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26Sep/110

Breaking News

Johnny Depp's recently aborted "The Lone Ranger" director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have have lowered the film's production budget from a  $250 million to $215 million. And that was all Disney wanted in the first place.

An official announcement from Disney the film is back on, and that it will  start shooting sometime in the new year seems imminent. "The Social Network" star Armie Hammer is on board as the title character.

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26Sep/110

Entertainment Arts & Technology

NBC NEWS WINS SIX NEWS AND DOCUMENTARY EMMY AWARDS

BRAVO'S "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA" RETURNS NOVEMBER 6 AT 10 PM ET/PT

OXYGEN ANNOUNCES CASTING CALLS FOR THE NEXT SEASON OF "THE GLEE PROJECT"

Panasonic: Almost everyone thinks 3DTV beats HD
Half of all U.S. consumers wish they owned a 3D television, according to a survey commissioned by Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic. The poll, which was conducted by research firm Frank N. Magid Associates at the Disney D23 Expo in August, found that a whopping 99% of those asked said they believe 3DTVs are better than two-dimensional high-definition televisions

Wal-Mart's Vudu puts new emphasis on TV
Vudu, the over-the-top video service from Wal-Mart, will bulk up its TV inventory by the end of next month by making more than 10,500 TV series episodes available for single-episode purchase. Vudu currently lists more than five dozen TV series for "next-day air" viewings, including BBC America's "Doctor Who" (Season 6), TNT's "The Closer" (Season 7) and Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" (Season 2

Amazon takes a step forward in streaming with Fox deal
Subscribers to Amazon's Prime instant-video service will get access to content from Fox under an agreement signed by the companies. Market watchers see the move as a part of an attempt by Amazon to boost its standing in the streaming-content market and to take on Netflix. Amazon charges $79 a year for Prime, which has a library of 11,000 movies and TV shows, including content from CBS, NBC Universal, Sony and Warner Bros.

Record number of U.S. consumers watch video online, says comScore
American consumers cumulatively watched about 2.5 billion minutes of online ads in August, according to monthly metrics released comScore, which attributed the findings to a surge in the number of people watching online video. According to the report, about 86% of U.S. Internet users watched at least some online video content last month, more than half of it via YouTube.

Reports: Amazon is set to detail tabletlike e-reader
Amazon this week is expected to unveil a new version of its Kindle e-reader that may present a competitive challenge to the iPad tablet computer. The device reportedly will have a smaller touch screen than the popular Apple tablet but will cost about $250, which is half the price of a basic iPad

Samsung readies release of Omnia W "Mango"-based smartphone
Samsung Electronics said its first "Mango"-based phone will make its debut in Italy by the end of October. The Omnia W -- which has a 3.7-inch screen, a 1.4GHz processor and 8 gigabytes of storage -- will retail for about $420, the company said

LightSquared takes FCC spectrum fight to the soapbox
LightSquared made a formal appeal to the American public regarding the benefits of its planned Long-Term Evolution network by taking out advertisements in major U.S. newspapers to publicly contradict regulators' concerns about the plan. The Federal Communications Commission said the network, which would use spectrum traditionally reserved for satellite services, would interfere with GPS signals. In its ad, LightSquared insists it has resolved 99.5% of the interference problems and argues that the interference stems from the inappropriate use of the service.

Comcast launches Internet Essentials program to spur broadband
Comcast recently launched a low-cost Internet and hardware subsidization program dubbed Internet Essentials. The program enables households that contain at least one child who qualifies for free school lunches to get broadband Internet connectivity for $9.95 per month. Comcast executive David Cohen says the company has gotten about 100,000 phone inquiries about the program.

The president's visit to Los Angeles is already causing traffic congestion around West Hollywood and Beverly Hills -- and it's only going to get worse as the day goes on.

Panel: Brands do matter in mobile, social games
Panelists at Facebook's f8 developers conference concluded that brands are becoming more important to gamers on social media networks and on mobile devices. One branded success is "The Sims Social," the Facebook-based version of the popular game franchise from Electronic Arts, which quickly became the second-most-popular Facebook game, trailing only "CityVille" from Zynga

YouTube reportedly nears launch of scheduled video content
YouTube is completing contracts for the early 2012 launch of channels that will have scheduled video content on topics including fashion and sports, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the development. The Google subsidiary declined to comment

Gamers weigh in on 3D effects
Market research firm Interpret reports that 28% of Nintendo 3DS owners it surveyed said the 3D effects detracted from the game-playing experience. An additional 22% said 3D improved game playing on the handheld device.

Crestron touts universal "WorldSearch" in patent filing
Crestron Electronics has filed for a patent on technology that can search for content among multiple sources, such as home media servers, iTunes and Netflix. The so-called "universal search" technology, which the company brands as WorldSearch, is incorporated into Crestron's ADMS Intermedia Digital Media System.

Report: DLNA standard may promote Android as major media hub
Android-based devices could become a force as in-home media hubs under an open standard emerging from the Digital Living Network Alliance, according to an IMS Research report that suggests consumer-electronics equipment makers are lining up to support the technology. IMS' mobile analysts predict that Android devices could become the backbone of in-home networks, a trend that may pose a threat to Apple's proprietary AirPlay platform.

MTV, History show strength in key adult demos
Although USA kept its place atop the cable ratings last season, MTV and History logged the most growth, Nielsen ratings show. MTV, for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 18, moved from fourth to first among adults 18 to 34 and increased its share of the 18-to-49 segment by 34%. History, via its roster of reality shows, such as "Pawn Stars" and "Ax Men," went from seventh to fourth among 18-to-49 viewers, increasing it share by 32%

Hearst and HGTV are betting on new consumer mag
Hearst and HGTV have teamed up on a new publication that seeks to appeal to American consumers who are looking to accessorize and decorate their homes on a budget. HGTV Magazine, with Sara Peterson as editor in chief, will publish its first issue in October

Veria rebrands network to reflect broader wellness theme
Veria TV has a new name -- Veria Living -- and a new yellow and orange logo incorporating Eastern and Western elements that's meant to better convey its wider "pop wellness" focus. The network also has a new tagline, "Go Well."

Jane Seymour, Sara Paxton to star in ABC Family musical
ABC Family next year will present its first original movie musical. "Elixir" will star Jane Seymour as a former top Broadway dancer who is now the choreographer for her daughter. Meanwhile, her daughter, played by Sara Paxton, wants to stop dancing to get married

DreamWorks Animation drops HBO in favor of Netflix
Netflix has replaced HBO as the premium venue for DreamWorks Animation releases. The multiyear agreement marks the first time a major studio has opted for a streaming service over pay TV. The deal has been valued by analysts at $30 million per movie. The increasing number of Netflix competitors drives up the price of content, said Michael Nathanson, a media analyst for Nomura.

Turner makes case to advertisers for Conan's online success
Conan O'Brien's late-night show may not be living up to TV ratings expectations, but it is surpassing its rivals in its ability to connect with 18-to-49 viewers online, Turner Broadcasting executives say. O'Brien has 20 million online and TV viewers in the coveted age segment, and they have better ad recall than is typical of audiences of other late-night talk shows, Turner says. The show also has 1.7 million Facebook connections, a higher number than O'Brien's average audience during his freshman year on TBS

FX offers short-form, branded series to promote Audi model
FX Networks has teamed up with Audi to create a series of two-minute branded clips as a promotional vehicle for the automaker's 2012 A6 model. The "Untitled Jersey City Project" consists of eight two-minute episodes that were scheduled to debut Sunday during FX's prime-time movie and run on four Sundays