the world digest


Hanging up

AMSTERDAM — Dutch commercial broadcaster SBS has become the latest, and final, local channel to announce the cancellation of its call-in TV programs. Four other networks — RTL Netherlands, SBS 6, Net5 and Veronica — already had announced plans to pull the plug on programs that invite viewers to call in for a fee. The move is the result of investigations by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, which, in September, raided the offices of SBS Broadcasting, RTL Group and producers Endemol and 2waytraffic under the suspicion that they were breaking gambling laws in Holland.

Looking close

LONDON — The BBC will examine the way its news and factual coverage is panning out amid increasing devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The move by the BBC Trust is billed as an impartiality review and comes on the heels of feedback from the Trust's Audience Councils as well as audience research, the organization said. The study will analyze coverage of the four nations during the England local elections and national elections in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in the spring.

'Top' modeling

SYDNEY — Australian broadcaster SBS will be the first broadcaster outside the U.K. to make its own version of the BBC's hugely popular motoring entertainment series "Top Gear." Under a deal announced Monday, SBS will air a local version of the show in 2008 and gets all future episodes of the British version for the life of the series. Along with "Mythbusters," "Top Gear" is one of SBS' highest-rated programs, drawing more than 700,000 viewers for first- run episodes. The new show will be produced by Freehand Prods.