Media: The Word On The Street

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The Independent Culture
CHRIS EVANS' and Matthew Freud's plans to take over The Star seem to have stalled and now their preferred choice as editor of a new-model red top, Mike Soutar, has gone and found himself a better job. Soutar, the man who turned FHM from a 60,000 a month fashion mag to a half-million selling lads' mag has gone to New York to be editor of the US edition of Maxim. It's not a bad career decision, Maxim is America's fastest growing magazine, while The Star struggles to survive and even its owners want rid of it.

THE PROGRAMMES in competition for this month's Golden Rose of Montreux are the usual combination of the bizarre and brilliant. Foreign judges will probably love BBC 2's The League of Gentlemen and Big Train - they are after all very strange. But Caroline Aherne's Royle Family has been nominated and has problems being understood south of Watford, let alone by a Spanish judge. It will be interesting to see how well the Ivana Zigon Show and the arts special Goran Bregovic at Olympian, do - they are both from the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, not the flavour of the month at the moment. And Channel 5's programme buyers must make sure they go - one of Israel's entries is called Spank!

BAD NEWS for The Sun and The Mirror who are loudly touting their plans to be free Internet Service Providers. A report last week from the highly credible IMRG group - whose members include BT, Deloitte & Touche and IBM - was headed "The me-too-madness of the free ISP". Ominous sections included one called "There is no money" which showed how no one will make a penny from providing a free ISP. It also explained that as everyone from Farmers Weekly to Barclays and Virgin are now providing free ISP services, the chances of millions seeing the advertising on the Sun or Mirror sites has become increasingly unlikely.

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