Twentieth Century Fox Television and British commercial network ITV have reached an agreement to set up a joint development fund to produce original series that could air in either the U.S. or Britain -- or both. The deal appeared to have been masterminded by Lee Bartlett,a former Fox exec who was recently appointed head of global content at ITV. In an interview with the London Financial Times, Bartlett said, "From this development fund, we could actually create scripted formats that could be produced in both countries at the same time. ... There could be differences -- the cast for the British version could be more British than for the American version -- but you could be making two series on top of each other, if I can put it like that. That could get you some pretty good production synergies." Analysts observed that the deal could be especially advantageous for Fox, given the fact that it allows each company to use the other's facilities and hire each other's talent. Production costs are said to be lower in the U.K. than they are in the U.S., and the ability to produce shows employing British writing and acting talent would give Fox considerable leverage when it comes time to renew existing labor pacts.


South Korea's Hyundai has unveiled a new 3-D LCD television set in Japan that employs the Tri-Def technology developed by DDD Group PLC of Santa Monica, CA. The 46-inch set (along with two pairs of glasses), priced at just under $4,000, is currently capable of receiving 3-D programs only from Tokyo cable channel BS 11. But content is reportedly sparse and limited to just a few minutes a day. Samsung has already introduced a rear-projection 3-D set in the U.S. using the Tri-Def technology, but there are no regular 3-D telecasts produced anywhere in the U.S. Hyundai said that it has no current plans to distribute its LCD 3-D set overseas.


The pilot of David E. Kelley's upcoming Life on Mars has suddenly appeared on pirate websites, TV Weekreported Wednesday. The appearance of the video is likely to upset ABC programming executives since they ordered the series to be overhauled after seeing the pilot -- which is not likely ever to be aired in its original form. In a message posted on the TV Weeksite, Rick Ellis -- presumably the same writer who operates the website -- observed that the appearance of the pilots of other TV series have been leaked online before being extensively retooled and that at least five fall pilots are currently available on various file-sharing sites.


The Fox Business Network, which has been struggling to attract viewers, may soon be able to attract listeners as a result of a deal between the News Corp-owned cable network and XM Satellite Radio. The two companies announced Wednesday that FBN will debut on the satellite radio service beginning July 14. Noting in a statement that XM already carries the audio of Fox News and Fox News Talk, XM programming exec Eric Logan said, "This is the latest milestone in a long and productive partnership between Fox News and XM."


Joan Rivers has put her ousting from the British TV show Loose Womento comedic good use. In an interview with the London Daily MirrorRivers recounted what happened during a commercial break after she used two verboten terms to describe Russell Crowe, whom she once attempted to interview during a red-carpet affair. Saying that she expected her words to be bleeped (in fact she warned the technical crew on camera, "Get ready to bleep this" before letting loose), Rivers said, "I was having a great time and everybody was laughing. Then these people -- these IDIOTS -- came running on to the set and RIPPED me off my seat and dragged me off. They were saying, 'Let's go, let's go, let's go.' I thought I was being arrested. Then I thought something must be wrong at my house. I have a sick dog at home and I thought, 'Oh God, it must be Lulu,' because they bundled me away so quickly. My toes are still bleeding from where they were dragged across the carpet. They ruined a beautiful pair of Manolo Blahniks. I mean, I'm not a young woman. I might have osteoporosis and they could have snapped my limbs. I didn't even have time to say goodbye. When the audience saw my empty chair I worried that because of my age, they might think I'd wet it because my diaper leaked." Rivers is 75. Rivers said that the show's producers said they were worried that they'd be fined as a result of her remarks. "I'm worried I won't be paid."