News in Brief

Discovery and APTN sign footage agreement; AOL Time Warner to buy U.K. broadcasters?; BBC boss asks his government to ease-up on ITV and Five
September 12, 2002

Discovery Communications has signed a deal with Associated Press Television News that gives DCI access to APTN’s news and entertainment video. The agreement has APTN become a preferred provider of archive video for DCI productions and coproductions. In return, DCI producers will receive discounts on library footage and services. Further incentives are available for high volume usage of APTN video.

AOL Time Warner disclosed September 10 that it wants to buy a television company in the U.K., the Guardian reports. Chief executive Richard Parsons told the Royal Television Society in London that Europe, and the U.K. in particular, is a key part of his international expansion plans. Analysts said possible takeover targets include ITV and Five (formerly Channel 5). AOL’s disclosure follows the U.K. government’s decision to ease foreign ownership limits on media companies.

BBC boss Greg Dyke has asked the British government to make more funds available for commercial channelsITV and Five, reports the Guardian. The Beeb’s director general said the government should slash the amount the two broadcasters have to pay to the Treasury each year. He said ITV had been ‘the big loser’ of the past two years, but the BBC and its populist approach isn’t to blame for the ratings slump of ITV, the newspaper cites Dyke as saying.

‘Independent Lens’, the 29-week national PBS strand open to independent American prodcos, is seeking submissions for the fall 2003 season. The deadline is November 15; the standard acquisition fee is approximately US$20,000 for an hour-long program. For further details, visit //

International distributor Interlingual TV has formed a joint company with Botswana-based wildlife filmmakers Tim and June Liversedge. Named Wild Logic, it will specialize in high-definition documentaries for the natural history market.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented the 23rd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards on Sept. 10, 2002. Among the winners are: PBS, which took 14 awards, including Best Documentary for Promises (B.Z. Goldberg, Justine Shapiro); CNN, which got four nods, including a directing prize for Exodus from Africa with Sorious Samura (Dollan Cannell); and HBO, which won three awards, including one for investigative journalism (long form) for The Carpet Slaves: Stolen Children of India (Kate Blewett, Brian Woods).

Volunteers from Eastman Kodak and NFL Films, a Philadelphia, U.S. unit of the National Football League in the U.S., are helping restore thousands of family photos found in the ruble of Ground Zero in New York. According to the Associated Press, the pictures range from baby snapshots to golf games.

Joel Silver, producer of such action movie franchises as The Matrix and Lethal Weapon, has partnered with NBC in an attempt to find The Next Action Star, reports Reuters. Taking a nod from format American Idol, the 10-episode reality series will follow producers as they hold a casting search to find potential male and female stars with killer ‘it’ factor. The winner will star in a Silver-produced NBC TV movie, tentatively titled Hit Me. The series launch is expected next summer.

South African pubcaster SABC1 will air a new reality TV show, All You Need is Love, that asks South Africans to reveal their love stories. The show is being produced by U.K.-based prodco Endemol.

Rising lifestyle-programming star Nigella Lawson (Nigella Bites) has signed a deal to write a column for the dining section of The New York Times. The column will run in alternate weeks and ‘emphasize Nigella’s ‘just do it’ philosophy’, the Times said in a prepared statement.

Cincinnati, U.S.-based media company E.W. Scripps (parent company of HGTV and Food Network) is launching a journalism school. Located in Hampton, U.S., the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications opens for class at the end of September. The school – part of Hampton University – was made possible by a US$10 million commitment from the company.

Aussie doc-maker Dennis K. Smith walked away with the top prize at the Australian Writers’ Guild awards, held in Melbourne on Sept. 6, 2002. Smith won the Major Award (the prize for outstanding script of the year) for his doc Rainbow Bird and Monster Man, which will air on Australian channel SBS this month. He also won in the documentary (broadcast) category for the same film. The AWG awards are judged by writers based on the script, rather than the finished product.

For indie filmmakers who plan to show their wares at the Sithengi Product Market – part of the Sithengi 2002 South African Film and TV Market (November 11 to 14) – the deadline for entry is September 20. For more information, go to //

The Tambay Film & Video Festival, held in Tampa, U.S., is now accepting film submissions for next year’s event (April 10 to 13, 2003). For more info, visit //

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