OZZY AND FAMILY TO REVIVE TV VARIETY FORMAT

The traditional primetime variety show, long considered a relic of television's golden age, is about to be revived by Fox -- at least for a six-episode test run. The network announced Monday that the untitled hour-long show will be hosted by the Osbourne family -- Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly -- and will include interactive elements and contests. The project, being spearheaded at Fox by Mike Darnell, the network's president of alternative programming, and produced by James Sunderland of FremantleMedia North America, is expected to come together in time for a Christmas special.

MSNBC.COM OPENS DIGITAL CAFE IN NEW YORK

Bringing to mind Apple's stylish Apple Stores, which continue to draw big crowds at shopping malls across the country, MSNBC has opened the MSNBC.COM Digital Café in New York's Rockefeller Plaza. News reports did not indicate whether the company is planning to launch similar cafés in other cities although in an interview with AdWeek, MSNBC.com marketing chief Catherine Captain seemed to suggest that it would be doing so. "Not everyone is going to come to your website every day. So we have been thinking of other ways to get our content out here," she said.

GOOGLE WON'T FIGHT ORDER TO TURN OVER YOUTUBE RECORDS

Google has no intention of challenging a judge's order that its YouTube unit turn over to Viacom information about users who viewed videos on the website. However, it said that it would attempt to keep the identity of the users anonymous, since, it said, "IP addresses and user names aren't necessary to determine general viewing practices." Google also assured YouTube users that "IP addresses identify a computer, not the person using it. It's not possible to determine your identity solely based on your IP address." But some YouTube users were unpersuaded. On the TV Week website, one user wrote, "Why aren't the users voicing their concerns to Viacom and Google? We can't just sit here passively and let this happen without having our voices heard. This has less to do with YouTube and more to do with the future of the Internet! If our privacy isn't honored by the courts or Viacom, we must speak out loud and clear."

SOME HDTV OWNERS WON'T WATCH STANDARD-DEF SHOWS

Twenty percent of owners of high-definition television sets will only watch programs that are broadcast in HDTV, and 45 percent say they watch HDTV programs most of the time, according to a survey by Nielsen Media Research for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing. The survey also concluded that among those TV viewers who do not own HDTV sets 28 percent expressed interest in buying one; likewise 20 percent said they would be interested in subscribing to a digital cable system. In a separate study, Nielsen found that the average television viewer now spends 127.15 hours a month in front of a TV set -- up 4 percent from a year ago. "Timeshifted" watching now accounts for 5:50 hours of viewing per month, up 56 percent from last year. TV viewers now spend 2:19 hours watching video on the Internet and 3:15 hours watching it on their mobile phones.

SURVIVOR PARTNER/PRODUCER SUES BURNETT

Conrad Riggs has filed a $70-million lawsuit against his former partner and best friend Mark Burnett alleging that Burnett cheated him out of revenues from projects that the two jointly developed, including Survivor and The Apprentice. The suit contends that Riggs has received no payments since February 2007. Riggs' attorney, Bart Williams told today's (Tuesday) Los Angeles Times, ""We think that cutting Conrad out of the day-to-day operations and not paying him were both designed to put maximum pressure on him to give up his rights in the enterprise, and that's something that Conrad simply won't do."

NOT ALL CAMERAS WILL BE MANNED DURING OLYMPICS

A British company which specializes in the manufacture and sale of remote camera systems and support systems for broadcasters said Monday that it is installing more than 200 high-definition camera systems for coverage of the Beijing Olympics. Shepperton-based Camera Corps said that it is fulfilling terms of a contract with Beijing Olympics Broadcasting, the Games' host broadcaster. It also is shipping 18 motorized tracking camera systems, remote camera heads, camera cranes, underwater cameras, archery target cameras (to be mounted in the bull's eyes), and a camera with a fisheye lens that will be installed above the Velodrome stadium to cover the entire track. The announcement seemed to indicate that many of the Olympics events to be covered on television and Internet video will not use traditional camera crews but remotely operated equipment instead.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.