week in review digest


Ch. 4 rebuked for 'Brother' incident

LONDON — Channel 4 has been forced to apologize to viewers for racism on reality show "Celebrity Big Brother" but escaped financial censure after media regulator Ofcom deemed it guilty of "serious editorial misjudgment" in the matter (HR 5/25). The broadcaster was found guilty of breaching editorial guidelines by allowing the bullying of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty in the season of the Endemol-produced reality show that aired at the beginning of the year. The public firestorm over the events generated more than 50,000 complaints to the broadcaster and regulators as well as drawing censure from Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Indian government.

Kaufman, Roach pals at Warners

Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up an original buddy-comedy project from Ken Kaufman, with Jay Roach on board to direct. Roach also is producing with his Everyman Pictures partner Jennifer Perini (HR 5/24). The project, described as an off-center comedy and bought as a pitch, follows two party- loving friends who are as close as brothers. When one of them dies in a fluke accident, the other succumbs to grief until he meets a stranger who eerily resembles his dead friend, only shorter and nerdier. He then sets out to corrupt him and refashion him (a la "Vertigo") into his lost buddy.

Singapore to boost digital R&D

SINGAPORE — The Singapore government has set aside S$40 million ($26 million) to build a "research and development culture in the interactive digital media sector," the Media Development Authority said Friday (HR 5/25). The Microfunding Scheme will offer grants of S$50,000 ($33,000) each to young entrepreneurs and is part of a S$500 million ($327 million) budget announced last year to boost Singapore's interactive digital media sector in the next five years. MDA CEO Christopher Chia said the authority hoped to seed about 750 projects over the period.

BSkyB-ITV deal gets in-depth probe

LONDON — BSkyB Group's acquisition of a 17.9% stake in ITV has been referred to the Competition Commission here, triggering a detailed examination of the satcaster's role in the market (HR 5/25). The inquiry, which is expected to take as long as six months to complete, will conduct a detailed investigation into the effects of Sky's November 2006 swoop on ITV shares, examining both competition and public-interest issues and the specified public-interest consideration relating to the plurality of persons with control of media enterprises. If it finds against the deal, then BSkyB may be forced to offload all or part of the stake.

The Transylvanian 'Job'

LONDON — British director Oliver Parker's new comedy, "I Really Hate My Job," will make its international bow at the sixth annual Transylvanian International Film Festival in a nod to two of the film's leads, Bucharest-born Alexandra Maria Lara and Oana Pellea, the producers said Thursday (HR 5/25). London-based 3DD Prods. said that the Romanian world premiere will see Parker introduce the film along with writer Jennifer Higgie, producer Andrew Higgie and the Romanian actresses.