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Warner Bros. Discovery-BT Joint Venture Approved by U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority

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The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved the joint venture between Warner Bros. Discovery and telco giant BT.

The entities had revealed a premium sports venture in May, for the U.K. and Ireland. The planned 50-50 joint venture would see BT Sport transferred to Warner Bros. Discovery, meaning that BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. are operated together. The venture will have one of the most extensive portfolios of premium sports rights including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams featuring the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, cycling Grand Tours including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and the winter sports World Cup season.

In June, launching an investigation into the venture, the CMA had said: “The Competition and Markets Authority is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

On Friday, Warner Bros. Discovery said that the venture had been approved. “The CMA’s decision now allows BT and Warner Bros. Discovery to complete the creation of the JV in the coming weeks and for each of their assets to be transferred into the new company,” Warner Bros. Discovery said.

The board of directors of the joint venture will be equally represented between appointees of British Telecommunications plc and Warner Bros. Discovery. The first chair to be appointed, nominated by each shareholder on a rotating basis, will be Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division. The new management and delivery of the joint venture will be led by Andrew Georgiou, president and MD, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, who will be a member of its board.

Allera said: “It’s great news that the CMA has approved the new JV that we are forming with Warner Bros. Discovery, combining the very best of BT Sport and Eurosport U.K., to create an exciting new offer for live sport programming in the U.K.. Today is a huge milestone, as we now look toward day one of the new business, which we hope to be in the coming weeks.”

Georgiou added: “Combining the capabilities, portfolios and scale of BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. will be a big win for fans in the U.K. and Ireland, offering a new destination that will feature all the sport they love in one place. We now look forward to closing the transaction and having the opportunity to further engage all stakeholders in the process of forming and developing the JV.”



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Viaplay, SF Studios Cast Nordic Stars Julia Ragnarsson, Erik Enge for Psychological Thriller ‘End of Summer’ (EXCLUSIVE)

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Julia Ragnarsson (“Two Sisters,” “Spring Tide”) and Erik Enge (“Tiger”) are the two leading stars of “End of Summer,” a psychological thriller series based Anders de la Motte’s bestselling Swedish novel of the same name. The show has been ordered by Viaplay and is being produced by Harmonica Films with SF Studios and Film i Skåne co-producing.

Jens Jonsson (“Young Wallander”) and Henrik Georgsson (“The Bridge”) are the head writers on the series which shot in Skåne in the southern part of Sweden and will premiere in the fall on Viaplay.

The cast also includes Simon J Berger (“Exit”), Torkel Petersson (“A Swedish Defence”), Per Ragnar (“Let the Right One In”), Linus James Nilsson, Anna Granath, Emelie Garbers, Henrik Norlén, Bahador Foladi, Vilhelm Blomgren and Lars Schilken.

The six-episode series opens on a summer evening in 1984 when a 5-year-old boy vanishes in rural southern Sweden. The police investigation fails to find the truth, leaving behind rumors, suspicion and a grieving family. Twenty years later, the boy’s older sister Vera is leading a group therapy session in Stockholm, when a young man describes a strangely familiar childhood memory of a disappearance. A shaken Vera travels home to her fractured family to uncover, once and for all, what really happened in the summer that never ended.

“This has really been a challenging and fantastic experience,” said Ragnarsson. The actor plays the series’ protagonist, Vera, whom she described as a “complex character.”

“End of Summer” is directed by Jens Jonsson (“Blinded,” “The Hunters”) and Henrik Georgsson (“The Bridge,” “Wallander”). Episode writers are Axel Stjärne, Jimmy Nivrén Olsson and Pontus Edvinsson. Worldwide sales are handled by Viaplay Content Distribution.



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Seth Rogen Shares His Blunt Thoughts On A Freaks & Geeks Revival

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Freaks and Geeks gained a cult following after its cancelation in 2000, but Seth Rogen has a blunt response for those still hoping for a reboot.


Seth Rogen has a blunt response for those still hoping for a Freaks and Geeks revival. Freaks and Geeks marked a rare occasion in which a TV series that was canceled after just one season retained a strong cult following. The show initially premiered in 1999 and was a teen dramedy created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow. Freaks and Geeks follows two siblings, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam Weir (John Francis Daley), who exist on different planes of the social hierarchy in high school. The show is a hilarious and candid portrayal of adolescence, as it follows Lindsay and the “freaks”, and Sam and the “geeks” navigating high school life.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

In an interview with People, Rogen responds to the question of whether a Freaks and Geeks revival would be possible. While Rogen is now a prominent actor in Hollywood, Freaks and Geeks was actually Rogen’s very first acting role. He starred as Ken Miller, a fellow student at William McKinley High, known for his smart mouth and sarcasm. Despite Freaks and Geeks‘ impact on his Hollywood career, Rogen has a brutally honest response to the show’s possible revival. Check out his statement below:

I don’t think anyone would do it. It’s so rare that you do something in your career that is actually just viewed as good. I know enough now not to f— with that, to just let it be good and not try to go revisit it. And just let it exist.


Does Freaks & Geeks Need A Revival?

The cast of Freaks and Geeks

Rogen seems to believe that Freaks and Geeks doesn’t need a revival. However, the fact that he has been pressed about such a thing shows that there is interest in one. It is easy to see why viewers would yearn for more of the show. Freaks and Geeks didn’t get a fair chance during its run. It had a stellar cast, the talents of Apatow behind the scenes, and a surprisingly relatable and realistic portrayal of high school life. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to save it.

Freaks and Geeks‘ demise ultimately came from its release schedule. NBC chose to air new episodes of the series on Saturday evening. The time slot is already a disadvantage, considering viewers may have plans on weekend nights. To make matters worse, Freaks and Geeks went on multiple hiatuses due to the World Series and holidays. NBC also wasn’t very open to the ideas and themes of Freaks and Geeks. Since its cancelation, viewers and critics alike have recognized its value. Many consider its merit as a TV series and its rather frustrating cancelation when citing the need for a revival.

However, some may ignore the technicalities that would go into a Freaks and Geeks revival. While some films and TV series have experienced impressive reunions years after the original premiere, not every production can pull this off, especially Freaks and Geeks, which kicked off the high-profile careers of numerous stars, including Rogen, Daley, Cardellini, Busy Phillips, Jason Segel, and James Franco. In addition to the difficulty in getting all these prominent Hollywood names on board, a revival may not be as good as the original. Rogen makes a fair point in that, sometimes, it is best to leave a highly praised project alone. Few critically acclaimed stories can pull off a revival, sequel, or reboot that lives up to everything the original was. In just one season, Freaks and Geeks gained a cult following and created an impressive legacy, and it may be best not to risk tarnishing that.

Source: People

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‘Gomorrah’ Author Roberto Saviano Stands Second Trial for Calling Right-Wing Italian Government Member a ‘Bastard’

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Author and anti-Mafia activist Roberto Saviano, whose Neapolitan mob exposé “Gomorrah” is the basis for the popular HBO Max series of the same title, stood his second trial in three months on Wednesday on charges of defaming a member of Italy’s current right-wing government.

Saviano first appeared in court in November for a defamation lawsuit brought by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni for calling her a “bastard” while blasting her stance on migrants. This time, he is facing a libel suit from League leader and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini for also calling him a “bastard” while discussing migrants on a RAI TV talk show in December 2020.

On RAI talk show “Piazzapulita,” Saviano blasted Meloni and Salvini, who were then members of the opposition, for their attempts to block migrant rescue boats. Meloni said on the show that Rome should “repatriate migrants and sink the boats that rescued them.”

Saviano was commenting on footage of a sea rescue operation by the Spanish NGO Open Arms, in which a six-month old baby from Guinea died before he could be airlifted to Italy.

“All the bullshit [said about NGOs], sea taxis, cruises [for migrants],” he said. “All I can say is: bastards, how could you? Meloni, Salvini: bastards.”

“I’m proud to be a defendant because I can tell the court that party leaders and ministers cannot dodge the possibility of criticism,” Saviano told the judges on Wednesday Italian news agency ANSA reported. 

Saviano, who is also being sued by Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano, in this case for calling him a “mediocre journalist and a biographer of Putin,” also pointed out to the court that “three ministers of the same government have decided to sue for [libel] damages a person who dared to criticize them,” according to ANSA.

Saviano’s defamation trial against Salvini was adjourned to June 1, when the League leader will be heard.



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