the world digest


Marathon talks

ROME — Italian publisher De Agostini has agreed to terms to acquire control of French TV production company Marathon, sources close to the deal said Thursday, further cementing the company's push into television and films. The deal — reportedly worth more than €250 million ($343 million) — was finalized this week and will be announced in the coming days. Marathon is France's second-largest television production company, trailing only the French unit of Dutch producer Endemol.

Sat.1's Kausch out

COLOGNE, Germany — Thomas Kausch, respected head of news at Berlin-based network Sat.1, has resigned from the channel following major cuts of the channel's news staff, Sat.1 confirmed Thursday. Kausch was a widely respected news anchor for German public broadcaster ZDF when he was hired by Sat.1 in 2004 to boost its news credibility. He gave the channel's coverage a much-needed polish but failed to help Sat.1's ratings, which dropped 1% last year. Sat.1 parent ProSiebenSat.1 this week canceled three Sat.1 newsmagazine programs and fired 55 employees.

Riches no 'Secret'

SYDNEY — Australian TV producer-turned-self-help guru Rhonda Byrne made her first appearance on local business magazine BRW's Entertainers Rich List this year, taking the No. 11 spot after DVD and book sales of her "The Secret" netted her AUS$14 million ($12 million). For the third year in a row, children's entertainers the Wiggles topped the list with AUS$50 million ($43 million) for the year. Nicole Kidman saw her 2006 earnings grow by AUS$12.7 million to AUS$35 million ($30 million) to take second, while Hugh Jackman was the top-earning Aussie male with AUS$30 million ($26.4 million).