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Headline News Comcast Looking To Buy TechTV

Comcast is expected to acquire Paul Allen's computer-info channel TechTV for about $300 million, to merge it with Comcast's fledgling G4 channel, reports VARIETY, in an effort to boost its programming assets and subscriber reach.

The merger of G4 and TechTV, would combine the best original programming of each into a videogame-focused, computer and technology-based network, reaching around 45 million subs, targeted to the highly desirable male 18-34 demo.

Headline News GEM Group Acquires BMG Film Library

Global Entertainment Media Group, LLC (GEM Group), has acquired the film library of BMG, the worldwide music division of Bertelsmann AG. This includes all residual rights to the BMG film library that has been in existence since 1995, including free television, DVD, home video and other ancillary rights to the films.

Headline News CINAR Reschedules Special Meeting of Shareholders

CINAR Corp. has rescheduled a special meeting of shareholders to approve the arrangements for the acquisition of the company by Michael Hirsh, Toper Taylor and TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners. The meeting, previously scheduled for Jan. 15, 2004, will now be held on Feb. 5, 2004. It was rescheduled in order to provide time to resolve certain withholding tax issues for CINAR shareholders.

Headline News Marvel Acquires Cover Concepts

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, December 18, 2003 at 12:00am

Marvel Enterprises Inc. has acquired the business and certain assets of New York City-based Cover Concepts, a small company specializing in the distribution of free, sponsored materials to public schools across the U.S. Cover Concepts sells advertising space on those materials, which include book covers, bookmarks, locker posters, teaching guides, health & beauty samples, calendars, stickers, notepads, folders, coloring sheets, incentive programs and growth charts. Major advertising customers have included Gatorade, McDonalds and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Headline News Durfee Foundation Announces ARC Grant Deadlines

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 17, 2003 at 12:00am

The Durfee Foundation has announced the deadlines for the 2004 ARC grant program. ARC grants are awarded on a quarterly basis to approximately 10 Los Angeles artists. The artists can be working with any medium. Grant requests may be for up to $2,500. Applications must be postmarked on or before the following deadlines:

First Quarter: February 3, 2004For presentations between March 4 and August 4, 2004

Second Quarter: May 4, 2004For presentations between June 3 and November 3, 2004

Third Quarter: August 3, 2004

Headline News IDT Expands Into Christian Broadcasting

Delivering on its promise to expand in the arena of entertainment distribution, IDT Ent. agreed on Dec. 11, 2003, with NorthStar Entertainment Group, Inc., a subsidiary of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. (CBN) to create a joint venture that will develop, produce and distribute family friendly entertainment programming.

This came on the heels of IDTs acquisition of DVD, home video distributor, Anchor Bay Ent. on Dec. 3 for $60 million, which became final on Dec. 11.

Headline News Uni's Parent & Stuber Expand Roles to Oversee Animation Production

While NBC awaits final approval of its bid to buy Universal, the studio has promoted Mary Parent and Scott Stuber from production president to vice chairman, worldwide production, for Universal Pictures. In their newly-created positions Parent and Stuber will continue to oversee the worldwide acquisition, creative development and production of all Universal Pictures feature films, and will also oversee Universal's original made-for-video productions as well as the creative development and production of its original animation properties.

Headline News Alliance Atlantis Cutting Production Jobs In Canada

Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. announced Dec. 10, 2003 that it is essentially stopping TV and movie production with the departure of entertainment group ceo Peter Sussman and Seaton McLean, the group's president, production. The company will hone its activities down to primarily specialty channel broadcasting and TV/film distribution.

Headline News Rocker Zombie & Cartoonist Niles Form Creep Ent.

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 10, 2003 at 12:00am

Metal rocker-turned-film director Rob Zombie and author-cartoonist Steve Niles have formed a new production company, Creep Entertainment Intl, reported VARIETY. The firm already has lined-up three comicbook inspired projects -- THE NAIL with Dark Horse Comics, BIGFOOT with IDW Comics and LORDS OF SALEM. Zombie and Niles have co-written the scripts for all three films.

Headline News IDT Ent. Acquiring Video Distributor For The Holidays

IDT Entertainment plans to wrap up the holidays by acquiring yet another entertainment company, buying home video distributor, Anchor Bay Entertainment Group, from Handleman Co. for about $60 million. With this purchase, expected to clear in late December 2003, IDT adds an important a vital distribution component to its rapidly, escalading entertainment empire.

Headline News e frontier and Curious Labs Merge to Push Poser and Shade

e frontier and Curious Labs have merged in an effort to "create greater synergy of products and business models." "e frontier has the reputation as one of the top selling 3D tools in Asia," said Curious Labs' ceo Marc Keohane. "Curious Labs has the well established Poser product. Combined, we will now offer a worldwide solution for the creative 3D artist community."

The new company will retain the separate names of each entity making e frontier the parent company of Curious Labs in the U.S.

Headline News Disney Rides Nemo and Pirates to Record-Breaking $3 Billion Box Office

The same week that ousted Roy Disney mounted his coup, Walt Disney's Buena Vista Film Distribution Group announced a new industry record for global box office in 2003 with its combined domestic and international gross exceeding $3 billion - thanks in no small measure to the record-breaking back-to-back $300 million duo of FINDING NEMO and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

Headline News Former Film Roman and WB Vets Start Phuuz Entertainment

Three award-winning veterans of the animation industry have joined forces to form a new media company, phuuz entertainment in North, Hollywood, California. Co-founders of this new enterprise are Emmy Award-winning producer/director and former exec creative director at Film Roman, Eric Radomski, former production vp at Warner Bros. Animation, Ken Duer, and former vp/gm for LEVEL13.NET (Film Romans Internet entertainment site), Jay Francis.

Headline News Pooh Rights Holders Hire O.J. Lawyer Cochrin

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 3, 2003 at 12:00am

If the honey jar dont fit you must In another twist to the legal battle between WINNIE THE POOH U.S. rights holders the Slesinger family versus Walt Disney Co., the Slesingers have hired O.J. Simpsons criminal trial lawyer Johnnie Cochrin their ninth lawyer, reported the Associated Press. In mid October, the law firm Jones Day stepped down from the case after less than five months on the 12-year long case, because the family could no longer afford its services.

Headline News Roy Disney's Resignation Letter

Following is the text of Roy Disney's Letter sent to Michael Eisner, asking him to resign:

Mr. Michael D. Eisner, ChairmanThe Walt Disney Company500 South Buena Vista StreetBurbank, CA 91521

Dear Michael,

It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from the Walt Disney Company, both as Chairman of the Feature Animation Division and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Headline News Roy Disney Quits, Calls for Eisner’s Resignation

Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of Walt Disney Co. stepped down from the board of directors and called on chairman/chief exec Michael Eisner to resign in a scathing letter.

On Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003, he sent a three-page letter to Eisner criticizing the chairman's leadership over the past seven years. Disney has called for Eisner's resignation in the past, but the idea was rejected by the board.

Headline News U.S. Congress Agrees To Set 39% Ceiling for Broadcasters

The U.S. Congress, under Republican leadership, and the White House agreed late Nov. 24, 2003 in Washington DC to a new limit on the number of television stations one company can own, a compromise reached to help make way for approval of a massive spending bill that will keep the government running for a year.

Headline News CINAR Sets Takeover Bid Meeting With Shareholders

CINAR Corp. will hold a special meeting of shareholders on Jan. 15, 2004 at the Omni Hotel in Montreal to obtain approval for a $143.9 million acquisition by an investor group comprised of former Nelvana execs Michael Hirsh and Toper Taylor with TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners.

Headline News Zinkia Staffing Up For Pocoyó

Madrids Zinkia Ent. is busy signing up top creative talent to start production on its 3D CGI animated preschool property, POCOYÓ. The 52x7 series is being co-produced with Carlton International, for U.K. commercial broadcaster ITV.

Already on board is one of Spains leading 3D animation specialists, Magoga Piñas, who has joined the Pocoyó team. Magoga, has more than a decade of experience in the 3D animation field, working on feature films such as LA GRAN AVENTURA DE MORTADELO Y FILEMON (2003) as well as commercials and graphics.

Headline News Nasscom Predicts Animation In India To Triple In Two Years

Nasscom, Indias premier information technology body, is betting big on the Indian animation industry, predicting the sector is all set to register an exponential growth in the coming years, according to the BUSINESS STANDARD in a report from its bureau in Bangalore, India.

Headline News Former Hallmark & Mattel Execs Hatch New Firm

Veteran industry executives Margaret Loesch and Bruce Stein have teamed to create The Hatchery, LLC, a new entertainment and marketing firm. Loesch, an Emmy Award-winning producer, was most recently president/ceo of Crown Media U.S./Hallmark Channel. Stein was formerly president/coo of Mattel Inc. Also a partner in the new production house is Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer/writer Dan Angel.

Headline News IDT Pulls Holdings Under IDT Ent. Umbrella

IDT Corp., a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company that has been showering investment capital based on animation companies has created IDT Entertainment Inc., a new business subsidiary, which will incorporate Digital Production Solutions (DPS), IDTs existing animation company, DPS/Film Roman and its joint venture and equity interest with Vanguard Animation. Upon completion of its purchase of Mainframe Ent. in Vancouver, the CGI production house will also become part of IDT Entertainment.

Headline News WGA and IATSE Settle Father’s Pride Writers’ Dispute

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAw) and IATSE (The Animation Guild Local 839) have reached a tentative agreement regarding representation on DreamWorks upcoming animated series FATHER OF THE PRIDE, according to DAILY VARIETY.

Headline News Pooh Case Wrinkle: Milne Heir Seeks Rights

A new wrinkle has developed in the decades old battle over Winnie the Pooh licensing rights. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reported that Clare Milne, the granddaughter of POOH creator A.A. Milne, has been grant a chance to regain the copyrights from the current rights holders, the Slesinger family. Judge Florence-Marie Coopers new ruling allows Milne to appeal Cooper's earlier, tentative decision, which ruled the request invalid.

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