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Jun 14, 2002  •  Post A Comment

‘Divorce Court’ to face jury trial

An independent Los Angeles producer who filed a September 2001 lawsuit claiming she gave Twentieth Television the pitch to revive “Divorce Court” for first-run syndication, has been given a July 30, 2002, court date to proceed with a jury trial. Judge Stephen J. Czuleger of Los Angeles Superior Court rejected a summary judgment from Twentieth’s lawyers to dismiss the suit brought by producer Karol Pozniak.

Through her attorney, R. Michael Collum of Novian & Novian, Ms. Pozniak alleged that she brought the idea to Twentieth to revive the “Divorce Court” format and had been promised an active producer title within the show.

Ms. Pozniak is seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages. Sources say Ms. Pozniak is seeking a jury award in the six- to seven-figure range, but Mr. Collum declined comment altogether. Mynkanh P. Shelton, an attorney for Fox Group Legal, did not return a call late Friday.

Emmis dumps Arthur Andersen for Ernst & Young: Emmis Communications Corporation announced the appointment of Ernst & Young as the company’s independent auditor, replacing Arthur Andersen.

The company released a statement that said, “The change of independent public accountants is not the result of any disagreement between Emmis and Andersen on matters of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure or auditing scope and procedure.” The move was effective Thursday.

It’s official: ‘VIP’ is RIP: The changing weekly syndication business claimed another victim with the cancellation of Columbia TriStar Domestic Television’s “VIP.” The series, starring Pamela Anderson, had aired for four years and had averaged a 2.0 rating this season, down 20 percent from 2000-01 numbers.

“As a result of our co-production partner Kirch Group’s financial difficulties, they were no longer able to continue with the show, which made the financial outlook untenable,” read a statement from the distributor.

Ms Anderson released her own statement reading: “Due to a multitude of issues — some personal — we have decided to all move on from ‘VIP.’ It has been an incredibly fun four seasons.”

White House wants FCC to develop national broadband policy: The White House is looking to the Federal Communications Commission to play the lead role in developing the nation’s broadband policy. Addressing technology executives at a White House tech forum Thursday, President Bush said he’s taken steps to ensure that the Internet remains a “tax-free environment.”

AT&T, which is betting heavily on broadband for its business strategy, hailed the president’s comments. “President Bush struck the right chord in his recognition that expanding broadband, creating competition, and protecting consumers is right for America,” said Len Cali, AT&T VP, law, and director of federal government affairs.

Court upholds FCC rules on cable wires: A federal appeals court in Atlanta on Thursday upheld most of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules for implementing the attachment of cable television wires to utility poles. The suit, brought by Florida Power and Light Co., is one of several filed by utility companies challenging the pole attachment rates and implementation. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association hailed the decision.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications