Hard Copy

Virgin hooks MGM

Carlton Communications is believed to be hopping mad following its failure to win the bitter bidding war for MGM Cinemas, the UK's largest chain. It was pipped to the post by Richard Branson's Virgin, even though it was prepared to negotiate a higher price. The seller, distressed French bank Credit Lyonnais, was intent on closing the sale by last Friday, and took the best offer it had in hand - pounds 195m from Virgin. Also left out in the cold was a miffed Rank Organisation, the second-largest cinema operator.

Cable TV with Kudos

The cable business is becoming a cottage industry, with the most unlikely contenders setting up small shops to broadcast to the British television audience. The latest is a joint venture between marketeers Adam Stanhope and Robert Ditcham and Kudos, the independent production company, which plan to create programming for the 12-20 age group. Narrow-casting par excellence.

Honey, I dumped the Kids

How nervous is Disney about being associated with the controversial urban angst flick Kids? Why, so nervous that its art-cinema arm, Miramax Films, has had to set up Excalibur Films, an entirely separate distribution company to handle all worldwide media rights to photographer Larry Clark's study of feckless sex- and drug-obsessed teens. Excalibur Films is wholly owned by Miramax heads Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who sold their outfit to Disney a year or so ago, and who are rumoured to be angry by Disney's chickening out on a movie already being described as "a profoundly important and utterly compelling masterpiece" and "a wake-up call to the world".

An insider says: "Disney put money into Basic Instinct, which had ice- pick murders, full-frontal nudity and graphic sex - and was trash. Bob and Harvey know Kids is a serious work and think Disney is being hypocritical." Hence the Weinsteins' protective move; they can control marketing, distribution and publicity for the film.

Now all they have to wait for is the rating, which could be an audience- shrinking X.

Keep it in the family

From 7 July, Pete Tong's Essential Selection on Radio 1 will be produced by Wise Buddah Music Radio, the independent production company owned by Mark Goodier, Radio 1 DJ. Instead of wasting money on expensive phone calls, they can now do business over drinks by the first-floor coffee machine.

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