BBC Hit With Civil Claims In Jimmy Savile Scandal
A lawyer acting on behalf of 31 victims of the late Jimmy Savile has lodged civil claims for compensation in the high court against the disgraced host’s estate and the BBC over allegations of sexual abuse. Attorney Alan Collins told The Guardian that all claims are against Savile’s estate with “seven or eight” against the BBC itself, which the suits allege has “vicarious liability” in the case. Another lawyer working on behalf of a further 62 victims told Bloomberg  that the action was premature, because parties involved had agreed to wait for the results of the police investigation into Savile. “We do not believe the commencement of litigation at this stage to be either necessary or in our clients’ best interest,” she said. – Joe Utichi

More Journalists Arrested In UK Phone Hacking
The Metropolitan Police in the UK have made six additional arrests of former News Of The World journalists over the phone hacking brouhaha at Rupert Murdoch’s shuttered tabloid. The arrests come from new lines of inquiry opened by officers and include two journalists currently working at Murdoch’s Sun newspaper. The police said, also, that it was continuing to notify newly-uncovered victims of phone hacking as part of these new enquiries and that none of the people arrested had been brought in before. News International’s chief executive Mike Darcey emailed staff to confirm the arrests, saying he recognized the “huge burden” the Met’s ongoing investigation placed on current staff at The Sun.

Sony Pictures TV Productions Expands Slate In Russia
SPTV’s Moscow-based production house Lean-M will produce three new series based on formats from Canada, Latin America and Poland. Russian network TV-3 has commissioned 24 episodes of mythical drama Lost Girl which was originally produced by Prodigy Pictures for Showtime Canada. The fantasy drama is about a girl who learns she is a Succubus and fights to control her powers while searching for the truth about her mysterious past. Ukrainian broadcaster INTER has ordered an initial 60 episodes of multi-generational soap opera First Love which originally hailed from ATM Media Gruppa in Poland. And, Russia’s Domashny Channel has commissioned 16 new episodes of Latin American dramedy format Los Caballeros Las Prefieren Brutas. The original series was developed for Caracol TV in Colombia and SPT’s Latin American pan regional channel, Sony Entertainment Television. The series follows a sophisticated, accomplished woman who decides to “go full blonde” in search of a man.

TLC Visits ‘Bizarre ER’
TLC International is reviving medical documentary series, Bizarre ER. The Maverick TV program is narrated by John Barrowman, and features cases of amazing medical survival. It will begin airing in March on TLC as well as on Discovery Networks International’s female-skewing global networks, Discovery Home&Health and Real Time. The series will also air on Discovery Fit & Health in the U.S. Show is shot primarily in the U.S., the UK and with follow-up stories from around the world.

FremantleMedia In ‘Family Harmony’
Canadian format Family Harmony (Un Air De Famille) is an original concept created and produced by Attraction Images in collaboration with Radio-Canada. The pickup reps FremantleMedia’s first acquisition from Québec. The show will be rolled out to international audiences through FremantleMedia’s worldwide network of production companies. Teams of families battle to be voted the most popular singing family in the country. Coached by celebrity singers, each week three families perform popular songs and compete for the audience vote and the chance to perform with their celebrity mentors. The series culminates in a live finale. The debut series in Québec was a hit and has been renewed for a second season.

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