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International Entertainment News

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

SureWest Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2005 Results

SureWest Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2005 Results

Annual Revenues Top $218 Million; Net Income Reaches $6.4 million

ROSEVILLE, Calif., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Leading independent telecommunications holding company SureWest Communications (NASDAQ:SURW) announced operating results today for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2005. Total operating revenues grew from $211.8 million in 2004 to $218.6 million in 2005, yielding net income of $6.4 million in 2005 as compared to a loss of $1.1 million in 2004. In the fourth quarter of 2005, net income was $1.4 million on operating revenues of $53.9 million. In the year earlier quarter, the Company recorded a net loss of $1.5 million on operating revenues of $54.8 million.

(Logo: )
Other highlights from 2005, with comparisons to 2004 include:

-- Consolidated Operating EBITDA of $69.7 million, up 40%; Broadband
segment up 58%, Wireless segment up 81% and Telecom segment up 5%
-- Broadband revenues of $49.9 million, up 27%; Wireless revenues of
$34.2 million, up 9%
-- Consolidated revenues up 3%; total operating expenses down nearly 4%
-- Capital expenditures of $69.8 million, down 2%

"In 2005 the Company demonstrated its ability to continue to drive top line revenue growth by increasing our subscriber base and by selling more products and services to our existing customers," commented Steve Oldham, president and chief executive officer. "Our Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) customers increased by 28% over 2004 and the demand for subscribed revenue generating products from those customers increased by 30%.

"We will continue to keep a focus on reducing costs and gaining efficiencies in every business segment, while we aggressively pursue revenue growth," continued Oldham. "We are strengthening our position in the market place -- providing superior products at competitive prices. SureWest continues to differentiate itself from competitors by providing superior customer service and reaching out to customers."

Consolidated Results

Consolidated 2005 revenues of $218.6 million represent a 3% increase over 2004 revenues, with Broadband and Wireless revenues contributing 39% of the consolidated total. A regulatory change in accounting estimate increased revenues by $2.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2004, as a result of a shareable earnings settlement agreement approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. This contributed to slightly lower fourth quarter 2005 revenues of $53.9 million compared to the year-earlier quarter.

Total operating expenses decreased by almost 4% on a consolidated basis in 2005, while consolidated operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization, decreased 8% year-over-year to $148.9 million. Consolidated operating expenses in the fourth quarter of 2005 were down nearly 13% from the fourth quarter of 2004, to $50.3 million. In both reporting periods, the reduction in expenses was due, in part, to the inclusion in 2004 of approximately $3.8 million in costs associated with the Company's early retirement program. The impact of labor cost reductions continues to be the largest factor in operating expense reductions.

Full year operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (defined as Operating EBITDA and reconciled to GAAP results in the accompanying tables) increased by nearly $20 million, or 40%, to $69.7 million on a consolidated basis. As a percentage of revenue, Operating EBITDA margin was almost 32% for the year. In the fourth quarter of 2005 Operating EBITDA grew to $17.6 million or by more than 78% compared to the prior year quarter.

Fourth quarter and full year 2005 income before income taxes benefited from the resolution of a claim filed in 2003 in the MCI bankruptcy proceeding. SureWest received a distribution of cash and stock with a combined value of approximately $1.4 million which increased revenues and decreased expenses in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Net income for the year totaled $6.4 million, or $0.44 per share, up from a loss of $1.1 million or an $0.08 loss per share in 2004. In the fourth quarter of 2005, net income was $1.4 million, or $0.10 per share compared to a loss of $1.5 million or a $0.10 loss per share in 2004.

Business Segment Results

Telecom Segment

The Telecom segment includes the results of operations for the Company's Directories and Long Distance operations, as well as local, toll and network access service operations in the ILEC service territory. As of December 2005, long distance customers increased 10% compared to December 2004, resulting in a 12% increase in penetration, to just over 40%. The Telecom segment experienced a 2% decline in access lines in 2005, however, consolidated access lines, which include access lines from both the Telecom and Broadband segments, are up 1% over year end 2004.

Full-year 2005 Telecom revenues of $134.5 million represent a 5% decrease compared to 2004. Contributing to the decrease were declines in local and network access revenues resulting from competition from wireless (including SureWest Wireless) and wireline competitors in providing local access, a reduction in access lines, and the effects of the previously mentioned shareable earnings settlement agreement. Excluding the effects of the 2004 sharing agreement, Telecom segment revenues decreased less than 3% in 2005 compared to 2004. Fourth quarter 2005 revenues decreased 2% after eliminating the 2004 effect of the shareable earnings settlement agreement.

Operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization, decreased 17% and 7%, respectively, for the quarter and year ended December 2005. Cost savings in the Telecom segment related primarily to labor cost reductions from the Company's early retirement program, as well as operating efficiencies gained from the integration of customer support systems.

The Telecom segment continues to contribute strong Operating EBITDA and net income to consolidated operations, ending 2005 with Operating EBITDA of $79.0 million, a 5% increase compared to 2004, and net income of $30.0 million, an increase of 6% compared to 2004. For the fourth quarter of 2005, the Telecom segment posted Operating EBITDA of $20.2 million, an increase over the fourth quarter of 2004 of almost 16% and net income of $6.7 million, an increase of nearly 23% over the fourth quarter of 2004.

Broadband Segment

The Broadband segment includes results of operations for the Company's InfinitAccess(TM) bundled services. The combination of new customers and the sale of services to existing customers resulted in FTTP subscribers increasing 28% while revenue generating units from those customers increased 30%, year over year. Full year 2005 revenues increased 27% over 2004, bringing Broadband segment revenues to the $50 million milestone. Fourth quarter 2005 revenues increased 23% over fourth quarter 2004, to $13.2 million.

"The Broadband segment is clearly the fastest growing area of our business and we are very pleased with the segment results for 2005," commented Fred Arcuri, senior vice president and chief operating officer. "Improved customer satisfaction combined with our superior products is evident in the fourth quarter monthly Broadband churn rate of 1.4%, which is down from 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2004."

Total Broadband segment operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization, of $59.9 million represents a 2% decrease compared to 2004, due in large part to consolidating billing systems and the resulting elimination of maintenance and service agreements associated with maintaining multiple systems. Total operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization, decreased 5% to $15.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Higher Broadband segment revenues coupled with lower overall expenses resulted in Operating EBITDA improvement of $11.6 million, or 58%, in 2005 compared to 2004, and net income improvement of more than 17%.

Wireless Segment

Subscribers in the Wireless segment increased over 2% as of December 2005 compared to December 2004, with a 5.7% increase in contract subscribers. At year-end, 92% of all wireless subscribers were on a one- or two-year contract. To address churn of 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2005, new roaming packages were introduced late in the quarter.

Revenues for 2005 increased more than 9% over 2004, to $34.2 million; on a quarterly basis, Wireless segment revenues increased 4% to $8.4 million. Higher revenues were the result of the larger subscriber base, higher equipment prices, increases in long distance revenues resulting from the introduction of long distance calling plans and higher feature revenues.

Wireless segment operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization, declined from 2004 to 2005 by just over 1%, to $37.8 million. For the fourth quarter of 2005, operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization, decreased 12% over the fourth quarter of 2004 due in large part to reduced sales translating to lower commissions, and operating efficiencies resulting from company-wide contact center integration.

Wireless Operating EBITDA improved approximately 81% for both 2005 and the fourth quarter, for full year improvement in Operating EBITDA of $4.3 million. The net loss for the fourth quarter was reduced from $2.7 million in 2004 to $1.7 million in 2005, and for the full year, the net loss was reduced to $8.2 million from $10.8 million in 2004.

Balance Sheet Summary

Consolidated capital expenditures for 2005 totaled $69.8 million, representing a decrease of nearly 2% over 2004. Cash and equivalents, including short term investments, at December 31, 2005, were $8.3 million compared to $18.1 million at the end of 2004. Long-term obligations excluding the current portion at December 31, 2005, totaled $85.5 million compared to $89.1 million at year-end 2004. Short-term borrowings increased to $30 million at year-end 2005, from $10 million at year-end 2004.

SureWest paid $14.6 million in dividends in 2005, representing a quarterly payment of $0.25 per share. SureWest has paid 209 consecutive quarterly dividends.

Conference Call and Webcast

SureWest Communications will provide details about its results and business strategy on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. A simultaneous live webcast of the call will be available at and will be archived shortly after the conclusion of the call for replay through the second quarter of 2006. Additionally, a telephone replay of the call will be available through Saturday, March 4, 2006 by dialing 888-286-8010 and entering passcode 26452794.

About SureWest

With more than 90 years in Northern California, SureWest and its family of companies together provide a wide variety of highly reliable advanced communications products and services. SureWest provides digital TV, fiber optics, PCS wireless, DSL, high-speed Internet access, data transport, local and long distance telephone service, and directories with the highest standards of customer care. For more information, visit the SureWest web site at

Safe Harbor Statement

Statements made in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In some cases, these forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as may, will, should, expect, plan, anticipate, or project or the negative of those words or other comparable words. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, assumptions and uncertainties that could cause the company's actual results to differ from those projected in such forward-looking statements.

Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: advances in telecommunications technology, changes in the telecommunications regulatory environment, changes in the financial stability of other telecommunications providers who are customers of the company, changes in competition in markets in which the company operates, adverse circumstances affecting the economy in California in general, and in the Sacramento, California Metropolitan area in particular, the availability of future financing, changes in the demand for services and products, new product and service development and introductions, pending and future litigation, and unanticipated changes in the growth of the company's emerging businesses, including the wireless, Internet, video and Competitive Local Exchange Carrier operating entities.

Contact: Karlyn Oberg
Director of Investor Relations

(Amounts in thousands, except per share amounts)

Quarter Quarter
Ended Ended
December 31, December 31, %
2005 2004 Change
Operating Revenues:
Local service $15,691 $19,160 -18.1%
Network access service 10,205 10,851 -6.0%
Directory advertising 4,338 4,091 6.0%
Long distance service 1,513 1,223 23.7%
Wireless service 8,441 8,091 4.3%
Internet service 4,599 4,218 9.0%
Residential broadband service 6,395 5,013 27.6%
Business broadband service 2,241 1,530 46.5%
Other 526 644 -18.3%
Total operating revenues 53,949 54,821 -1.6%

Operating expenses:
Cost of services and products
(exclusive of depreciation and
amortization) 17,973 22,956 -21.7%
Customer operations and selling 8,763 10,917 -19.7%
General and administrative 9,627 11,106 -13.3%
Depreciation and amortization 13,919 12,535 11.0%
Total operating expenses 50,282 57,514 -12.6%

Income (loss) from operations 3,667 (2,693) 236.2%

Other income (expense):
Investment income 262 36 627.8%
Interest expense (1,592) (1,211) 31.5%
Corporate treasury loss recovery -- 1,803
Other, net (165) (198) -16.7%
Total other expense, net (1,495) 430 -447.7%

Income (loss) before income taxes 2,172 (2,263) 196.0%

Income tax expense (benefit) 744 (795) 193.6%
Net income (loss) $1,428 $(1,468) 197.3%

Earnings per share:
Basic and diluted earnings (loss)
per share $0.10 $(0.10) 200.0%

Shares of common stock used to
calculate earnings (loss) per share:
Basic 14,552 14,534 0.1%
Diluted 14,631 14,534 0.7%

(Amounts in thousands, except per share amounts)

Year Ended Year Ended
December 31, December 31, %
2005 2004 Change
Operating Revenues:
Local service $63,522 $69,560 -8.7%
Network access service 44,214 46,161 -4.2%
Directory advertising 17,383 16,283 6.8%
Long distance service 6,016 5,184 16.0%
Wireless service 34,205 31,261 9.4%
Internet service 17,829 16,679 6.9%
Residential broadband service 23,991 17,077 40.5%
Business broadband service 8,095 5,660 43.0%
Other 3,333 3,898 -14.5%
Total operating revenues 218,588 211,763 3.2%

Operating expenses:
Cost of services and products
(exclusive of depreciation and
amortization) 77,071 80,853 -4.7%
Customer operations and selling 34,595 37,175 -6.9%
General and administrative 37,222 43,820 -15.1%
Depreciation and amortization 53,770 48,596 10.6%
Total operating expenses 202,658 210,444 -3.7%

Income from operations 15,930 1,319 1107.7%

Other income (expense):
Investment income 445 201 121.4%
Interest expense (5,675) (4,505) 26.0%
Corporate treasury loss recovery 1,803
Other, net (414) (443) -6.5%
Total other expense, net (5,644) (2,944) 91.7%

Income (loss) before income taxes 10,286 (1,625) 733.0%

Income tax expense (benefit) 3,908 (497) 886.3%
Net income (loss) $6,378 $(1,128) 665.4%

Earnings per share:
Basic and diluted earnings (loss)
per share $0.44 $(0.08) 650.0%

Shares of common stock used to
calculate earnings (loss) per share:
Basic 14,552 14,531 0.1%
Diluted 14,631 14,531 0.7%

(Amounts in thousands)

December 31, December 31,
2005 2004
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $7,633 $18,119
Short-term investments 617 --
Accounts receivable, less
allowances of $5,219 and $3,850
at December 31, 2005 and 2004,
respectively) 23,234 20,155
Inventories 5,626 5,578
Deferred directory costs 5,130 5,599
Prepaid expenses 3,918 2,359
Deferred income tax benefit 14,502 13,721
Total current assets 60,660 65,531

Property, plant and equipment, net 381,075 365,613

Intangible and other assets:
Wireless spectrum licenses, net 13,566 13,566
Goodwill 2,171 2,171
Intangible asset relating to
pension plans 456 802
Intangible asset relating to
favorable operating leases, net 393 506
Deferred charges and other assets 708 714
17,294 17,759
$459,029 $448,903

Current liabilities:
Short-term borrowings $30,000 $10,000
Current portion of long-term debt
and capital lease obligations 3,669 3,991
Accounts payable 3,634 2,886
Other accrued liabilities 20,496 22,038
Current portion of contractual
shareable earnings obligations 2,932 3,040
Estimated shareable earnings
obligations 293 396
Advance billings and deferred
revenues 9,730 9,883
Accrued income taxes 1,015 1,549
Accrued pension benefits 7,615 3,216
Accrued compensation 5,772 5,830
Total current liabilities 85,156 62,829

Long-term debt and capital leae
obligations 85,473 89,143
Long-term contractual shareable
earnings obligations 3,695 6,202
Deferred income taxes 40,398 37,855
Other liabilities and deferred
revenues 12,556 11,537

Commitments and contingencies

Shareholders' equity:
Common stock, without par value;
100,000 shares authorized, 14,629 and
14,591 shares issued and
outstanding at December 31, 2005
and 2004 respectively 164,598 161,824
Deferred stock-based compensation (2,255) (949)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (4,909) (2,126)
Retained earnings 74,317 82,588
Total shareholders' equity 231,751 241,337
$459,029 $448,903

(Amounts in thousands)

Quarter Ended December 31, 2005
Telecom Broadband Wireless Consol

Net income/(loss) $6,701 $(3,605) $(1,668) $1,428

Add back : Income Taxes 6,956 (4,300) (1,912) 744

Less : Other Income/(Expense) (37) (1,052) (406) (1,495)

Add back : Depreciation & Amortization 6,518 4,605 2,796 13,919

Operating EBITDA (1) $20,212 $(2,248) $(378) $17,586

Quarter Ended December 31, 2004
Telecom Broadband Wireless Consol

Net income/(loss) $5,451 $(4,181) $(2,738) $(1,468)

Add back : Income Taxes 6,528 (4,655) (2,668) (795)

Less : Other Income/(Expense) 989 (197) (362) 430

Add back : Depreciation & Amortization 6,507 3,127 2,901 12,535

Operating EBITDA (1) $17,497 $(5,512) $(2,143) $9,842

(1) Operating EBITDA represents net income (loss) excluding amounts for
income taxes, depreciation and amortization and all other non-operating
income/expenses, and is a common measure of operating performance in the
telecommunications industry. Operating EBITDA is not a measure of
financial performance under generally accepted accounting principles and
should not be construed as a substitute for consolidated net income as a
measure of performance.

(Amounts in thousands)

Year Ended December 31, 2005
Telecom Broadband Wireless Consol

Net income/(loss) $30,033 $(15,438) $(8,217) $6,378

Add back : Income Taxes 22,951 (12,579) (6,464) 3,908

Less : Other Income/(Expense) (609) (3,232) (1,803) (5,644)

Add back : Depreciation &
Amortization 25,428 16,451 11,891 53,770

Operating EBITDA (1) $79,021 $(8,334) $(987) $69,700

Year Ended December 31, 2004
Telecom Broadband Wireless Consol

Net income/(loss) $28,322 $(18,627) $(10,823) $(1,128)

Add back : Income Taxes 22,347 (14,558) (8,286) (497)

Less : Other Income/(Expense) 732 (1,845) (1,831) (2,944)

Add back : Depreciation &
Amortization 25,227 11,397 11,972 48,596

Operating EBITDA (1) $75,164 $(19,943) $(5,306) $49,915

(1) Operating EBITDA represents net income (loss) excluding amounts for
income taxes, depreciation and amortization and all other non-operating
income/expenses, and is a common measure of operating performance in the
telecommunications industry. Operating EBITDA is not a measure of
financial performance under generally accepted accounting principles and
should not be construed as a substitute for consolidated net income as a
measure of performance.


As of and for the quarter ended
December 31, December 31, Pct
2005 2004 Change
ILEC access lines 129,291 131,905 -2.0%
Broadband access lines (1) 17,729 13,224 34.1%
Total SureWest access lines 147,020 145,129 1.3%

ILEC access lines 129,291 131,905 -2.0%
ILEC voice-grade equivalents (2) 378,600 441,100 -14.2%
Long distance lines 52,288 47,512 10.1%
Long distance penetration 40.4% 36.0% 12.3%

DSL subscribers 27,876 23,811 17.1%
DSL ARPU $51.08 $51.50 -0.8%
DSL revenue-generating units (RGUs) (3) 29,819 24,739 20.5%
Video RGUs 2,090 1,097 90.5%
Data RGUs 27,729 23,642 17.3%
FTTP subscribers 20,039 15,689 27.7%
FTTP ARPU $99.62 $104.44 -4.6%
FTTP revenue-generating units (RGUs) (4) 47,110 36,319 29.7%
Voice RGUs 15,526 11,345 36.9%
Video RGUs 14,048 11,894 18.1%
Data RGUs 17,536 13,080 34.1%
FTTP marketable homes 88,700 67,700 31.0%
FTTP marketable homes penetration (5) 22.3% 23.0% -3.0%
FTTP churn 1.4% 1.8% -22.2%
CLEC access lines 2,203 1,879 17.2%
CLEC voice-grade equivalents (2) 295,500 148,600 98.9%

Total subscribers 53,858 52,657 2.3%
Contract subscribers 49,539 46,861 5.7%
POPs 3,532,000 3,477,000 1.6%
POPs covered 2,759,000 2,710,000 1.8%
Net contract additions 165 4,964 -96.7%
Net non-contract additions -125 -1,379 -90.9%
Contract churn (6) 3.4% 3.1% 9.7%
ARPU $47.60 $49.56 -4.0%

(1) The sum of CLEC access lines and FTTP voice RGUs.
(2) Voice-grade equivalents (VGEs) are calculated by dividing the
capacity of all circuits in use by 64 kilobits (bandwidth representing a
voice access line), excluding ethernet service and Broadband FTTP data
RGUs. DSL VGEs are counted as two 64 kbps channels.
(3) DSL revenue-generating units (RGUs) are the sum of all primary
digital video and high-speed data connections, excluding additional
units. Telephony units are included in ILEC Access Lines.
(4) FTTP revenue-generating units (RGUs) are the sum of all primary
digital video, telephony and high-speed data connections, excluding
additional units.
(5) FTTP marketable home penetration is calculated on residential
marketable homes passed and residential FTTP subscribers. The total FTTP
subscribers also includes 257 and 127 Small-Medium Enterprise customers
in 2005 and 2004, respectively, which are not included in the penetration
(6) Quarterly turnover in contract customers (total contract customer
disconnects divided by sum of monthly average contract subscribers).

AP Archive:
PRN Photo Desk
Source: SureWest Communications

CONTACT: Karlyn Oberg, Director of Investor Relations of SureWest
Communications, +1-916-786-1799, or

Web site:

Profile: intent

International Entertainment News

NRB Network Names NorthStar Studios as its Television Network Provider

NRB Network Names NorthStar Studios as its Television Network Provider

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Religious Broadcasters Association (NRB) has announced Nashville-based NorthStar Studios as the home of its newly launched television network.

With the launch of the NRB Network, NorthStar Studios is now providing Network Origination service for four full-time networks along with uplinking and transmission support for syndicators as well as turnkey studio and mobile production for clients nationally.

"Landing the NRB Network takes us a step closer in meeting our expansion goal in our Network Origination and Transmission support business," says Grant Barbre, President of NorthStar Studios. "Our goal is to provide the network and their programmers total turnkey production solutions where they can create great television productions, post them and then transmit them all from a single location here at NorthStar Studios."

The new network, which is broadcasting twenty-four hours a day on DIRECTV channel 378, features original and second-run value and faith-based programming targeting the Christian viewing community.

"Nashville is the center of the Christian music and publishing industries, so it made sense for us to locate the network here," says Troy Miller, NRB's Senior VP and COO. "The state-of-the-art broadcast and production facility that NorthStar Studios provides us is an added value of being located in Nashville."

The NRB Network is a non-commercial, public interest channel operating on the DIRECTV satellite system. The NRB Network Inc. is a 502(c)3 organization. The mission of the NRB Network is to provide educational programming with a unique focus on the teaching, values, and worldview of the historic Christian faith.

NorthStar Studios, a Nashville-based full-service television production, network origination and transmission facility, has seven television stages, satellite uplinks and two fully digital mobile production trucks with satellite uplinking capabilities. The 125,000-square-foot facility provides television and production service support nationally to the entertainment community, advertising and public relations agencies, and sports and news organizations.

Source: NorthStar Studios

CONTACT: Grant Barbre of NorthStar Studios, +1-615-650-6000, extension
6031, or

Web site:

Profile: intent

International Entertainment News

Xbox 360 Presents Chris Brown On Tour!

Xbox 360 Presents Chris Brown On Tour!

House of Blues(R) to Produce First Headline Tour for Teen R&B Hit

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- In March, Chris Brown will embark on his first headline tour presented by Xbox 360 and promoted by House of Blues(R). The 16-year-old R&B sensation, whose self-titled debut album on Jive Records features the hit single "Run It!," has already received a recent NAACP Award for Outstanding New Artist and a Soul Train Award nomination for Best New Artist. Chris, who was recently named to Teen People's Hot List, lists Stevie Wonder, Usher, Sam Cook, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye as some of his musical influences. His CD is certified platinum and available now.

The coast-to-coast Xbox 360 tour begins in Seattle on March 24 and spans the U.S. before wrapping up an April 27 date in Atlanta. Tickets to many shows are on sale now; the rest* go on sale this week via all Ticketmaster outlets and members will receive updated concert info, internet presale notification, special offers and more. Membership is free by logging onto

Xbox Live(R) will provide the chance for lucky Chris Brown devotees to play online games against Chris Brown himself in an upcoming Game With Fame event. Xbox Live(R) is the only place where fans can play their favorite games online against favorite actors, bands and sports stars.

Please visit and for more information.

3/24 Seattle, WA The Showbox
3/26 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
3/28 San Francisco, CA The Grand
3/29 Anaheim, CA House of Blues Anaheim
3/30 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues Sunset Strip
3/31 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues Las Vegas
4/04 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
4/05 New Orleans, LA House of Blues New Orleans
4/06 Memphis, TN Shell Entertainment Complex
4/09 Fayetteville, NC Crown Center Theatre
4/13 Worcester, MA Palladium
4/14 New York City, NY Nokia Theatre Times Square
4/15 Baltimore, MD Morgan State University
4/17 Washington, D.C. Cramton Auditorium
4/18 Atlantic City, NJ House of Blues Atlantic City
4/20* Detroit, MI Wayne State University
4/22 Cleveland, OH House of Blues Cleveland
4/23 Chicago, IL House of Blues Chicago
4/26 Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues Myrtle Beach
4/27 Atlanta, GA The Roxy

*April 20 show tickets available for purchase by WSU students only -- not open to the public.


HOB Entertainment, Inc., a Los Angeles-based global entertainment company, is the definitive live music brand. Founded in 1992, this dynamic company with soul, spirit and vision is comprised of several unique businesses, including:

* House of Blues Clubs, which operate 1,000 - 2,000 capacity venues
located in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, Orlando,
Las Vegas, Anaheim, Cleveland, San Diego and Atlantic City.

* House of Blues Concerts, Inc., which owns, operates or exclusively
books 19 arena and amphitheatre venues throughout North America,
including Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Seattle (The Gorge),
Atlanta, Cleveland, Toronto and Vancouver.

House of Blues - IT IS LIVE!(TM)

Source: House of Blues

CONTACT: Liz Smith, National Publicity Manager of House of Blues
Entertainment, Inc., +1-323-769-6507,, or Tice Merriweather,
Senior Director Publicity of Zomba Label Group, +1-212-824-1707,

Web site:

Profile: intent

International Entertainment News

BET's COLLEGE HILL Transfers to Virginia State University

BET's COLLEGE HILL Transfers to Virginia State University

Multicultural Cast Highlights the Show's Junior Year, Premiering Thursday, March 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT; BET Rolls Out Multi-Platform Content and Marketing Strategy to Launch Third Season

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- After spending its first two seasons exploring the scene at Southern University in Baton Rouge and Langston University in Oklahoma, BET's wildly popular reality series, COLLEGE HILL -- the #1 original series in BET history -- moves east to Virginia State University. The new season of COLLEGE HILL debuts on Thursday, March 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT with a special one-hour premiere.

(Photo: )

"COLLEGE HILL has always been a hit show on BET," says BET President of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin. "This season we're going all out. It's a great looking show with a hilarious cast and storylines that will shock, amuse and touch viewers."

VSU is a small state-supported university of 5,000 students located in Petersburg, Va. The cast of COLLEGE HILL 3 spent three months trying to co- exist in a "banging" off-campus mansion, equipped with a pool table, a Jacuzzi and enough drama to fill every square inch of their home away from the dorm. The roommates enjoy temporary housing in the historic Ragland Mansion in Petersburg, Va., a 10,000 sq. ft. landmark built in the 1850's and recently restored. Ragland offers a ballroom, twin parlors, a solarium, a library and nine suites/master bedrooms, all with private bath and period marble fireplaces. However, none of the COLLEGE HILL 3 roommates ventured beyond the second floor, as the attic is rumored to be haunted!

While exploring the familiar themes of the black college experience and boy/girl relationships, the new cast of season three turns up the heat at VSU. Tempers fly, tears flow, and secrets are revealed as eight college students struggle to live under one roof. The No. 1 house rule: "No sex on the couch!" From the camaraderie of Homecoming celebrations and sexy hot tub scenes, to break-ups and an emotional visit to Rosa Parks' funeral -- emotions and conflicts are at an all-time high.

Although the previous casts included a plethora of colorful personalities, the VSU students take it to another level. Among the elite eight selected to participate in the show are a white male and a Puerto Rican female. "There definitely are not a lot of white people at Virginia State University," says one of the housemates. "I believe that will give a different view of what a white person sees when he goes to a historically black college." Time can only tell how that will play out!

BET partnered again with Edmonds Entertainment to produce this season's 13-episode run and nearly doubled COLLEGE HILL's production budget, allowing producers to offer a more expansive view of collegiate life at an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

"We gave the producers more resources than ever this year and it's sexier, edgier, and funnier," added Hudlin.

Executive producer Tracey Edmonds said her enthusiasm for the show increases with each installment. "We had the full cooperation of Virginia State, so we had a chance to delve a lot more into some of the academic issues and things going on on-campus," said Edmonds. "There are a lot of great story lines this season."

Like their predecessors, the COLLEGE HILL cast keeps it real and raw when the cameras are rolling. Especially when they're in the hot tub playing 'truth or dare' or hosting unwanted visitors, such as the 47-year-old frat brother who never quite learned when to leave the party. They aren't household names -- just yet. But by the time the series concludes, their antics will surely have earned them a multitude of new followers.

Among this year's cast members are:

Deirdra, 21, is a senior mass communications major from Hartford, CT. She's a career cheerleader who thinks that a lot of women on campus are jealous of her because she's one of the "woo-woo" girls. "They're just mad because we look good."

Audrina, 21, is a junior economic/finance major from Poughkeepsie, NY. She is working her way through college. She's friendly, smart and confident, but tough -- she's definitely not someone you'd ever want to cross. "Girls who wear heels need Jesus."

Rodney, 23, is a senior sports management major from Newport News, VA. He considers himself one of the more popular guys on campus, claiming that the ladies fight for his shirtless delight. He's a frat boy and a member of the basketball team who always "keeps it funky."

Arlando, 21, is a junior business management major from Portsmouth, VA. He's describes himself as a cool cat with a tendency to get wild when the situation calls for it. He's also a frat boy who gets a lot of attention from his female co-eds.

Ray, 23, is a senior mass communications major from Richmond, VA. When Ray's not in class or writing his newspaper column, he morphs into Mr. Trojan, the school's mascot. Ray has an alternative lifestyle which he tries to keep low-key.

Bianca, 22, is Puerto Rican and is a freshman from Virginia Beach, VA who is just starting college. She's a little dilly, but not necessarily naive. She thinks of herself as fun and flirtatious. "I'm a lot smarter than people think I am."

Anya, 21, is a senior mass communications major from Portsmouth, VA. She's outspoken, big on family and feels it's perfectly acceptable to date three or four guys at the same time, but "it's one at a time with the sexual thing."

Will, 18, is a white freshman from Lynchburg, VA, majoring in mass communications. His one goal in life is to play in the NFL. He's not the only white guy attending VSU, but he's probably the only one who imitates Paul Wall and openly admits that he "likes the black females."

With this delightfully eclectic mix of personalities and cultures, combined with the proven track record of ratings success, COLLEGE HILL viewers are guaranteed a well-rounded education on what life at an HBCU is really like!

BET will supplement the launch of COLLEGE HILL 3 with a multi-platform content strategy, including exclusive features on, the number 1 Internet portal serving African Americans; expanded broadband content via BET Nexis; and BET Mobile, the source for COLLEGE HILL-themed ring tones. content includes weekly chats with cast members, a virtual tour of the COLLEGE HILL mansion, audition footage, polls and interactive games. Viewers have convenient access to exclusive COLLEGE HILL content with BET Nexis, the site's new broadband service, which offers specially-produced webisodes and BET's Video On Demand service providing 24/7 episode availability.

Supporting the overall show launch is a substantial multi-media advertising and grassroots campaign leveraging television spots on Oxygen and Spike TV; radio ads in ten major markets; premiere parties and screenings in Philadelphia, New York and Richmond; street campaigns distributing branded promotional merchandise in the top five African-American markets and on college campuses; a new BET College Rep program; ads in college newspapers and Black College Today magazine; and various outdoor billboard, bus shelter and street displays.


BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; VIA.B), is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses:, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks - BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production.


Established by R&B superstar Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and his then wife Tracey, Edmonds Entertainment Group has soared like a shooting star to the ranks of Hollywood's elite entertainment companies. Its major subsidiaries include Edmonds Record Group, creators of many of the world's most-recognized song titles; Edmonds Entertainment, producers of award-winning film and television projects; Edmonds Management, representing impressive artist clientele in film, television and music ventures; Edmonds Music Publishing, owners of an impressive library of original and acquired musical works; and the TracKen Place Recording Studio, offering state-of-the-art recording and production technology. Some of company's most noteworthy works include the critically-acclaimed Soul Food feature film, winner of five NAACP Image Awards; and the popular Soul Food cable television series, recipient of six NAACP Image Awards.

Photo: NewsCom:
AP Archive:
PRN Photo Desk,
Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Tosha Whitten-Griggs, +1-818-655-6712,, or Zabrina Horton, +1-818-655-6737,, both of BET

Web site:

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International Entertainment News

COMETS: PROPHETS OF DOOM on The History Channel(R)

COMETS: PROPHETS OF DOOM on The History Channel(R)

Flying Balls of Ice ... or Harbingers of Death?

March 13th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Since the beginning of time, comets have lurked the solar system, balls of ice and dirt. But is there more to them than that? Might they hold the key to life on Earth ... and might they be its final downfall? Examine the role of these mysterious interstellar visitors in the history and future of man and the planet Earth in COMETS: PROPHETS OF DOOM, airing Monday, March 13th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The History Channel.

(Logo: )

It is already known by scientists that the building blocks to carbon life on Earth are frozen in the middle of comets. But what more do they hold, and what other answers can they provide about the history of our solar system? Get up to speed on two spectacular NASA missions that sent research crafts into space to rendezvous with comets and find new answers. Could comets have, at one time, wiped ninety percent of the life off the face of the Earth -- millions of years before even the first dinosaurs lived? And what would it mean today if a massive comet crashed into Earth near a major city? Explore the possible answers in graphic detail using the latest cutting-edge animation and re-creations in COMETS: PROPHETS OF DOOM.

Beyond just science, what roles have comets played in some of the major historical events of human history? Is it possible that a comet led the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem after the birth of Christ? Have they foretold the destruction of civilizations, the arrival of plagues, and the deaths of kings? Were they central to Sir Isaac Newton's development of the theory of gravity? Find out in COMETS: PROPHETS OF DOOM.

COMETS: PROPHETS OF DOOM is produced by HTV Productions for The History Channel. Executive Producer for The History Channel is Beth Dietrich Segarra.

Now reaching more than 88 million Nielsen subscribers, The History Channel(R), "Where History Lives," brings history to life in a powerful manner and provides an inviting place where people experience history personally and connect their own lives to the great lives and events of the past. The History Channel has earned six News and Documentary Emmy(R) Awards and received the prestigious Governor's Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network's "Save Our History(R)" campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. The History Channel web site is located at

Photo: NewsCom:
AP Archive:
PRN Photo Desk,
Source: The History Channel

CONTACT: Jenna Farkas for The History Channel, +1-212-210-9184,

Web site:

NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information and photography please visit us on the web at

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International Entertainment News

Paramount's New Comedy, 'Failure to Launch,' Depicts Real Life 'Back to the Nest' Trend as Documented in Book 'Boomerang Nation'

Paramount's New Comedy, 'Failure to Launch,' Depicts Real Life 'Back to the Nest' Trend as Documented in Book 'Boomerang Nation'

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Paramount's new comedy "Failure to Launch" and author of the book "Boomerang Nation," Elina Furman, are shedding light on "boomeranging," the growing trend of adults who choose to forego the luxury of living in their own apartments in favor of staying at home with Mom and Dad. According to the latest US Census figures, roughly eighteen million 20- and 30-somethings are currently living at home with their parents.

In the film "Failure to Launch," opening March 10, 2006, Tripp (Matthew McConaughey), 35, has never been able to leave the nest. Now, his desperate parents have had enough. They hire the gorgeous and talented girl of his dreams (Sarah Jessica Parker) to get him to move out of the house. According to Elina Furman's book "Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living with Your Parents the Second Time Around" (A Fireside Original/Simon & Schuster; May 10, 2005), a 30-something guy living at home with parents is not at all uncommon.

Furman states, "The new film, 'Failure to Launch,' is only too realistic. Everyone knows someone who still lives at home with their parents. The movie does a great job of highlighting many of the issues, complications, and comic scenarios that can arise when grown children live at home." She continues, "Not only does the movie show that the stigma of living with the parents is waning, but Matthew McConaughey's character also comes across as a fun-loving, outgoing character, debunking the common stereotype of boomerangers as being socially-inept, lazy underachievers."

The definitive book for boomerangers and their families, "Boomerang Nation" is a timely, information-packed guide that offers wisdom on how to cope with the practical, economic, emotional, and psychological realities of moving back home. Some of the other myths that "Failure to Launch" and "Boomerang Nation" debunk, include:

* People who live at home are "losers" who mooch off their parents
* Boomerangers are less successful than adults living on their own
* There are no benefits to living at home with parents.
* Boomerangers are unattractive and rarely date.
* Friends make better roommates than parents.
* All boomerangers are "mama's boys" and "daddy's girls"

Elina Furman is available for interviews to discuss the film, and to comment on this trend as it applies to real life.

Paramount Pictures Presents a Scott Rudin/Aversano Films production, a Tom Dey film, "Failure to Launch." Directed by Tom Dey, the film is written by Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember. Scott Rudin and Scott Aversano are the producers. Ron Bozman is executive producer. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, and Kathy Bates. The film is rated PG-13 for sexual content, some nudity & language.

Paramount Pictures is part of the entertainment operations of Viacom, Inc., one of the world's largest entertainment media companies and a leader in the production, promotion and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and music.

Simon & Schuster is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic and multi-media formats. Its divisions include the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Simon & Schuster New Media, Simon & Schuster Online, and international companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at

Contact: Kimberly Brissenden, Publicity Manager
212-698-7643, 212-698-7695(F)

Susan Ciccone
VP Publicity, Paramount Pictures

Source: Simon & Schuster

CONTACT: Kimberly Brissenden, Publicity Manager of Simon & Schuster,
+1-212-698-7643, or fax, +1-212-698-7695,; or Susan Ciccone, VP Publicity of
Paramount Pictures, +1-323-956-5588

Web site:

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International Entertainment News

On Command Wins RockResorts Hotel Pay-Per-View Account

On Command Wins RockResorts Hotel Pay-Per-View Account

Leading In-Room Entertainment Company Signs Agreement With Premier Luxury Resort Company

DENVER, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- On Command Video Corporation, a leading provider of in-room interactive entertainment for the hotel industry and its guests, announced today a three year master agreement with RockResorts to offer On Command's video-on-demand pay-for-view services in RockResorts' luxury resorts throughout the United States. RockResorts' properties will be converted to On Command's state-of-the-art digital entertainment system with On Command's proprietary CANVAS(TM) software and menu system.

The agreement calls for On Command to provide in-room pay-per-view entertainment for more than 1,200 guest rooms in RockResorts properties, as well as several of the company's non-RockResorts-branded hotels. The system will highlight a variety of On Command's services including the Video Concierge(TM) service, which delivers select video features of each property to the hotel guest via the television. Additionally, On Command will deliver services such as premium satellite television channels, games, TV Internet, folio review and video checkout.

On Command's proprietary CANVAS(TM) software and menu system provide key benefits to RockResorts hotels. "This system will standardize the video-on-demand equipment across the RockResorts hotel portfolio while delivering more viewing options and pay-per-view choices to the hotel guest," said David Goldstone, group vice president of sales for On Command. "Our commitment to developing and marketing new technology to the hotel industry continues to enhance the hotel guest experience."

"We are excited to begin our relationship with On Command, a company we feel provides the exemplarily products and services our guests expect," said William Hall, vice president of operations for RockResorts. "I am confident On Command will continue to enhance the luxury experience of RockResorts."

About On Command

On Command Video Corporation ( is a leading provider of in-room entertainment technology to the lodging and cruise ship industries. On Command is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE:L)(NYSE:LMCB). On Command entertainment services include: on-demand movies; television Internet services using high-speed broadband connectivity; television email; short form television features covering drama, comedy, news and sports; video games; and music-on-demand services through Instant Media Network, a majority-owned subsidiary of On Command and the leading provider of digital on-demand music services to the hotel industry. All On Command products are connected to guest rooms and managed by leading edge video-on-demand navigational controls and a state-of-the art guest user interface system. The guest menu system can be customized by hotel properties to create a robust platform that services the needs of On Command hotel partners and the traveling public. On Command and its distribution network services more than 1,000,000 guest rooms, which touch more than 300 million guests annually.

On Command's direct served hotel properties are located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Spain. On Command distributors serve cruise ships operating under the Royal Caribbean, Costa and Carnival flags. On Command hotel properties include more than 100 of the most prestigious hotel chains and operators in the lodging industry including, Accor, Adam's Mark Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Gaylord Hotels (Gaylord Palms, Gaylord Texan, Gaylord Opryland and Gaylord Hotel at Opryland), Hilton Hotels Corporation, Hyatt, Intercontinental Hotels Group (Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn), Loews, Marriott (Courtyard, Renaissance, Fairfield Inn and Residence Inn), New York Palace Hotel, Radisson, Ramada, Starwood Hotels & Resorts (Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels and Four Points), and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

About RockResorts

The RockResorts collection features casually elegant resorts in seven U.S. states. The RockResorts portfolio includes: The Lodge at Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs, Calif.; The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colo.; Keystone Lodge in Keystone, Colo.; The Lodge at Vail in Vail, Colo.; La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa in Santa Fe, N.M.; Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, Fla.; The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, Edwards, CO; The Equinox Resort & Spa in Manchester Village, Vt.; Rosario Resort & Spa on Orcas Island, Wash.; and Snake River Lodge & Spa in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Arrabelle at Vail Square, a RockResort in Vail Colorado, is also currently under development. RockResorts, based in Denver, CO, is a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc., a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:MTN). Visit the new online pressroom, including downloadable image archive, at

Source: On Command Video Corporation

CONTACT: Jill Wisehart, Corporate Communications of On Command Video
Corporation, +1-720-873-3423,

Web site:

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International Entertainment News

MediaWorks Announces Media Player Reference Designs Based on Innovative MediaFlex(TM) Platform Architecture

MediaWorks Announces Media Player Reference Designs Based on Innovative MediaFlex(TM) Platform Architecture

Production-Ready GOLD and ZIPP Products Feature Video MP3 at MP3 Player Prices

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- MediaWorks Integrated Systems, Inc., an innovator in fabless semiconductor products, today announced the availability of two production-ready reference designs making use of the company's patented MediaFlex(TM) System-On-A-Chip (SoC) platform architecture. The two designs, both for portable media player/recorders, not only deliver DVD-quality video and MP3 playback at MP3 player prices, but also offer the ability to be end-user upgraded after purchase to enable new features, functions and applications.

The MediaFlex(TM) platform, announced in January at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is a fully C programmable, low power SoC consisting of multiple heterogeneous, configurable processors. A true innovation in SoC design, MediaFlex(TM) multi-core processors can be dynamically powered down individually as needed using software commands, thereby optimizing power during diverse computing needs. Products based on the platform can also be easily upgraded as needed via firmware upgrades.

MediaWorks' two reference designs, GOLD and ZIPP, leverage the power of the MediaFlex(TM) platform to deliver remarkable performance at affordable price points. GOLD is a Video MP3 Personal Media Player offering a 2.5" color display and 720 x 576 resolution video playback with MPEG4, Windows Media Video, and DivX 3.11/4.0/5.0 support. ZIPP, also a Portable Media Player, utilizes a larger 3.5" LCD and has similar video playback capabilities. In addition, it includes a 1.8" hard drive for personal storage of user movies, TV programs, still images, and music; it will act also as a high speed USB 2.0 portable storage device.

"Our groundbreaking MediaFlex(TM) platform has generated an incredible response from OEMs due to its flexibility and low system cost. For consumer electronics manufacturers looking for an even faster time-to-market, our new GOLD and ZIPP reference designs offer a complete and market-focused solution," said Dennis Cocco, Co-founder, President and CEO of MediaWorks. "These two attractive products provide very high performance and can be customized by our customers as needed."


It is expected that products based on this reference design will sell for $129 and below by Q3 of 2006. This video MP3 device features USB 2.0 connectivity, internal flash memory and an SD card slot for storage of media content. Recording in MPEG4 and playback of MPEG4, DivX, WMV, H.264, MPEG2, MPEG1 video is supported at D1 (DVD) resolution and frame rates up to 30 fps. Audio (MP3, AAC, WMA with DRM) and still image (JPEG/BMP) is also supported.

GOLD is a consumer-friendly unit with simple audio playlist creation. Firmware upgrades, to enable additional features and functions can be installed easily by end users.


Offering a larger 3.5" AU screen and an internal hard drive, ZIPP is a powerful multimedia device for movie and TV recording and playback as well as MP3 music. It is expected that ZIPP can reach retail prices of $249 and below by Q3 of 2006.

Like the GOLD, ZIPP is capable of playing and recording up to full D1 resolution video with concurrent audio at 30 fps. ZIPP can be customized to accommodate particular OEM specifications and is completely field programmable.

The GOLD and ZIPP design kits include schematics, a working prototype with housing, layout guidelines, a sample users' manual and a bill of materials. Software development kits will soon be available for both devices that allow OEMs to add features independently.

Camcorder, Security Camera Designs

MediaWorks also is developing working reference designs for other applications including a PMP with camcorder and security camera. For more information on these products, the GOLD and ZIPP reference designs, and the MediaWorks MediaFlex(TM) platform, contact Douglas Cebik, Director of Sales and Marketing, at, or visit .

About MediaWorks Integrated Systems, Inc.:

MediaWorks is a fabless semiconductor company focused on driving the transition to digital video. The company's first SoC product -- a fully C programmable media-centric processor -- is targeted towards portable multimedia products, lowering the cost and time-to-market for its customers while providing best-in-class image quality. The Company targets ODMs and OEMs for products in the digital portable media recorder/player, solid state digital video camcorder, and digital video security and surveillance markets. MediaWorks' highly integrated SoC technology, based on its patented MediaFlex(TM) platform, enables high quality video, with advanced compression standards, such as MPEG-1, -2, -4, H.264, and WMV at DVD resolution, and high quality digital still images with best-in-class performance at a very low end user price point.

Underscoring this technology is an unparalleled customer service model. MediaWorks offers a partnership approach enabling collaboration on all development efforts - design (including complete turnkey reference designs), BOM reduction, and development time minimization. MediaWorks is located in Irvine, California and can be accessed via the Web at .

Source: MediaWorks Integrated Systems, Inc.

CONTACT: Brad Sowell of S&S Public Relations, +1-800-287-2279,

Web site:

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International Entertainment News

Los Angeles Premiere of 'Ask the Dust'

Los Angeles Premiere of 'Ask the Dust'


Arrivals to begin at 6:30

6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA

WHO: Cast members and filmmakers attending include:
Director Robert Towne, Salma Hayek, Idina Menzel, Donald
Sutherland, producers Paula Wagner and Don Granger


Academy Award(R)-winner Robert Towne ("Chinatown," "Tequila Sunrise") writes and directs "Ask the Dust," set under the brutally sunny skies of Depression-era Los Angeles. Based on novelist John Fante's masterpiece, Towne's interpretation of Ask the Dust focuses on a city exotic and vulgar, glamorous and raunchy -- a place of heat and dust. Full of imports -- palm trees from Egypt and people from everywhere in search of health and wealth, fame and fortune -- L.A. is the city of first and last resort, where all dreams are supposed to come true. So it is for Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell), a son of Italian immigrants who dreams of becoming a famous novelist and marrying a beautiful blonde, and Camilla Lopez (Salma Hayek), a Mexican who longs to marry a WASP and shed her last name. In a time when relations between Anglos and people of Mexican descent hang by tattered threads, Bandini and Camilla collide with one another, fighting the city and themselves to make their dreams come true.

Release Date: MARCH 10, 2006


For further information, please call:

Radio/Print/TV - James Lewis @ MPRM - (323) 933-3399
Photo -
International - Frankie De La Vara - (323) 956-5468


PRNewswire -- Feb. 28

Photo: NewsCom:
AP Archive:
PRN Photo Desk,
Source: Paramount Pictures

CONTACT: Radio/Print/TV, James Lewis of MPRM, +1-323-933-3399, for
Paramount Pictures, or Photo,, or International,
Frankie De La Vara of Paramount Pictures, +1-323-956-5468

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International Entertainment News

Verizon FiOS TV Now Available to 80,000 More Californians

Verizon FiOS TV Now Available to 80,000 More Californians

Consumers in Murrieta Can Experience Better Television Technology; New Service Offering Provides More Competitive Choice and Greater Value

MURRIETA, Calif., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Some 80,000 additional Southern California customers here can now get the superior picture quality and program choice of Verizon's FiOS TV, as Murrieta today joined Beaumont as the first markets in California for the new fiber-optic television service.

Verizon is the only company to offer, on a mass scale, all-digital fiber- optic communications all the way to the customer. FiOS TV, delivered on this superior network, was first offered in California three weeks ago. It is also available in Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia.

"FiOS TV gives Murrieta consumers an outstanding, superior alternative for their video entertainment," said Tim McCallion, Pacific region president. "Customers who liked what FiOS did for their Internet connection will love what it does for their TV. We've harnessed the speed and capacity of fiber- based broadband with the power of broadcast to create a revolutionary, new entertainment experience."

Service highlights include:

- A broad collection of all-digital programming and compelling consumer
choice -- with more than 350 total channels and more on the way.
- A lead offer with more than 180 digital video and music channels, for
$34.95 a month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying voice
plan or $39.95 as a stand-alone service.
- More than 20 high-definition channels, with extraordinary clarity and
theater-quality sound.
- Over 2,200 On Demand titles available to customers now, increasing to
over 3,500 titles in the next several months.
- Channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news,
shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their
favorite programming.
- An easy-to-use interactive programming guide that integrates HD
programming, On Demand content and the digital video recorder along with
broadcast television into a seamless user experience.
- A dual-tuner, HD-capable DVR that gives customers the freedom to pause
and rewind live TV, record one show while watching another, and fast
forward to their favorite part of the program - all without a VCR, tapes
or DVDs.

Information on packages and prices is available at Murrieta- and Beaumont-area customers also can call 1-800-880-2943 to see if they're able to order FiOS TV.

Verizon obtained a local video franchise in Murrieta in September and is currently in negotiations with more than 15 other communities in California to obtain additional franchises. Under current state law, potential competitors to the incumbent cable-TV operators must obtain video franchises in each community they seek to serve.

Delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. The Verizon FTTP network, the largest of its kind in the country, is currently under construction in more than half the states where the company offers landline communications services, including more than 30 California communities. The network brings the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people's homes and has industry-leading quality and reliability. Fiber delivers amazingly sharp pictures and sound, and has the capacity to transmit a wide array of high-definition programming that is so clear and intense it seems to leap from the TV screen. It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps as well as high-quality voice services.

Programming choices for Latino, African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural audiences are available in every market. Because FiOS TV has so much capacity, it is an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming.

(More information about FiOS TV and fiber optics is available in Verizon's online News Center at

Service and Package Details

FiOS TV subscribers can choose from three simple-to-understand service offerings, each with built-in choice and value. They can then choose from packages and premium channels with programming that meets their special interests. Verizon offers three set-top boxes: standard definition for $3.95 per month; high definition, which includes HD channels, for $9.95 per month; and a dual-tuner, HD-capable digital video recorder for $12.95 per month.

The services include:

- Basic, with access to 15-35 local broadcast weather and community
channels for $12.95 per month. The service is digital with a set-top
box, which also provides access to On Demand programming. Basic is also
available as an analog service that does not require a set-top box for
- Expanded Basic, Verizon's lead offer, delivers more than 180 video and
music channels for $34.95 a month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or
a qualifying voice plan. This tier includes access to On Demand content
and requires a set-top box. High-definition channels are included in
this tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box
and an HD-ready TV to view them.
- La Conexion, an alternative to Expanded Basic service designed for
bilingual consumers who enjoy TV programs in English and Spanish, for
$27.95 per month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying
voice plan. La Conexion is also available as a stand-alone service for
$32.95 per month. The package includes nearly 140 channels with English
and Spanish-language programming and access to On Demand programming.
This service requires a set-top box. HD channels are included in this
tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box and
an HD-ready TV to view them.

Verizon FiOS TV customers who sign up for 12 months of Expanded Basic or La Conexion will receive additional discounts through a newly instituted annual savings agreement. FiOS TV customers will have the choice of receiving $5 off the monthly Movie Package price for an annual savings of $60. Or, customers can waive the monthly standard set-top box fee of $3.95 -- an annual savings of $47.40.

Consumers with a passion for movies can add the movie package with 44 channels of Starz, Encore, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Sundance and Flix, as well as 255 titles of On Demand programming, for a regular price of $11.95 a month. Sports enthusiasts can add a 15-channel sports package for $5.95 a month. Or, both packages can be purchased for $14.95 a month. In addition to the movie package, customers with a set-top box can order new, On Demand movie releases for $3.95 each or choose from a selection of movie library titles for $2.95 each.

For wrestling fans, Verizon offers World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE 24/7, a subscription On Demand service, for $7.95 a month. Karaoke fans can sing along at home with a subscription to the Karaoke package for $7.95 a month.

Verizon also offers 14 HBO channels and 12 Cinemax channels as premium services, with each set of channels available for $14.95. The price includes access to each channel's subscription On Demand library. Subscribers who want both HBO and Cinemax will pay $24.95 per month.

The value of FiOS TV extends to the installation and customer support. Specially trained Verizon technicians will install the service and acquaint subscribers with FiOS TV features and services. Verizon is waiving the installation fee for up to three existing TV outlets, and there is no charge to install a needed optical network terminal at the subscriber's home. Charges for other installation services, such as additional outlets, may apply. Verizon provides 24x7 technical assistance by phone from its Fiber Solutions Centers in Oxnard and other cities.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving home, business and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit

VERIZON'S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon's News Center on the World Wide Web at To receive news releases by e-mail, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.

Source: Verizon

CONTACT: Jon Davies, +1-805-231-3985,

Web site:

Company News On-Call:

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International Entertainment News

VH1 Sets Your Inner Child Free!

VH1 Sets Your Inner Child Free!

VH1 Brings Back Your Favorite Childhood Toys With 'I Love Toys' A New Five-Hour Count Down Event Premiering Monday-Friday, Starting March 6 at 10pm*

The Five-Hour Countdown Will Cover an Array of Toys Including Legos, Mr. Potato Head, Barbie, GI JOE and Candy Land

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- ­ VH1 proves that you are never too old to love toys with its latest countdown of the 100 most famous toys from your childhood. From board games to dolls to video games and those gadgets you couldn't live without, VH1 will count down the top 100 toys of all time with "I Love Toys, premiering Monday-Friday, starting March 6 at 10PM.*

From Lego to Mr. Potato Head to Barbie and Candy Land, the offbeat nostalgia show will bring viewers an in depth look at the wonderful world of toys that defined pop culture during their youth. The journey to rank the top 100 toys of all time consisted of online voting, sales, historical significance and longevity. Whether you battled the evil forces of the Decepticons with your Transformers or fought for freedom with GI Joe, this special's got you covered. Do you still sneak a peek through a View Master when you think no one is looking? Settle arguments with your sister over Connect 4? Of course you do!

Each one-hour episode of "I Love Toys" will feature today's top celebrities, musicians, actors and comedians as they count down the toys from 100 to 1. Stars such as Ricky Martin, Rachel Leigh Cook, Darryl McDaniels, French Stewart, Ying Yang Twins, Doug E. Fresh, Scott Ian, Jane Wiedlin, Andy MacDonald, Amanda Bynes, Gilbert Gottfried, Jason Mraz, Joel Stein, Lisa Lisa, Loni Love, ANT, Darius Rucker and Biz Markie. Series regulars Michael Ian Black, Mo Rocca and Rachael Harris are back to lend their hilarious point of view as well, along with The Donnas, Godfrey, Carlos Alazraqui, Ben Lee, Wendy Kaufman, Kel Mitchell, Emme, Debbie Matenopoulos and many more.

The "I Love Toys" panelists will tackle every hard hitting issue you can imagine, such as, what were all those monkeys doing in that barrel? Did you fancy yourself a Van Gogh while playing Pictionary? Could you use your Easy Bake Oven to make Shrinky Dinks? What exactly was inside Stretch Armstrong?

VH1 will take you through the toys that defined your generation, celebrating the good, the weird, and the funny. What toy will grab the coveted number one spot? Will Baby Alive, Dungeons and Dragons, Lite Brite or your Star Wars action figures make the cut? Tune in to VH1 and find out!

VH1's broadband channel, the VSPOT, will also join the fun with additional offerings that include the following:

VSPOT Mini-Countdown

VSPOT at will host its own mini countdown, of toys 110-101 that didn't make the on-air list. Did your toy not make the top 100? Don't fret and log on at to see if it made this mini countdown.

Michael Ian Black's "The Big Upset,"

Michael Ian Black speaks his mind and goes off on how much he disagrees with VH1's ranking on some of the toys.

Uncut And Uncensored

These segments include uncut bites, stories and outtakes that were so funny and a bit too outrageous that they did not make the show. See why Rachael Harris really cares about the Care Bears and why Carlos Alazraqui and My Little Pony are BFF (Best Friends Forever.)

Ricky Martin's Magic 8-Ball

Have Ricky Martin predict your future with this interactive game. Ricky Martin's Magic 8-Ball. The viewer can ask the 8-ball a yes or no question, then Ricky Martin pops up in the 8-ball and reads you the answer. We all know Ricky can shake his bon bon now make him shake his Magic 8 Ball for your fortune.

For more info on "I Love Toys" viewers can go online to

"I Love Toys" is a production of VH1, with Pat Twist serving as Producer and Karla Hidalgo, Michael Hirschorn and Shelly Tatro as Executive Producer for VH1.

VH1 connects viewers to the music, artists and pop culture that matter to them most with series, specials, live events, exclusive online content and public affairs initiatives. VH1 is available in 87 million households in the U.S. VH1 also has an array of digital services including VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, VH Uno and VH1 Country. Connect with VH1 at

Hour 1/ Toys 100-81: Premieres, Monday, March 6 @ 10 PM ET/PT

100. Magic 8 Ball
99. Thumbalina
98. D&D
97. Spirograph
96. Pong
95. Chutes & Ladders
94. Laser Tag
93. Sea Monkeys
92. Remote Control Cars
91. Uno
90. Model Sets
89. BB Guns
88. Care Bears
87. Dominos
86. Ouija Boards
85. My Little Pony
84. Gumby
83. Memory
82. Little Golden Books
81. Wooly Willie

Hour 2/ Toys 80-61: Premieres, Tuesday, March 7 @ 10 PM ET/PT

80. Baby Alive
79. Trivial Pursuit
78. Army Men
77. Stickers
76. Balsa
75. Weeble Wobbles
74. Erector Set
73. Rainbow Brite
72. Color Forms
71. Walkie Talkies
70. Candy Land
69. Slip & Slide
68. Smurfs
67. Tinker Toys
66. Risk
65. Jig Saw Puzzle
64. Roller Skates
63. Rubik's Cube
62. Life
61. Operation

Hour 3/ Toys 60-41 : Premieres, Wednesday, March 8 @ 10 PM ET/PT

60. Tickle Me Elmo
59. Simon
58. Madlibs
57. Stretch Armstrong
56. Barrel O' Monkeys
55. Mouse Trap
54. View Master
53. He-Man
52. Speak & Spell
51. Lincoln Logs
50. Gameboy
49. Clue
48. Little People
47. Evel Knievel
46. Hungry Hungry Hippos
45. Frisbee
44. Raggedy Ann
43. See & Say
42. Jump Rope
41. Transformers

Hour 4/ Toys 40-21: Premieres, Thursday, March 9 @ 10 PM ET/PT

40. Big Wheel
39. Tea Set
38. Pogo Stick
37. Mattel Classic Football
36. Strawberry Shortcake
35. Tonka Toys
34. Connect Four
33. Ninja Turtles
32. Shrinky Dinks
31. Twister
30. Battleship
29. Cabbage Patch Kids
28. Crayola Crayons
27. Silly Putty
26. Lionel Trains
25. Lite Brite
24. Water Guns
23. Nerf
22. Teddy Bear
21. NES

90 Minute Special/ Toys 20-1: Premieres, Friday, March 10 @ 9:30 PM ET/PT

19. Easy Bake Oven
18. Scrabble
17. Rock'em Sock'em
16. Etch-A-Sketch
15. Match Box/Hot Wheels
14. Bike
13. Snoopy Sno Cone Machine
12. Radio Flyer
11. Play-Doh

10-1. For toys 10 through 1 Tune in to VH1 on Friday, March 10 at 9:30 PM ET/PT And find out!

*all times are ET/PT

Luis Defrank/VH1 Scott Acord/VH1
212-846-7012 310-752-8075

Source: VH1

CONTACT: Luis Defrank, +1-212-846-7012, or Scott Acord, +1-310-752-8075,
both of VH1

Web site:

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International Entertainment News

Pixar Announces Release Date for Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2005 Earnings: - Tuesday, March 7, 2006 -

Pixar Announces Release Date for Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2005 Earnings: - Tuesday, March 7, 2006 -

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pixar Animation Studios (NASDAQ:PIXR) today announced that following the market close on March 7, 2006, it will issue a press release with details about its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2005. The company intends to file its annual report on Form 10-K on that date or shortly thereafter. No quarterly teleconference has been planned for the event.

Details about the results will be accessible through Pixar's Web site at

About Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar Animation Studios combines creative and technical artistry to create original stories in the medium of computer animation. Pixar has created six of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time: "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles." Pixar has won 18 Academy Awards(R) and its six films have grossed more than $3.2 billion at the worldwide box office to date. The Northern California studio will release its next film, "Cars," on June 9, 2006.

Source: Pixar Animation Studios

CONTACT: Nils Erdmann, Investor Relations, of Pixar Animation Studios,
+1-510-752-3374; or John Buckley of Brainerd Communicators, +1-212-986-6667,
for Pixar Animation Studios

Web site:

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International Entertainment News

World Premiere of THE SHAGGY DOG

World Premiere of THE SHAGGY DOG

Tuesday, March 7th at the El Capitan

WHO: From the film: Tim Allen, Kristin Davis, Spencer Breslin, Robert
Downey Jr., Zena Grey, Shawn Pyfrom, Craig Kilborn, Philip Baker
Hall, Director Brian Robbins, Producer David Hoberman, Executive
Producer William Fay, Executive Producer Robert Simonds,
Executive Producer Matthew Carroll, Executive Producer Todd
Lieberman, Writers Marianne & Cormac Wibberly, Writer Geoff
Rodkey and Writer Jack Amiel.

Special Guests: Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin, Cheryl Hines, Christina
Carpenter, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus, George Lopez, Mehcad
Brooks, Brooke Burke, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Sabato Jr., Judy
Tenuta, Brenda Strong, Chad Hedrick (Olympic Gold, Silver, and
Bronze medalist, Speedskating), Toby Dawson (Bronze medalist,
Moguls), Rusty Smith (Bronze Medalist, Speedskating), Jon Voight,
Josh Flitter, Ryan Carnes, Christy Carlson Romano... and more!

WHAT: To celebrate the Los Angeles Premiere of Walt Disney Pictures'

Tim Allen transforms from family dad to family dog and back again in this fresh update of the Disney comedy classic, THE SHAGGY DOG. It all begins when workaholic Deputy D.A. Dave Douglas (ALLEN) takes on a case involving an animal laboratory -- one that will take him away yet again from his wife (KRISTIN DAVIS) and kids (ZENA GREY and SPENCER BRESLIN), who already yearn for his all-too-distracted attention. But when Dave is accidentally infected with a top-secret, genetic-mutation serum, everything he thought he knew about being himself and his family changes. Yet with his newly perked-up ears, and his front-row seat on the household carpet, Dave is able to gain a whole new perspective into his family's secrets and dreams. Now, he wants nothing more than to stop fetching and return to fathering -- only first he'll have to stop the evil forces behind the serum... in an adventure that will bring the whole family together.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 7th, 2006 WHERE: El Capitan
4:00PM Press Arrivals 6838 Hollywood Blvd
5:00PM Celebrity Arrivals Hollywood, CA 90028
6:00PM Screening

CONTACTS: Domestic press R. Stankevich 818/560-2039
International press N. Heyn 818/972-3591


Opens Friday, March 10, 2006

PRNewswire -- Feb. 28

Source: Walt Disney Pictures

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International Entertainment News

Apple Announces iPod Hi-Fi

Apple Announces iPod Hi-Fi

High-Fidelity Speaker System for iPod Redefines the Home Stereo System

CUPERTINO, Calif., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Apple(R) today announced iPod(R) Hi-Fi, an all-new high-fidelity speaker system that works seamlessly with the iPod to redefine the home stereo system. iPod Hi-Fi delivers breathtaking acoustic performance and room-filling sound unlike any other speaker system designed for the iPod in an innovative, all-in-one design that can be powered from a wall socket or by six D-cell batteries. iPod Hi-Fi is easily controlled by the Apple Remote for an amazing stereo experience in any room in the house.

"Apple is reinventing the home stereo with the new iPod Hi-Fi, the first iPod accessory that adds true high-fidelity sound quality to the iPod," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "iPod Hi-Fi's unrivaled acoustic performance and stunning design is at home in any room in the house."

iPod Hi-Fi has been designed and engineered by Apple to deliver unrivaled sound quality, realistic sound imaging and optimal audio performance. Its clean, all-in-one design features a unique isolated enclosure system that includes two custom designed wide-range speakers and a tuned, ported bass system, minimizing vibration while maximizing sound quality and allowing users to listen to their favorite music as it was intended with amazing sound clarity and rich, deep bass. iPod Hi-Fi features handles to easily transport your stereo anywhere, a removable front grille with precision-mounting clips, touch-sensitive volume control buttons, the Apple Remote for easy song and volume control from anywhere in the room, a universal power supply incorporated into the all-in-one design so there's no bulky power brick to weigh it down, and the ability to power iPod Hi-Fi from six D-cell batteries for true portability.

Featuring seamless integration with all iPods with a dock connector, iPod Hi-Fi automatically recharges your iPod while docked and displays features of iPod that maximize the iPod Hi-Fi experience such as Tone Control, Large Album Art mode and volume mirroring.* iPod Hi-Fi includes a dual-purpose 3.5-mm auxiliary input that accepts either analog or digital signals for easy connection to a wide range of audio sources. iPod Hi-Fi is compact and can be powered by AC or six D-cell batteries, providing more flexibility than any traditional home stereo and is perfect for use not only at home, but just about anywhere you go without compromising sound quality.

Apple today also announced new luxurious leather cases designed specifically for the fifth generation iPod and iPod nano models. The Leather Case for iPod is made with fine, hand-crafted Italian leather and features a soft and durable interior lining for a secure fit, making it the perfect carrying case for iPod or iPod nano.

Pricing & Availability

iPod Hi-Fi includes the Apple Remote, a removable grille, an AC power cord and 10 Universal Dock adapters, and is available for $349 (US). The Leather Case for iPod is available in 30GB and 60GB models as well as an iPod nano model, each for $99 (US). iPod Hi-Fi and all models of the Leather Case for iPod are available through the Apple Store(R) (, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

*Tone Control and Large Album Art features available with iPod nano and fifth generation iPod.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award- winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store.

(C) 2006 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, iPod and Apple Store are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Source: Apple

CONTACT: Tom Neumayr, +1-408-974-1972 or, or Natalie
Kerris, +1-408-974-6877 or, both of Apple

Web site:

NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information visit Apple's PR website (, or call Apple's Media Helpline at (408) 974-2042.

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