Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.
A swathe of high-profile names are getting big paychecks from Rupert Murdoch’s News International this week as the company tries to consign the News Of The World phone-hacking scandal to the past. Doctor Who star Christopher Ecclestone and actor-turned-press ethics campaigner Hugh Grant will both receive “substantial damages”. There are more payouts, along with public apologies, for Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and celebrity magician Uri Geller, bringing the total number of settlements to 143. But with police still in the process of notifying victims, new cases continue to be brought forward. American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe and former Crystal Palace Football Club owner Simon Jordan are among those filing new claims. A lawyer working on behalf of victims said the settlements reflected an urge by News Corp‘s UK publishing arm to persuade victims to drop lawsuits ahead of a case management hearing held today, according to the Guardian.
Endemol Taps Former FremantleMedia Exec To Oversee Asian Operation
In the latest in a string of executive appointments, Big Brother producer Endemol has named Fotini Paraskakis managing director of its Asian operations to oversee creative, production and format sales activities across the region. The exec joins from FremantleMedia Asia where she was director of content for all of the company’s formats in the region including Idols, Got Talent and X Factor. As Endemol looks to expand in Asia, its recent projects there include a first series of Fear Factor and a second season of The Money Drop for Astro in Malaysia; a third season of Your Face Sounds Familiar on Hunan Satellite TV in China and the return of Deal Or No Deal and the launch of The Money Drop in the Philippines. Read More »
Rupert Murdoch was in London last week, crowing about scoring rights to online clips of Premier League soccer matches and reportedly visiting his UK newspapers. He also held a private dinner that’s becoming a hot potato in the local media. London Mayor Boris Johnson, a rival to Prime Minister David Cameron for leadership of the Conservative Party, is widely believed to have attended along with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, whose office confirmed his presence to The Guardian. (Also reportedly there was Homeland star Damian Lewis, whose show is produced by News Corp.-owned Fox21, and who’s a graduate of Eton, as is Johnson.) While private meetings between politicians and media owners don’t run afoul of parliamentary or party rules, this particular dinner has raised eyebrows in light of last year’s Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics where an overriding theme was the cozy relationship enjoyed by newspaper proprietors and the highest levels of government. Read More »
After Times Newspapers independent directors refused to approve Rupert Murdoch’s appointment of editors to The Times and Sunday Times last week, the News Corp. chief has flown to London to hold a summit meeting, … Read More »
ITV’s ‘Come Dine With Me’ Format In 36 Territories
ITV Studios Global Entertainment has signed multiple deals for its hit format Come Dine With Me including Asia’s first local version of the format to air on Indian broadcaster Star India. The network has commissioned 40 30-minute episodes. The Star India deal brings the total number of international territories producing the show to 36. Additionally, ITV Studios Nordic has been recommissioned to produce a 10th series of 60 episodes by Sweden’s TV4 and a second series of 40 episodes by Nelonen in Finland. Meanwhile, ITV Studios Australia has been recommissioned to produce a fourth (6 x 60’) series for Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel to air in 2013. The format has also recently re-launched in Turkey on Fox TV and Belgium on Vier 4. Read More »
The actor was one of the most high-profile victims of the scandal that ended in the shuttering of the News Corp-owned UK tabloid News Of The World. Hugh Grant‘s settlement for damages with Rupert Murdoch’s British publishing … Read More »
Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch want an American class action lawsuit against them and News International over the UK phone hacking scandal dismissed. Not because they may have acted badly but, in a … Read More »
News Corp announced tonight that Tom Mockridge, who has served as CEO of News International since July 2011, will leave the company at the end of the year. Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson is in line to … Read More »
Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks wants her involvement in a U.S. class action suit over the phone hacking scandal dismissed. “The Complaint should be dismissed as to Brooks because Plaintiffs have failed to allege any facts to support a finding of personal jurisdiction over her,” says a motion (read it here) the ex-News Corp executive’s lawyers filed last week. Brooks, who was News International boss from September 2009 to July 15, 2011, is facing criminal charges in the UK in relation to the sprawling phone hacking scandal. A shareholder’s lawsuit launched Stateside on July 19, 2011 accuses Brooks, plus co-defendants Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Les Hinton, as having violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Avon Pension Fund, Iron Workers Local Union No. 17 Pension Fund and Lewis Wilder’s class action claims that the executives concealed the “existence and extent of illegal and unethical newsgathering practices” at News International.
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The amount — equal to more than $11.2M using today’s exchange rate — includes cash and pension payments as well as an … Read More »
News International Fights Expensive Document Disclosures In Phone-Hacking Case
News International has argued against pricey document disclosures relating to civil damages in the ongoing phone hacking case, warning that the cost to the company might reach $12.1M. The branch of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has already spent $1.6M on disclosure searches of documents and emails pertaining to litigation, with consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers spending a further $5.6M. News International counsel Dinah Rose QC argued at a high court civil case management hearing that the disclosures served the interest of prosecuting legal teams and not their clients. They are claiming for compensation related to News International’s four-year denial of phone hacking, when no claimant has pleaded this. “That’s the source of this problem,” Rose said. “We have here a superstructure created not because of the claims of a particular claimant, but [because of] the interests of a legal team.” Meanwhile, the Metropolitan police investigation into phone hacking continues, with a senior counter-terrorism detective charged Monday with breaching the Official Secrets Act. Detective chief inspector April Casburn is charged with feeding information pertaining to the Met’s inquiry into phone hacking to staff at the News Of The World. Police have also made two more arrests in the computer hacking investigation. One is believed to be a former News Of The World journalist and the other a private investigator. – Joe Utichi Read More »
News Corp. director Andrew Knight has been named chairman of Times Newspapers Holdings Ltd, the UK subsidiary that publishes The Times and The Sunday Times. Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of Times Newspapers … Read More »
Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage:
Tonight’s Scotland Yard development was expected. Rebekah Brooks will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 3rd. The police statement lists Brooks as “unemployed”. The 44-year-old executive who ran Rupert Murdoch‘s UK newspaper business and top-edited the News Of the World answered bail at Lewisham police station. She stands accused of one general charge of alleged phone hacking between October 2000 and August 2006 that could affect as many as 600 victims including famous television and film stars including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, and Sadie Frost. The charges place Brooks at the center of the Crown Prosecution Service’s case against the defunct News Of The World tabloid. Brooks also faces specific charges of illegally accessing the mobile phone voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Read More »
The News International British publishing subsidiary acknowledged today that the company is aware that London police are considering whether to file charges against its board over phone hacking at the shuttered News of … Read More »
News International sent out an email today informing staffers that Rupert Murdoch last week resigned as director of News International and a string of other companies connected with the company’s London-based newspaper holdings. The email said Murdoch’s resignation is … Read More »
It’s a busy day in London as former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks appeared in court for the first time and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry — the hearings hatched in response to the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp’s News International. Clegg is also testifying as Parliament is due to vote on whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt should face an independent investigation over his handling of News Corp’s bid for BSkyB.
Government sources have told UK media that Clegg, who is the Liberal Democrat leader, has instructed his MPs to abstain from the vote. The move drives a wedge into Britain’s Coalition government. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to open an investigation into Hunt’s conduct while Clegg has pressed for a formal probe since Hunt’s close ties to James Murdoch’s office during the bid process were unveiled at Leveson. The current conflict is potentially damaging to the PM. Cameron has been led to deny any “grand deal” between himself and the Murdochs over the BSkyB bid in exchange for their support of the Conservative Party; his stance on Hunt has angered Clegg and his decision not to delve deeper into the Hunt issue has led to some scrutiny. Cameron himself appears at Leveson for a full day tomorrow. Read More »
Today’s session of the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics was a slightly less riveting affair than yesterday, but there were some highlights. Former Prime Minister John Major told the hearing that in a 1997 meeting with Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul said, “I would like you to change your policy and if you don’t change your policy, my organization cannot support you.” According to Major, Murdoch was referring to stances on Europe. In his written statement to the inquiry, Major said, “Both Mr Murdoch and I kept our word. I made no change in policy and Mr Murdoch’s titles did indeed oppose the Conservative party. It came as no surprise to me when soon after our meeting, The Sun newspaper announced its support for Labour.” Referring to Major’s evidence, a News International spokesperson said, “News International titles did not act in unison in the 1997 election. The Sunday Times supported John Major, The Times was neutral, and The Sun and the News Of The World supported Labour.” Read More »
An employee at News Corp’s British publishing unit was arrested today on suspicion of conspiring to corrupt public officials with illegal payments for stories, Bloomberg reports. Police didn’t identify the 37-year-old but the Telegraph newspaper said she was … Read More »
Erstwhile News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks faced a grueling five hours of questioning Friday at the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics. The session focused largely on the relationship between politicians and the press and, as expected, it was confirmed that Brooks has had close dealings with senior British politicians. Those include current Prime Minister David Cameron, who, Brooks said, used to sign his text messages to her “DC” or “LOL” – which he thought meant “lots of love” until she corrected him that it meant “laugh out loud.” She did however refute the idea that Cameron at one time called her as many as 12 times a day. “That’s preposterous,” she said. Cameron did contact her regarding the phone-hacking scandal in 2010 she said, amid news reports of a bevy of civil suits against the ultimately-shuttered News Of The World. She maintained the conversations were general.
Related: Andy Coulson Testimony Shifts Focus From Rupert Murdoch To David Cameron
Brooks also said she spoke frequently with Rupert Murdoch – “sometimes every day” — when she was one of his senior executives. It’s been well-documented that Murdoch and Brooks were very tight, but she stopped short of confirming that the pair used to swim together during the News Corp chief’s visits to London as was put to her by inquiry counsel Robert Jay. “You need better sources,” she told Jay to laughter in the hearing room. Read More »