U.S. network NBC announced its new line-up this week, with pseudo-reality making the primetime grade. The Weakest Link makes an appearance on Mondays and Sundays in primetime. A new series featuring cooking franchise Emeril Lagasse will slide into the Tuesday 8 p.m. slot (called simply Emeril). Broadcasting and Cable has reported that Fear Factor, an Endemol Entertainment production that has everyday people confronting their worst fears for the chance at winning cash, is likely to bump Weakest Link into a later slot on the Monday night sked within a month.
Across the dial at ABC, expect more Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and The Mole II. The WB will have Lost in the USA on Sunday night, as well as Popstars and (the RealScreen winner of the worst title for a new series award) Elimidate Deluxe. on Thursdays.
Toronto’s Corus Entertainment has bought 9.8% of Astral Communication’s voting shares in a deal worth US$6.5 million.
National Geographic Channels International has announced another event for its July schedule. The 60-minute The Quest for Noah’s Flood was produced in high definition, and will air on PBS later in the fall. Nat Geo’s upcoming event, Pearl Harbor – Legacy of an Attack, airs May 27 in the U.S. (simultaneously on NBC), and is timed with the release of Touchstone Picture’s upcoming feature Pearl Harbor.
The Associated Press reports that a large crowd of protesters attempted to liberate the 10 contestants taking part in French reality show Loft Story last week. The crowd stormed the building in which the show is recorded, throwing garbage, and confronting the security guards (who tear gassed them). ‘With trash T.V., cameras are in the bathroom,’ one protest sign stated.
The European Union has given the thumbs-up to a Bertelsmann takeover of the Luxembourg-based RTL Group. The deal will see Groupe Bruxelles Lambert offering Bertelsmann its 30% stake in RTL in exchange for a 25.1% stake in Bertelsmann AG.
The Anti-Defamation League is honoring Discovery founder John Hendricks with this year’s Man of Achievement Award.
ZDF Enterprises has been given permission by the Mainz City Council to begin work on the ZDF Theme Park, a DM250 million (US$115 million) project which will make attractions of the pubcasters programming. Feasibility studies suggest 1.4 million people could visit the park annually.
Telemundo has begun producing reality shows for the Hispanic audience in the U.S. Its first effort will be Protagonistas.
In New York, Third Millennium Films has purchased the Arial Images archive.
Sundance Film Festival officials have agreed to a four-year contract with the Park City city council, quashing rumors that the 10-day film fest would relocate to another locale after 17 years.