MEDIA - Film/Radio/TV/Web - June 2001

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Friday June 29

ANTICIPATING AI: The most carefully watched-for movie of the season, after Pearl Harbor, is probably A.I., which has just opened. It began as a Stanley Kubrick project and was finished after his death by Steven Spielberg. Early reviews are mixed on the effectiveness of the collaboration: it's "fascinating but cold," "a movie at war with itself," "uneven and ultimately rather silly," or "the best fairy tale Mr. Spielberg has made." Toronto Star (AP), Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, Washington Post, New York Times 06/29/01

Thursday June 28

HELP WANTED. WIMPS NEED NOT APPLY: Somewhat in defiance of his own name, Sir Christopher Bland says that whoever succeeds him as chairman of the BBC will have to be controversial. If not, "you have appointed the wrong man or woman. There are difficulties attached to any real people and this is a job that deserves and needs a real person." The Guardian (UK) 06/27/01

IS DISNEY CHEAPING OUT? With its recently released Atlantis, Disney has racked up another animated dud. Indeed, it's been some time since the studio produced a quality animated picture. Some say Disney has lost its creative edge, and, struggling with trying to balance its budget, that Disney has gone cheap in its production values. New York Observer 06/27/01

Wednesday June 27

PUNISHING THE MESSENGER: The Cincinnati movie theatre that cut a movie without telling patrons or the film's owners has banned the reporter who reported the action from its theatres. The ban comes a week after Steve Ramos reported the operator had illicitly altered a film, and led the film's distributor to withdraw it from the theatre, prompting widespread media coverage. Cincinnati City Beat 06/26/01

CRACKING DOWN: The Screen Actors Guild is taking a new hard line against members who ignore union calls for strikes and other labor action. Several prominent actors casually crossed the picket lines in last year's action against advertisers, and SAG wants to make sure that the same thing could not happen in a strike against the major Hollywood studios. BBC 06/27/01

POLS AGAINST SEX/VIOLENCE: Crusading against violence and sex on TV and in movies is popular with some US politicians. But "the main reason these bills are likely to fail, like so many similar ones in the past, is not the political influence of the entertainment industry, though the influence is formidable. Television, movie and music companies gave a total of $13.7 million to candidates for federal office last year, more than the oil and gas industry, banks or drug companies. The New York Times 06/27/01 (one-time registration required for access)

RIDING THE LIGHT: High speed fibre-optic data transfer was supposed to revolutionize the way we live."We all were supposed to be sitting back now, watching interactive sports programs on TV and DVD-quality movies on demand; we were all supposed to be buying shirts and spice, pizza and pears with our remote control." But the promise has fizzled, "and a hapless communications industry is having embarrassing and endless difficulty making the service work for those who do want it." Sydney Morning Herald 06/27/01

EMBRACING THE FORCE: Australian Star Wars fans want to have the Jedi philosophy counted as an official religion, and will mark it on upcoming census forms. "We have submitted a written proposal to have the Jedi Faith entered into the, already substantial, Religions Database. If this is approved, the Jedi figures (on the census forms) will be recorded." The Age (Melbourne) 06/27/01

Tuesday June 26

LOOKING FOR ART ON TV: Why aren't there more arts on TV? "Mainstream channels lazily assume we are a philistine nation made up largely of home-improving cooks. Don't they know more people go to the theatre than to soccer matches? Haven't they clocked the astonishing attendance figures for Tate Modern? Terrestrial TV's treatment of the arts is a shabby disgrace." Thank god for the new Artsworld channel. The Guardian (UK) 06/26/01

THE TV BECKETT: For the first time, 19 Beckett plays are being broadcast on TV in the UK, produced by all-star talent. The playwright was known to not want his plays on the tube, since he felt they didn't work there. Nonetheless, the project was "given the go-ahead by the Beckett Estate, notoriously zealous in its clampdowns on those perceived to have flouted the author's wishes. The directors nonetheless operated under strict conditions. Not a word could be cut, nor a bar of music added. Such newfound freedom as there was resided in the lens." The Telegraph (UK) 06/26/01

PAYING FOR THE WEST WING: Even the lowest-paid youngest writer on a hit American TV drama earns $100,000-$120,000 a season. But The West Wing is looking to cut costs from its $2 million/show budget, and so, even though the show's writers were due to get raises after the recent Writers Guild contract agreement, the show is declining to grant them. The New York Times 06/26/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Sunday June 24

NOW THAT'S MARKETING: Quick: who is Jeanine Salla? If you answered, "I don't know, but she's got something to do with that new Spielberg flick," you're half right. The truth is, Jeanine Salla is a nonexistent creation of Warner Brothers' marketing department, a fictional scientist specializing in robotic intelligence who supposedly consulted on "A.I.," expected to be this summer's hottest movie. Salla has her own website, and, incredibly, her own plotline, completely independent of the film. New York Post 06/24/01

  • HOLLYWOOD ETHICS - AN OXYMORON? Okay, so Sony got caught trying to pass off PR blurbs as independent reviews, and several other studios have copped to similar stunts. Hollywood must have some folks left with a sense of right and wrong, right? Right? Um, hello? Anybody? Los Angeles Times 06/24/01

REALITY IS BORING: For as long as filmmakers have been making movies about classical music, musicologists have been complaining about the lack of historical accuracy. But now, a historically perfect film about music has arrived, and it is so boring that no one cares how truthful it is. Is there a middle ground, or are these musical biopics doomed to be exercises in either fantasy or monotony? Minneapolis Star Tribune 06/24/01

COMEDY CLUB OF THE MIND: Radio long ago surrendered to television in the war for the hearts and minds of the public, and retreated into the limited world of drive-time music blocks, stock market updates, and shrieking talk show hosts. But in the UK, radio seems to be making a stab at returning to the days when the best comedy on the air was aural, not visual. "While every mediocre stand-up appears to be given a TV series on the strength of a couple of years on the circuit and a reasonably well-reviewed Edinburgh Fringe show, Radio 4 attracts less egotistical, less pushy talents." The Telegraph (London) 06/23/01

NEW HOPE FOR ROOTS MUSIC? This summer, a film called "Songcatcher" will have industry experts on the edge of their trend-chasing seats, but they could care less whether the movie itself is a success. "[T]hey are watching to see how the Vanguard soundtrack does, believing its success may reveal whether ''O Brother, Wher Art Thou'' which has sold more than 1.2 million CDs and spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the country chart (longer than any other CD this year), is a fluke or the bellwether of a trend toward American roots music." Boston Globe 06/24/01

Friday June 22

INDIA WANTS TO GO GLOBAL: India's Bollywood film industry is by far the largest in the world, producing about 800 feature movies a year (compared to the 100 or so made in Hollywood). But Indian filmmakers "desperately want to increase their market share of $3.5 billion in a $300 billion global industry. There are just 12 cinemas per million people in Indian compared to 116 per million in America." BBC 06/21/01

SURVIVING CHINA: China is producing its own TV version of Survivor. "Contestants will be let loose in the uninhabited area with 10 matches and enough food for 10 days. What is perhaps surprising is that there is room for a survival program in a country where physical survival is a day-to-day reality for about 200 million Chinese estimated to be living in absolute poverty. More than 200,000 people aged between 12 and 70 have signed up in a bid to be among the 18 finalists chosen." The Age (Melbourne) 06/22/01

WAITING FOR DIGITAL: One in three U.K. households now has digital television, with at least five years to go before analog signals are switched off permanently. But although Britons appear to be ahead of (ahem) certain other countries in preparing for the transition to digital, concerns remain about how to get the entire country switched over in time. BBC 06/22/01

  • NOT BUYING IT: In Canada, where dozens of digital cable channels are slated for launch this fall, a new survey has ominous news for the industry: only 10% of Canadians are even considering signing on for the "digital tier" when it becomes available. If accurate, those numbers could spell doom for a large number of the new channels. Ottawa Citizen (CP) 06/22/01

NO, YOU CAN'T SIT IN HIS CHAIR NOW: If ever anyone managed to elevate the lowly sitcom to the level of high art, it was Carroll O'Connor, whose portrayal of lovable bigot Archie Bunker in Norman Lear's All in the Family pushed the TV envelope like nothing that had come before. O'Connor died Thursday of an apparent heart attack. He was 76. The New York Times 06/22/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Thursday June 21

SORT-OF FREE SPEECH? The US Congress will consider legislation that will sic the Federal Trade Commission on entertainment producers who are accused of marketing adult entertainment to children. Meanwhile a watchdog group is calling for a common rating system for TV and movies. Washington Post 06/21/01

DEFINITION OF A FAILURE? It's already earned more than $120 million at the box office, and is expected to bring in $250 million worldwide, but analysts are saying that Peral Harbor is a failure. Why? Because it cost $140 million to make, and expectations were so high. Nando Times (AP) 06/21/01

  • SOMEBODY HAS TO PAY: Disney Studios chief Peter Schneider is leaving the company after the Pearl Harbor disappointment. 06/21/01
  • BACK ON BROADWAY: Schneider will form his own Broadway theatre production company. 06/21/01

CAN'T TRUST THE BUZZ: A few weeks ago Sony got caught inventing a critic to say nice things abut its movies. Then the studio admitted it had used actors to pose as movie-goers raving about what they had seen in "coming-out-of-the-theatre" commercials. Now other studios say they too use actors for such commercials. Dallas Morning News (AP) 06/21/01

Wednesday June 20

CBC CUTS JOBS: Canada's public broadcaster CBC yesterday announced the elimination of 50 jobs, "mostly in the arts and entertainment production section of CBC TV." Ottawa Citizen 06/20/01

  • CBC WANTS MORE: Over the past decade the Canadian government has slashed the budget of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation by $400 million. This year it restored $60 million of those cuts in a one-time programming boost. Now CBC president Robert Rabinovich says the increase should be permanently renewed."Iif tomorrow the money disappeared, we'd be in a deep hole. We'd be in a very serious programming problem." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/20/01

Tuesday June 19

SONY FESSES UP AGAIN: "About two weeks ago, Sony's Columbia Pictures admitted inventing a fake critic named David Manning to pump several films in print advertisements. . . Now the studio has copped to using two of its employees, pretending to be unbiased moviegoers, in televised testimonials for Mel Gibson's 2000 Revolutionary War epic, 'The Patriot.' With some African-Americans critical about how the film overlooked slavery in colonial times, Columbia plucked two of its black employees. . . to crow about how the film was the 'perfect date movie.'" Boston Globe 06/19/01

IGNORING DIVERSITY: Apparently, the six major U.S. broadcast TV networks are not frightened of the NAACP and it's influential head man, Kweisi Mfume. A few short months after promising Mfume and his organization that they would do everything possible to increase diversity on network television, all six networks have unveiled fall lineups that are as white as a poodle in a snowstorm, seemingly challenging the NAACP to make good on its boycott threats. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 06/19/01

SAG/AFTRA STRIKE IMPROBABLE: "The prospect of a summer walkout by two of America's largest actors' unions is beginning to look increasingly unlikely." BBC 06/19/01

A LAUGHMASTER HANGS IT UP: How to explain to non-Canadians what John Morgan's retirement means to fans of the CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce? It's like Dana Carvey leaving Saturday Night Live or John Cleese departing Monty Python. Morgan, who has been writing and performing comedy for the CBC since 1967, is retiring at the age of 70. Two of his fellow cast members offer some memories and thoughts on what made the man so funny. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 06/19/01

Monday June 18

NOT MUCH LEFT OVER AFTER $20 MILLION: One of the big issues in current negotiations between actors and producers is pay for mid-tier actors. "With $20-million paydays for major box office stars, the working men and women of the film and television industry, those actors not always in the spotlight, are being squeezed." The New York Times 06/18/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Sunday June 17

DO VIEWERS WANT MORE? Is Super Tempting Millionaire Survivor Island the only thing TV viewers want to watch? A group of activists thinks not and is trying to "take back the airwaves." One such group is going out, taking video and recording events such as last year's World Trade Organization conference in Seattle. "If you document the abuses, the perpetrators can no longer hide. We're talking about video as a deterrent.'' Toronto Star 06/15/01

PSYCHOANALYZING THE MOVIES: Psychoanalysis and the movies are closely linked - those images you see up on the screen play on our subconscious. "At least since the Seventies, film theorists have used psychoanalysis to interpret movies, applying its tools to both content and form. The First European Psychoanalytic Film Festival will bring together psychoanalysts, filmmakers and film historians from different countries." The Observer (UK) 06/17/01

Friday June 15

HAS POP CULTURE LOST ITS BUZZ? Have the US TV networks lost touch with their audiences so profoundly that they're collectively unable to come up with a single new concept in which any significant number of viewers are interested? Is Viewer Apathy the cultural equivalent of Voter Apathy? More to the point, is what we see reflected in the mirror of popular culture a representation of who we really are these days, or just an image of who they think we are, or require us to be?" The Guardian (UK) 06/15/01

A CHICKEN/EGG THING: Does Hollywood's fare lead us down the path to brain rot? Or do we get the movies we want/deserve? "In short, are we living in a lively age of motion-picture pleasures - or are we witnessing what some critics call the dumbing down of American cinema?" Christian Science Monitor 06/15/01

TRUTH ABOUT BLURBS: So who cares about Sony's made-up movie critic? Movie pr types do much worse every day. "The simplest trick in the ad man’s book is the one word quote. 'Astonishing!' 'Brilliant!' 'Thrilling!' 'Beautiful!' Invariably you are meant to assume that the ripe adjective is describing the movie itself. But it’s just as likely that it was the star’s shoes that were 'beautiful,' the book the movie was based on that was 'brilliant,' a single sequence that was 'thrilling' and a particularly egregious bit of miscasting that the critic found 'astonishing.' A good rule of thumb: any word preceded by … and followed by … is no more to be trusted than a campaign promise by our current president." MSNBC (Newsweek) 06/14/01

WEB DREAMS: With online publications going out of business or cutting back, Salon's David Talbot has high hopes for his site's new subscription service. By next year, he says, "most of the stuff will be by subscription. There is even a school of thought within Salon management that we should go there sooner. It would be a shock to the system and a huge risk, but if we were to shut the gates entirely, even this year we could probably get at the very least ... 300,000 people to sign up. At $30 a piece, that's $9 million, which is really close to break-even." Wired 06/15/01

TO BE FOLLOWED, NO DOUBT, BY MCVEIGH: THE MUSICAL: "CBS has optioned the rights to turn the book, American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing into a miniseries that could air as soon as next year." New York Post 06/15/01

Thursday June 14

THE ABC MESS: The Australian Broadcasting Company is in turmoil, and the blame is being laid on embattled director Jonathan Shier. Rightly so, says one critic. But who hired him? And why was someone with so little experience tapped for the job? Audiences are down, programming is a shambles and staff are deserting. Where's the ABC board, and the government that oversees everything? Sydney Morning Herald 06/14/01

LANDMARK BACK ON TRACK? San Francisco's Landmark Theatres, the Bay Area's largest collection of moviehouses showing independent films, appears to be on its way back from bankruptcy, under the guidance of a new owner and two managers from the old days. San Francisco Chronicle 06/14/01

Wednesday June 13

AUSSIE RADIO STRIKE: Staff at ABC Radio National in Sydney went out on strike for 24 hours yesterday after the sacking of Radio National arts editor Ros Cheney. Sydney Morning Herald 06/13/01

  • Previously: ABC TO AX ARTS EDITOR: The Australian Broadcasting Company radio network is axing its arts editor as part of a "restructuring." But the current editor hasn't yet been officially told; she "returned from a four-week break overseas last Thursday to receive a telephone call from a colleague warning that her job had been made redundant." Sydney Morning Herald 06/12/01

Tuesday June 12

ABC TO AX ARTS EDITOR: The Australian Broadcasting Company radio network is axing its arts editor as part of a "restructuring." But the current editor hasn't yet been officially told; she "returned from a four-week break overseas last Thursday to receive a telephone call from a colleague warning that her job had been made redundant." Sydney Morning Herald 06/12/01

HOLLYWOOD NORTH: Toronto is awash in movie productions. "The influx of television and film production from the United States because of tax incentives and the cheap dollar has plainly altered the city's hotels and restaurants and served as an economic boon to the city of 2.5 million. But some people see a downside to the boom and wonder whether Toronto hasn't overextended itself to accommodate film and television production companies." The New York Times 06/12/01 (one-time registration required for access)

MEMO TO SPIELBERG, CAMERON, ET AL: How much time do you need to develop a story line, assemble a cast and crew, shoot and edit film, and have the final product ready for the critics? Five days. Really. And as for budget... you won't believe the budget. Nando Times (AP) 06/11/01

THE LIMBO OF FAILED TV PILOTS: Among them, the six TV broadcast networks - yep, there are six - introduced 29 new shows this year. But they made pilots for about a hundred. What happens to the other seventy? "Despite a $40 million investment per network, not much." 06/11/01

JUST SHOW THEM THE MONEY: "When local television stations assemble their daily schedules, the idea in theory is to put together a lineup that will be most attractive to viewers within their community. Yet increasingly, stations appear to be falling back on a somewhat different equation, one based not on what will garner the most eyeballs but who will pay the most money." Los Angeles Times 06/12/01

Monday June 11

SEATTLE SCREENS: What's America's largest film festival? Sundance? New York? No - it's Seattle, and "this year’s festival of 250 films from 50 countries will be seen by 150,000 film fans at a half-dozen venues. MSNBC 06/11/01

CRUEL CUTS: Cincinnati's Esquire Theatre is known for showing challenging movies. So patrons were shocked to find out that scenes from a Wayne Wang erotic drama The Center of the World were cut "without telling ticket-buyers or the film's distributor. 'If an artist can't even trust that their material is going to be presented in its intended form ... then who can you trust other than yourself to be distributing your material?' " Cincinnati Enquirer 06/08/01

Sunday June 10

BLACKLISTING THE AGED: "The latest Writers Guild statistics—compiled in 1998—find that out of the 122 prime-time TV series, 77 of them did not employ a single writer older than 50. Five years earlier, only 19 of them didn't. Over-50 writers make up one-third of guild membership, but only 5% of those writing on episodic comedies. Three years later, it can only be worse." So the over-50s are suing. Los Angeles Times 06/10/01

THE CANNES OF TV: The international TV world is gathering in Banff, Canada. "Founded in 1979 after a decade of struggle to put in place the building blocks for a viable industry, the Banff Television Festival emerged as the place for innovation, excellence and opportunity." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/09/01

Friday June 8

PBS MAKES AN EFFORT: America's Public Broadcasting Service announced what it called a major programming shake-up for the coming fall season. Changes include a new free-flowing documentary program which sounds an awful lot like public radio's "This American Life," and a slot for some vaguely defined "reality TV." Even with the changes, however, PBS still isn't taking any serious chances to attract new viewers. Nando Times (AP) 06/08/01

MOVIE FANS SUE SONY: Sony has now repeatedly apologized for creating a ficticious blurbmesiter to hype Sony movies. But that's not good enough for two movie fans, who are suing Sony for "deceptive, unfair and unlawful business practices." YThey mean to hurt Sony. 06/08/02

  • SONY FINDS SCAPEGOATS: "Sony Pictures has reprimanded and suspended two of its advertising executives for their roles in the creation of a fake film critic. The employees have been told to stay away from work for 30 days without pay. Sony would not confirm their names." BBC 06/08/01
  • BOY, IS THEIR FACE, UM, ROUGED: "In another embarrassment for Hollywood studio marketing efforts, ads for 20th Century Fox's "Moulin Rouge" attributed a positive comment about the film to the trade publication the Hollywood Reporter when the critic is actually employed by an online entertainment site." Los Angeles Times 06/08/01

Thursday June 7

SALMAN RUSHDIE ON THE EVILS OF REALITY TV: "The television set, once so idealistically thought of as our window on the world, has become a $2-shop mirror instead. Who needs images of the world's rich otherness, when you can watch these half-familiar avatars of yourself - these half-attractive half-persons - enacting ordinary life under weird conditions? Who needs talent, when the unashamed self-display of the talentless is constantly on offer?" The Age (Melbourne) 06/07/01

"MANNING" SPEAKS OUT: Recently, Sony Pictures was forced to admit that several glowing quotes being used to market its movies came from "David Manning," a nonexistent critic. A Boston journalist has tracked Manning down in the zen ether, however, and finds out that "you're better off not existing. You think Roger Ebert exists? At this point, he's just a concatenation of pixels." Boston Herald 06/07/01

Wednesday June 6

THE CASE OF THE FAKE BLURBS: Just why would Sony make up blurbs by a fake critic to hype its movies? And why such lame blurbs at that? Does anyone really pay attention to those unfailingly positive snippets from critics published in movie ads? Critics know the worth of their opinions don't they? MSNBC 06/06/01

Tuesday June 5

RUNNING IN PLACE: Is the Australian Broadcasting Company sinking? Management is deserting, and "ratings have dropped by 20 per cent since the start of the year, and the national broadcaster now has a low 13 per cent share of the audience in five capital cities, down from an all-time high of 24 per cent." Why? ABC's schedule is essentially the same as it was five years ago. The Age (Melbourne) 06/04/01

GOING PUBLIC IN L.A.: If it's true that Los Angeles lags in public broadcasting, that may be "about to change. Minnesota Public Radio, a growing national programmer with deep pockets, showed up in town last year to take out a long-term lease on Pasadena City College station KPCC, then acquired Marketplace while vowing to 'establish Los Angeles as a new creative center for the development of public radio broadcasting'." Los Angeles Times 06/04/01

Monday June 4

"R" - KISS OF DEATH: A new study says that movies receding an "R" rating "can lose as much as 40 percent of potential opening-weekend earnings because of stricter compliance with the R rating's ban on viewers under 17 who aren't accompanied by a parent or guardian." Boston Herald (AP) 06/04/01

TRAILER WARS: One of the best ways to hype a movie is to get the film's trailer played as often as possible. "In the past, the fierce competition for trailer placement has been one of the best-kept secrets in the movie business. But that all changed last week. That's when the news broke that Sony Pictures had quietly made a deal paying four major theater chains to guarantee they would play a trailer for the studio's upcoming Rob Schneider comedy, The Animal, before showing The Mummy Returns." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 06/04/01

ABC MANAGEMENT TURMOIL: A third member of the Australian Broadcasting Company has resigned, renewing questions about ABC chief Jonathan Shier's ability to lead the public broadcaster. The Age (Melbourne) 06/04/01

A VERY BIG BOMB: Pearl Harbor might have received bad reviews, but evidently everyone still wants to see it. The movie took in $30 million its second weekend out, bringing its 10-day total to $120 million. Meanwhile, it looks like Shrek is on its way to being the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. Los Angeles Times 06/04/01

Sunday June 3

LAUNCHING PUBLIC RADIO: Jay Allison got the idea that Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket ought to have their own public radio station. So he raised some money, convinced the FCC to grant a license and... The New York Times 06/03/01 (one-time registration required for access)

NATIONAL EXPOSURE: Why does Los Angeles' public television station produce so little national programming? "Sitting in the nation's film and television production capital, not to mention its second-largest TV market, KCET contributes relatively little original programming to PBS's national schedule. Its 45 hours in fiscal 1999 were approximately one-fifth of what PBS's top producer, WNET in New York, provided." The New York Times 06/03/01 (one-time registration required for access)

SPECTACULAR! BRILLIANT! NON-EXISTENT! David Manning had a tendency to love films - but only Sony films. Turns out someone at Sony pictures invented Manning as a blurbmeister touting the company's movies in ads. Houston Chronicle (AP) 06/03/01

Friday June 1

SOME OLD TIME COPYRIGHT: Napster is in legal difficulty again. The copyright owner of some old time radio shows charges that the Napster system illegally "allows users to swap copies of Fibber McGee and Abbott and Costello radio shows." The Age (AFP) 06/01/01

RIEFENSTAHL'S LEGACY: So who is the most influential filmmaker of the last hundred years? Spielberg? Nah. Hitchcock, Eisenstein, or Disney? Not a chance. "If the defining modes of the modern blockbuster are the romance of power and technology, and if its primary purpose is to overwhelm our senses into a state of rapturous submission to spectacle, no filmmaker laid more groundwork, nor groundwork that was more enduringly fertile, than the woman Adolf Hitler once engaged as his personal propagandist." Toronto Star 06/01/01

FROM BAD TO WORSE: "Offering more bad news in the wake of failed merger talks, the head of German media giant Bertelsmann AG's music unit said his division wouldn't post a profit this year... Earlier this month, merger talks between BMG and British rival EMI Group PLC fell through, with EMI citing insurmountable regulatory hurdles thrown in the way by European and U.S. antitrust authorities." Nando Times (AP) 05/31/01