The U.K.’s Channel 4 has launched an online commissioning guide for producers. It can be found at: www.4producers.co.uk
Inside.com reports that AOL Time Warner merger cost the company US$1 billion in ‘restructuring liabilities.’ In a Security and Exchange Commission filing, the company explains that the total reflects the money used for workforce reductions and employee termination benefits ($565 million), as well as lease and contract termination charges ($400 million).
Alliance Atlantis will acquire a 29.9% interest in Wisdom: The Body, Mind & Spirit Channel, Vision TV’s digital specialty channel that will launch in September under a new name.
The Discovery Channel hit the 15 million subscriber mark in Latin America/Iberia.
National Geographic India will begin broadcasting in Tamil and Bengali this year. The service already broadcasts some of its programming in Hindi.
In response to weeks of negative criticism (and near-rioting), France’s cultural and broadcast watchdogs have asked the producers of Loft Story and broadcaster M6 to clean up their act. Instead of voting off the people they hate, contestants will now name the two people they like the most (those liked least will go). Cameras will also be shut off in portions of the house during some parts of the day.
In Washington, the Smithsonian has opened an Immersion Cinema at the Museum of Natural History. The theater, created in partnership with Immersion Studios, is a 2,400-square foot facility, featuring a 48-foot wide/150-degree wraparound three-screen environment. Visitors will have access to 50 touch-screen consoles that control the action on the main screen, and will be immersed in a Dolby 5.1 surround sound system.
South Africa’s Underdog Digital has been selected to create and maintain the online content for Big Brother and other Endemol formats in the region.
In the U.K., Channel 5 has picked up the rights to Mark Burnett’s Eco-Challenge.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has launched Chile’s UCTV to the top of that market. The numbers attached to the show’s debut matched those only seen for football championships.
Japan is planning to form a national film commission to help lure filmmakers (and their expense accounts) to some Japanese cities.
Discovery Europe has renewed its carriage deals in Romania for three years, guaranteeing carriage for both the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, and the likely launch of Civilization, Travel & Adventure and Sci-Trek in the near future.