Comcast Accused Of “Putting Up Toll Booth” And “Take It Or Leave It Demands” For Online Movie Transmission By Rivals

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 4:35pm PST

This could potentially complicate Comcast’s attempt to obtain FCC regulatory approval before the end of the 2010. Level 3 Communications, which delivers Netflix online movies among other products and services, issued this statement today from chief legal officer Thomas Storz:

BROOMFIELD, Colo., November 29, 2010 — “On November 19, 2010, Comcast informed Level 3 that, for the first time, it will demand a recurring fee from Level 3 to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast’s customers who request such content. By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content. This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation’s largest cable provider.

“On November 22, after being informed by Comcast that its demand for payment was ‘take it or leave it,’ Level 3 agreed to the terms, under protest, in order to ensure customers did not experience any disruptions.

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TV Land Picks Up Two More Comedy Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

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Eliza Dushku To Star In TNT Pilot ‘Bird Dog,’ D.B. Sweeney To Lead TBS Pilot ‘Brain Trust’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Dollhouse star Eliza Dushku is returning to series television as the female lead in Mike Robe’s TNT drama pilot Bird Dog, while  D.B. Sweeney has landed the lead in … Read More »

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Sundance Institute: Film Forward 1st Slate

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 1:46pm PST

LOS ANGELES, CA – Following up on last month’s announcement of the Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue initiative, Sundance Institute announced today the ten films selected to participate in the inaugural year of this cultural exchange program. The first Film Forward slate includes five American and five international films

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FULL CIRCLE: UK Government Hands Control Of Film Funding Back To BFI

Britain’s Culture Ministry just handed leadership of the industry back to the British Film Institute. The organisation will take control of and devise strategy for £15 million (£23 million) of lottery funding each year, and administer the £100 million tax incentive. Ex-BBC boss and now BFI boss Greg Dyke  was understandably ecstatic. He immediately announced that the BFI hopes to increase lottery funding for film to £18 million in 2011/2012 – an increase of 20%. Dyke told me the BFI will take over movie funding in April next year. “This decision is a great vote of confidence in the BFI. It is a bold move to create a single champion for film in the UK and we welcome it. We want to achieve greater coherence across the whole film sector and to strike a balance between cultural and commercial. We see an opportunity to reduce overhead costs which in turn will allow us to put more of the lottery funds into frontline activities.”

The culture minister underlined that the film tax credit – so crucial for attracting U.S. investment — is here to stay. Overseas filmmakers injected £780 million into the British economy last year. Vaizey said: “Some people think there are two British film industries — one indigenous and the other supporting big American movies. I don’t agree. Hollywood investment promotes both British characters and British storytelling.”

Film London will take over promoting the UK as a moviemaking destination from the British Film Commission. Vaizey called this a “public/private partnership” – in short, the government is asking the private sector to cough up if it wants an office whose job it is to attract Hollywood to Britain. Studios such as Pinewood Shepperton and VFX houses such as Framestore would, after all, have the most to gain.

And Film London and BFI will also work with BAFTA and BBC Worldwide on how to increase the number of UK films being released abroad – the role which Unifrance performs for the French film industry. The organisations will also showcase the work of British filmmakers in Hollywood. The BBC already runs showcases in China and in Latin America.

Vaizey also announced he was setting up a ministerial roundtable that will meet every 6 months to address film industry problems.

Vaizey said he would consider proposals from industry organisations such as the British Screen Advisory Council and the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television to help create “a sustainable film industry”. Vaizey expects to implement these proposals by spring 2012. What was interesting was that he used the word “sustainable”. This phrase has become a shibboleth for British film policy makers. Creating a sustainable British film industry was the original mission statement of the UK Film Council – until it quietly dropped it as unworkable. “The ‘sustainable’ word is back,” Dyke observes. “The Film Council wanted to do it but they just couldn’t live with it.”

Today’s announcement from a Tory government was surprisingly well-received by the traditionally left-of-centre British film industry. It was amusing to see the jockeying for position already within this new world order. It was almost as if the UK Film Council had never existed. How quickly the waters close over one’s head. “There’s an irony in that a year ago the government was forcing the BFI to merge with the Film Council,” Dyke tells me. “Fine, we said, but it’s got to be on the right terms. Today we got those terms.” Read More »

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‘Walking Dead’ Hits Another Ratings High

Nellie Andreeva

The zombie craze continues. I think we can safely say that The Walking Dead‘s first season finale next week will do gangbuster ratings. The penultimate fifth episode of the AMC zombie drama last night drew 5.6 million viewers, a series high, besting the series’ monster premiere that averaged 5.3 million. … Read More »

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TV TEASER: Simon Cowell’s U.S. ‘X Factor’

Nellie Andreeva

The U.S. version of Simon Cowell’s reality smash The X Factor won’t premiere for another 10 months, but Fox is already launching its promotional campaign. Next: The Statue of Liberty morphing into Cowell?

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Actor William Hurt Leaves WME For ICM

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 12:41pm PST

The four-time Academy Award and Emmy and Tony nominee and one-time Best Actor Oscar winner  (for Kiss Of The Spider Woman) just made the move to Adam Schweitzer, co-head of ICM’s motion picture talent department. He’s currently filming the lead role … Read More »

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‘Life Unexpected’ Star Kristoffer Polaha Signs Talent Holding Deal With CBS

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 11:06am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Kristoffer Polaha is staying in the CBS family. Polaha, who stars on the critically praised CW/CBS Studios drama Life Unexpected, has signed a rich talent holding deal with CBS and CBS Studios to topline a new project eyed for … Read More »

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Cartoon Network Renews 3 Animated Series

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 11:05am PST
Nellie Andreeva

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TOLDJA! James Franco & Anne Hathaway To Host 83rd Annual Academy Awards



 

UPDATE: The Academy just made it official. Press release below. 

Oscar telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer announced just now that “James Franco and Anne Hathaway personify … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: Football Gives NBC Nightly Win, Spurs Gains For Fox Comedies

Nellie Andreeva

Sunday Night Football sealed NBC’s 12th consecutive ratings victory on the night. The San Diego Chargers 36-14 blowout of the Indianapolis Colts drew a 13.0 overnight rating/19 … Read More »

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Anderson Cooper’s New Syndication Show Cleared In Top Markets

Nellie Andreeva

(November 29, 2010, Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has sold a new, one-hour daily strip hosted by Anderson Cooper to major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston for a

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WME Wins ‘Law & Order’ Mogul Dick Wolf

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: WME is the victor in the very lucrative Dick Wolf sweepstakes. After taking a month and a half following his surprising exit from UTA to ponder his top agency options, the Law & Order creator has signed … Read More »

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R.I.P. Irvin Kerschner

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 7:45am PST

Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner died at his home in Paris, France, after suffering from an illness. He was 87. The longtime Los Angeles resident directed Sean Connery as James Bond in 1983′s Never Say Never Again and Peter Weller in 1990′s Robocop II. He was born in Philadelphia … Read More »

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CBS’s Daytime Drama ‘The Young And The Restless’ Gets 3-Year Renewal

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: CBS’ daytime drama The Young and the Restless will be restless for at least three more years with a new renewal that will keep the top-rated soap on the network through the 2013-14 season. The pickup comes on the … Read More »

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Dr. Drew Pinsky To Host Talk Show on HLN

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 6:53am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Another reality star has been recruited by CNN to host a prime-time talk show. Dr. Drew Pinsky has signed a deal for a new weeknight prime-time show on CNN’s sister channel HLN, which will launch next spring. HLN, formerly CNN … Read More »

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Fox Developing Sitcom Starring Comedian Owen Benjamin

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 6:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In a rare venturing into multi-camera comedy, Fox is developing a half-hour project starring comedian Owen Benjamin and written by comedy veteran Marsh McCall. Benjamin and McCall co-created the ABC Studios-produced sitcom, which stars Benjamin as a question-everything high … Read More »

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TV TEASER: HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’

Nellie Andreeva

Here is the third teaser trailer for HBO’s upcoming fantasy series Game of Thrones, which premiered tonight on the pay cable network. Game of Thrones, which is based on the books by George R.R. Martin, is now filming in Ireland for a 2011 premiere.

Clip Preview

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