- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CALIFORNIA

‘Big Brother’ maker Endemol makes scripted TV push

LOS ANGELES | Endemol, the Dutch entertainment giant behind hit reality TV shows such as “Big Brother” and “Deal or No Deal,” said Wednesday that it is launching a division to produce and finance scripted TV shows in the United States for global distribution.

The company, bought by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset and Goldman Sachs for around $3.6 billion in 2007, is just getting into the scripted show business. Endemol USA developed an hourlong drama, “Hell on Wheels,” set to premiere on AMC on Nov. 6. Endemol has overseas distribution rights.

The launch of the new division, Endemol Studios, means that Endemol will now invest money in buying and producing shows, not just develop content while looking for other investors.

Endemol Studios represents a significant step in our ongoing strategy to expand and diversify our activities in North America at the same time helping fuel our global growth,” Endemol North America Chairman David Goldberg said.

The unit expects to focus on original dramas for cable TV channels in the U.S., as well as other shows adapted from its international portfolio.

NEW YORK

Reports: McGraw-Hill mulls education unit spinoff

NEW YORK | Published reports say McGraw-Hill Cos. has hired an investment bank to assist in a review that could lead to a spinoff of its textbook-publishing education business.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that McGraw-Hill hired Evercore Partners in March to study options for McGraw-Hill Education. The Journal cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The New York Times and Bloomberg News subsequently published similar reports, also citing anonymous sources.

Representatives of McGraw-Hill and Evercore Partners declined to comment to the Associated Press.

The reports said no final decisions have been made about the future of McGraw-Hill’s education business.

The Journal said McGraw-Hill has ruled out breaking up the education division, and that the focus has been on a possible separation of that business.

CALIFORNIA

Mattel must post $315M while ruling on appeal

SANTA ANA | A federal judge ordered toy giant Mattel Inc. to post a $315 million bond while it appeals a $310 million award to rival toymaker MGA Entertainment Inc. in a long-running legal dispute over who owns the copyright to the popular Bratz doll line.

In his ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter gave El Segundo-based Mattel until Aug. 23 to post the bond.

MGA had wanted Mattel to post an even higher amount as a guarantee it could pay the $310 million should it lose on appeal.

Earlier this month, Judge Carter ordered Mattel to pay nearly $310 million in damages and attorney fees after a jury found in April that the company stole trade secrets from the Los Angeles-based MGA.

It was a surprising twist in the case, which originated in 2004 when Mattel first sued over ownership of MGA’s flagship Bratz doll line. Mattel alleged that Bratz designer Carter Bryant had come up with the idea for the pouty-lipped, urban-inspired doll while working at Mattel and secretly took the idea to its rival.

A jury ruled in Mattel’s favor after a first trial in 2008, but the case was overturned on appeal and sent back for retrial.

MINNESOTA

Cargill resumes turkey production at plant

MINNETONKA | Minnesota-based Cargill Inc. has resumed production of ground turkey at an Arkansas plant linked to a salmonella outbreak.

Cargill spokesman Mike Martin says limited production has resumed after the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved additional anti-bacterial safety measures.

Federal officials say the salmonella outbreak has sickened 107 people in 31 states as of Aug. 11.

Cargill recalled about 36 million pounds of ground turkey on Aug. 3, nearly five months after the first illness was reported. Cargill, of Minnetonka, shut down operations at the Springdale, Ark., turkey processing plant at that time.

Cargill faces another lawsuit connected to the outbreak. The Star Tribune reports that an Oregon couple is suing the company because their 1-year-old daughter fell sick after eating ground turkey meatballs.