morning ratings with wins in viewership and the adults 25-54 demographic.

Counterfeit buyers feeling guilty

WASHINGTON — More American consumers are buying bootleg recordings, but they also say they believe such purchases should be a crime, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. Despite the widespread black-market purchasing, nearly 75% of those surveyed said they would like to see stricter counterfeiting laws, and nine out of 10 believe it should be a criminal act to make those purchases, according to the study underwritten by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Northeast is the nation's hotbed for counterfeit buying and selling, with 31% of those surveyed making a bootleg buy; 25% of the Los Angeles residents surveyed pirated merchandise.

TBS takes a trip to Kaneva's worlds

NEW YORK — Turner Broadcasting System has signed a one-year deal with tech firm Kaneva to develop virtual world offshoots of its properties. The agreement will enable Turner's new products group to build and test virtual worlds inside the Kaneva community using that company's tools and technology. The sites will have embedded video players with streaming content from the Time Warner company as well as social networking and 3-D capabilities.

Bush gains further 'Access'

Billy Bush has signed a new multiyear contract to remain as co-anchor of "Access Hollywood." Bush has been with NBC Universal's syndicated entertainment newsmagazine since joining the show as East Coast correspondent in December 2001. Bush has covered the red carpet for the Golden Globes and Grammys and hosted ABC's live preshow for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Oscars.

NHL's goal of tier channel appears near

NEW YORK — The NHL has renewed its Center Ice premium package with cable and satellite operators as it gets set to launch an NHL channel as early as this week. The deals for Center Ice are with DirecTV, Dish Network and In Demand, the latter the buying partner for MSOs Comcast, Cox and Time Warner. A published report this week suggested that the NHL also was nearing agreement with cable and satellite operators for a spot on a sports tier for the NHL Network that would launch this week. The league declined comment, but sources said an announcement would be made within days.