For the Record

Canadian kudos for Pat Ferns; revenues up, profits down for RAI; Court TV turns ten.
July 5, 2001

Maclean’s, Canada’s national weekly news magazine, has named Banff’s Pat Ferns as part of its top-50 ‘Brain Gains’, a select list of immigrants to Canada and Canadian ex-pats who have returned to make their fortunes. It’s finally time for a vacation, Pat.

Vivendi Universal has announced that StudioCanal and Universal Pictures are being combined to create a truly international film and television production/distribution facility.

While Italian pubcaster RAI says net revenues were up slightly in 2000 to US$2.3 billion, net profits were off ($38 million versus $65 million for the year previous). However, the pubcaster says it was able to pay shareholders dividends for the first time and also managed to wipe out its debt.

Variety reports that France’s M6 has pulled in $32 million in advertising since Loft Story began airing two months ago.

Big Brother is headed for a reprise on Network 10 in Australia. The network has been pulling in eyeballs by the millions, especially in younger demographics.

What does the average ten-year-old want for his birthday? Court TV is celebrating its decade with a panel discussion on cameras in the courtroom, which will air July 17th.

Vivendi Universal’s StudioCanal has acquired a 45% share of Spain’s Sogepaq, in a US$40 million deal with parent company Sogecable. Sogepaq distributes the catalogs of StudioCanal, Sogecable and Universal Pictures to Spain, and itself owns a catalog consisting of 700 titles.

Japan’s Fuji TV, TBS and TV Asahi have begun working on a video-on-demand service for that market, with the goal of establishing a management group by next year.

London/New York’s Gullane Entertainment has picked up the right to the Guinness Book of World Records for $65 million. That’s a lot of Guinness.

New York’s Cowboy Booking International has picked up North American distribution rights to George Butler’s The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition.

Pete Luckette, dubbed Canada’s favorite green grocer, has signed a deal with prodco Ocean Entertainment and Canada’s Food Network to host 13 half-hour episodes of The Food Hunter, a series set to debut next year.

In the U.S., The Food Network has topped the 60 million household mark.

Israel’s Council of Cable and Satellite Broadcasting has approved the launch of The History Channel into that country. History will be carried by three local operators, realizing 300,000 total subscribers at launch.

Even though CBS has yet to air the first series of The Amazing Race, it is already on the hunt for contestants for The Amazing Race II. If you’re interested in being one of the 11 pairs of world travelers, visit the CBS website at And if you’re really looking for a change of career, you can apply for the forth season of Survivor while you’re there:

The 2002 Sundance Film Festival (January 10-20) has put out a call for entries. The early submission deadline (for American Cinema and World Features only) is Friday July 20; for Shorts & World Cinema, September 21; and for American Features, September 28. See

Big Brother executive producer Arnold Shapiro says his CBS series… oh, never mind.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.