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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Charlie Sheen socially Raw on USA Network

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Charlie Sheen socially Raw on USA Network...

Social Media Ambassador for Raw’s historic 1,000 episode


WWE® (NYSE: WWE) announced Charlie Sheen, star of the highly anticipated FX comedy series “Anger Management,” as the Social Media Ambassador for Monday Night Raw’s historic 1000th episode live at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST July 23 on USA Network.

Sheen will tweet during Raw, providing up-to-the-minute commentary on the night’s action to his 7.5-million Twitter followers. Sheen has more than 12-million fans combined on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

WWE fans and Sheen followers can ask the actor questions during the broadcast via Twitter using the #SheenGetsRaw hashtag.

In “Anger Management,” Sheen stars as Charlie, a non-traditional therapist specializing in anger management. He has a successful private practice, holding sessions with his group of primary patients each week, as well as performing pro bono counseling for an inmate group at a state prison. Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla, Michael Arden and Noureen DeWulf co-star.

The series premiere of “Anger Management” starts Thursday, June 28 with the first two episodes airing at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

• WWE’s 1,000 episode of Raw on July 23 will debut a three-hour format.

• Follow Charlie Sheen on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @CharlieSheen.

• Follow WWE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @WWE.


WWE teams with ION for new Wednesday night show...

“WWE Main Event” debuts Oct. 3 on ION Television


WWE (NYSE: WWE) and ION Television announced a new weekly one-hour original series airing 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST on Wednesdays.

“WWE Main Event” will debut on Oct. 3 and feature WWE superstars and divas from the rosters of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown. The new show will be available in 100 million U.S. television households on ION Television, a top-rated general entertainment network that features a broad mix of critically acclaimed series, movies and original programming.

“ION Television is delighted to begin a new partnership with such a successful and well-recognized franchise as WWE,” Brandon Burgess, CEO, ION Media Networks, said in a release. “As a general entertainment network with a solid foundation, ‘WWE Main Event’ is a great addition to our lineup that features something for everyone. We look forward to introducing our ION audience to all of the excitement and drama WWE has to offer as well as welcoming a passionate new fan base to the network.”

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said: “WWE looks forward to this new partnership with ION Television. We are excited about producing this new television show, ‘WWE Main Event,’ and bringing our fans to ION Television every Wednesday.”

“WWE Main Event” will feature in-ring action and fit seamlessly in storylines from Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, making Wednesday night appointment viewing for fans. The new series will offer a big arena experience with live audiences like current WWE weekly programs. Check you cable, satellite or dish outlet for channel availability.

• WWE celebrates its amazing 1,000 episode of Raw at 8 p.m. Monday, July 23 on the USA Network. The show will debut Raw’s three-hour format.

• Visit www.wwe.com and www.iontelevision.com.


Roddy Piper Talks 1000th Raw, Cyndi Lauper, Rock & Wrestling...

In a WWE.com Exclusive, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper discussed his return to Raw along side pop singer Cyndi Lauper.

“Cyndi, oh, we have a long history. We weren’t always on the same side, but to be honest with you, it was a true pleasure,” said Piper.

Piper also addressed the comments he made on Raw in regards to the Rock & Wrestling being the saving grace of WWE.

“If it wasn’t for the Rock & Wrestling connection at that time being so big on TV — you know, they were all cheering [Hulk] Hogan and booing Piper — I don’t know if wrestling would have gotten the huge launching pad that it did,” Piper explained.

“It’s very surreal to think that you were apart of the beginnings of it but I was and I’m proud of it.”

Piper was also asked to address Raw’s 1000th episode which will be coming up, July 23rd.

“The fact that a wrestling program called Raw could be the longest running television show in the history of television, bar nobody — nobody can now say we’re not on the map,” stated Piper. “We’re for real. I have worked all my life to make that happen, along with a lot of other guys that have worked just as hard or harder.”


Brock Lesnar May Be At 1000th RAW...

As noted last week, Lesnar is advertised for RAW on August 13th, the Monday before SummerSlam. He is currently not advertised for any other shows before that.


Sid Vicious Returns To WWE RAW...

Sid Vicious thanked the fans for the ovation he received on RAW tonight, writing on his Twitter, "Thank you for the huge pop on #RAW! Much respect to all of my fans! #MasterAndRulerOfTheWorld ... Off for now. Love being backstage at #RAW. Tweet you tomorrow. Again, THANK YOU EVERYONE!"


Raw social media highest since April...

Monday's WWE Raw episode scored 186,954 in social media activity, which was the highest since April 23 for the episode leading into Extreme Rules hyping Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena. Raw was up 17 percent in social media activity compared to last week's show and topped the yearly average by 14 percent.

Raw still ranked #3 on cable TV, trailing "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" on VH1 and "Teen Wolf" on MTV. Raw has not taken the top spot on Monday nights since April 9. [ Data Source: Trendrr.TV ]


World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. : WWE® Names Casey Collins EVP of Consumer Products
06/26/2012


WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced the appointment of Casey Collins as Executive Vice President, Consumer Products. Collins will oversee WWE Global Licensing, Home Entertainment and Publishing. He will report directly to WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.

Prior to joining WWE, Collins was Executive Vice President, Global Licensing & Entertainment at MGA Entertainment, where he oversaw the entertainment, consumer products, retail development and promotions divisions. Before joining MGA Entertainment, Collins spent 10 years at Lucasfilm Ltd., where he was responsible for the management of Lucasfilm's domestic and international licensing and retail merchandise programs.

Collins also spent time as Director of Worldwide Licensing & Motorsports at World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW), where he built and managed WCW's worldwide consumer products program. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from Florida State University and did post graduate work at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Kenn Doane Alleges John Cena Had An Affair With A Married WWE Diva...

Kenn Doane, who appeared as Kenny of the Spirit Squad and Kenny Dykstra for WWE from 2006 to 2008, blames an affair between John Cena and Mickie James for ruining his relationship with the former Diva and costing him his job. Speaking to SEScoops.com on the ordeal, Doane reveals that Cena was having a second affair with a then-WWE Diva who was married to a man not involved with the professional wrestling industry.

Doane says he discovered James had been cheating on him with the Cenation leader when he caught her searching online rumors of her act of infidelity with the query "Mickie James dating John Cena."

"Upon confronting her about it, "She stared at [the computer] for like legit two minutes and I'm looking at her like "Did you forget how to read? Say something, WTF." She got up and ran into the other room crying saying she was sorry and she felt bad and admitted to it."

While recalling the matter, Doane says Cena was having an affair with a second WWE Diva.

"I don't have John's number so I call his diva 'road' girlfriend. I ask her if she knows anything about it and she says she had a feeling because John recently dumped her and she is over him now," Doane says.

Cena's sexual escapades were not solely limited to WWE Divas as he was simultaneously involved with 'ring rats'. Doane details, "Got one diva who is married to a guy outside of the business but she sleeps with Cena, then we got Cena who sleeps with rats (groupies, girls not in the biz, girls in the lobby waiting for an invite upstairs) and this married diva, and now my girlfriend."

Following weeks of inactivity stemming from the affair, Doane was transferred to the SmackDown brand on June 17, 2007, as part of the WWE Supplemental Draft. Doane reveals that the married Diva was transferred from Raw to SmackDown as well after being dumped by Cena.

"Following weeks I'm off TV and off the road until I get sent to SmackDown. Ironically, John's former Diva got sent too," Doane recalls. "So now we're on complete separate schedules and when there is a joint pay-per-view I'm off the road that day too and get flown in on a Monday for a Tuesday Smackdown. Yeah complete B.S. I get jobbed out then they take me off the road more and fire me."

Two WWE Divas transferred from Raw to SmackDown in the 2007 WWE Supplemental Draft—and the entire year—Torrie Wilson and Victoria. Wilson was in the process of divorcing Billy Kidman. Victoria has been married to a man not affiliated with the professional wrestling industry since 1998, matching Doane's claim.

On November 10, 2008, WWE announced Doane had been released from his contract. While discussing his termination with John Laurinaitis, he was informed that his decision to speak publicly on Cena and James' affair will determine whether WWE offers him employment again in the future.

"When Johnny Ace called me to fire me I asked him if this is why I'm getting fired," Doane recalls. "He told me we don't have anything for you and depending on whether you choose to discuss this issue will determine on if your allowed to come back in the future."

Doane ultimately concludes that he wants to be open and honest.

"Going forward I have no reason but to speak the truth and to make all this up would be absolutely insane. I'm not saying you have to believe anything I say but that is the truth," he says. "WWE portrays Cena as this big hero and savior to all of us but truth be told that is a character he plays much like me as a cheerleader. When watching wrestling, know you're watching a show and not real life situations or scenarios. We are basically live comic books brought to life and make short action movies for you to enjoy." (Wrestling INC)


The Amazing Spider-Man Video Game Now On Sale: Get 'The Amazing Spider-Man' for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS & Nintendo 3DS!...

If your spider-senses are tinglin’, it’s because "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game has web-slung its way onto retail store shelves today in North America, and will be available in Europe on June 29. From Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., and Marvel Entertainment, "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game serves as an epilogue story to this summer’s upcoming blockbuster feature film, heralding Spidey’s return to a free-roaming Manhattan as players take the role of a young Peter Parker discovering his newfound powers and super hero responsibilities. "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game is available on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, the Wii system from Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS handheld systems.

"Dee Brown and his team at Beenox have completely revamped 'The Amazing Spider-Man's' proprietary game engine to deliver a fresh, innovative gameplay experience for the fans," said David Oxford, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Activision Publishing, Inc. “With the adrenaline rush from just swinging through the city and the new zoomed-in camera angle opening up a whole new perspective in realistic detail, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' allows gamers to BE Spider-Man like never before.”

Go beyond Sony Picture Entertainment’s Columbia Pictures’ feature film and find out what happens next in "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game. Set against an original story crafted by Hollywood writer Seamus Kevin Fahey ("Spartacus: Vengeance," "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," "Battlestar Galactica") that picks up immediately after the events of the movie, "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game delivers a brand-new, immersive and cinematic adventure allowing fans to truly harness the power of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Players will experience numerous choices in navigation and combat with the debut of the innovative Web Rush gameplay mechanic, pushing Spider-Man’s abilities to the limit against classic Marvel villains that are re-imagined exclusively for the game, such as Scorpion, Felicia Hardy, Rhino, Iguana and more.

“'The Amazing Spider-Man' video game is the ultimate fan tribute to Spider-Man and Manhattan,” said Andreea Enache-Thune, SVP, Games & Digital Distribution, Marvel Entertainment. “We’re thrilled with all of the content and collectibles Activision and Beenox have packed into the game’s free-roaming Manhattan setting, and we can’t wait for fans to web-swing around the city and start saving the world.”

"The Amazing Spider-Man" video game also features fan-favorite talent, including "Evil Dead" and "Burn Notice's" Bruce Campbell taking the role of an “extreme action” reporter who provides death-defying challenges that only Spider-Man can accomplish. And for fans that pre-ordered the game from Amazon, Stan Lee himself is available as a playable character for the first time ever.

Developed by Beenox for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 system, Wii and Nintendo 3DS, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is rated “T” (Teen – content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older) by the ESRB. The Nintendo 3DS edition features several unique mini-games that use its touch-screen abilities, including the exclusive Vigilante Mode using StreetPass. Additionally, Beenox is working on a Windows PC version of the game planned to launch August 10, 2012, which will be available on Steam and integrated with Steam achievements. The Nintendo DS version of the game was created by developer Other Ocean, is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older – content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older) by the ESRB, and follows the exact same storyline in an entirely different platforming adventure.

For more information on "The Amazing Spider-Man" video game, please go to http://www.TheAmazingSpiderManGame.com, and be sure to check out the game’s Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/TheAmazingSpiderManGame (Marvel)


Social Gaming Supplier of the year!...

NextGen Gaming, the independent game studio of the recently formed NYX Gaming Group incorporating NYX Interactive and NextGen Gaming, celebrate landmark eGR B2B Award.


London, May 21st, 2012:

NextGen Gaming is the proud recipient of the inaugural eGR Magazine B2B Award for Social Gaming Supplier of the Year, presented at a lavish dinner event at London’s Wembley Stadium on 10th May 2012. Now in their third year, the awards celebrate the best service providers and B2B operators in the online gaming industry.

The judges recognized NextGen’s unique fully hosted social gaming application which provides Operators with all the tools required to run and operate a play for fun slot site on Facebook, with the Operator managing their marketing. Debuting at the turn of 2012, NextGen have now licensed multiple applications including Trophy Slots, Slots Villa and Slots Point. NextGen’s Social application is fully graphically configurable and offers a swift route to market for any Operator keen to explore the Social space with the finest, mature and proven Slots available anywhere online, including hit titles such as Doctor Love, Mad Mad Monkey and 2012’s Merlin’s Millions Superbet. The platform includes full access to operational back office and reporting of KPI’s, full player data ownership, the lobby, games, integrated Facebook credits and key social features such as leaderboards, levels and badges, gifting, bragging; everything an Operator needs to go Social.

“I’m delighted the judging panel recognized the pioneering and unique product NextGen Gaming have presented to the market in offering the only B2B solution featuring real gamblers games within Facebook” said Sales Director David Johnson, who received the award on behalf of NextGen.

“We’re seeing Operators take the view that Social Media is a crucial marketing tool allowing them to get an in-depth understanding of their player behavior in preparation for specific market sectors opening, drive down CPA costs and to monetize their players outside of the Social environment. Only NextGen Gaming provide the opportunity for Operators to market the same premium Slots in both the Social and real money wagering world.”

Johnson continued ”The award justifies NextGen’s efforts at continuing to provide the best in Slots content via whichever medium our partners’ desire, with titles now available across the Social, Mobile, App Store, Online & land based markets. All delivery variants stay true to NextGen’s core of providing advanced Slots technologies such as true reel bounce, multiple feature sets and rich, bespoke sounds, which offer players true gaming excitement. We look forward to the release of further NextGen Gaming titles across all platforms in the coming months.”

Slots Villa is available at https://apps.facebook.com/slotsvilla
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International box office: Madagascar 3 stays in top spot...

For the third straight week, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted remained No. 1 around the world, according to The Hollywood Reporter, drawing $30.1 million from 44 territories for a total of $365.9 million. The animated comedy features the voices of Ben Stiller (Meet The Fockers), Chris
Rock (Grown Ups), and Sacha Baron Cohen (The Dictator), as Alex, Marty and Melman trying to get home to New York via a circus.

At No. 2, Snow White And The Huntsman drew $22.6 million in 60 territories, with its strongest earnings coming from France, Japan and Australia. The action fantasy takeoff of the fairy tale, costarring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, has a total of $261.7 million worldwide.

In third place, Pixar's animated Brave, a family-friendly tale about a warrior princess, debuted in 10 markets to earn $13.5 million. In Russia it took 42 percent of the market with $5.6 million, it came in second in Australia with $3.6 million, and in China it took $2.2 million for 17 percent of the market, featuring the voices of Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson.

Ranking fourth is Ridley Scott's Prometheus, taking $12.7 million from 61 territories. The sci-fi/action film has grossed more than $577.3 per date on the foreign circuit.

Finishing fifth was Men In Black III, which grabbed another $10.5 million from 75 markets, with Japan in the lead. Director Barry Sonnenfeld's sci-fi 3D comedy costars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin.

Notable films include the No. 1 film in the UK, The Five-Year Engagement, the romantic comedy costarring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, which collected $1.8 million; the No. 2 film in Mexico, Tim Burton's Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp for $2.6 million, and The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen, which debuted in France, pulling in $1.9 million.

Due to the Euro Cup, attendance in theaters is soft across Europe, with the box office seeing between 45% and 70% decreases. The games head into the finals this week and another slow weekend is ahead.


Former AFL star Ben Cousins guilty plea...

Former AFL star Ben Cousins has been fined a total of $800 for drug possession.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty to three charges after one of the charges was downgraded from intent to sell or supply methamphetamine to simple possession.

Cousins was fined $500 plus $66 costs for possession of 4.56 grams methamphetamine.

He was also fined $150 each for possession of one gram of cannabis and a smoking implement.

Perth Magistrate Steven Heath took into account Cousins' early guilty plea and the fact he had no prior drug convictions.

This was despite the Brownlow medallist's very public battle with drug addiction over the years.

Cousins' lawyer, Michael Tudori, said the former West Coast Eagles premiership-winning captain had made 'a huge error in his judgment' and was 'remorseful and regretful' for his actions.

He said his client wanted to apologise to the court, the public and Teen Challenge, the drug rehabilitation clinic in the south coastal town of Esperance where he was arrested at the airport with 4.56g of methamphetamine on March 27.


News Corp Expected To Announce Split Plans On Thursday...

The News Corp board will meet tomorrow to discuss the plan to separate its TV and film operations from the print ones, with advice from Goldman Sachs and Blair Effron of Centerview Partners. Assuming there’s no last-minute hitch, the arrangement will be made public on Thursday. Then the waiting game begins; it could take as long as a year for the split to actually take place. The thinking is that News Corp investors would receive shares in a new entity housing the publishing and education assets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and book publisher Harper Collins. Rupert Murdoch would continue to control about 40% of the votes at both companies and serve on each board as chairman. Decisions regarding management have yet to be firmed up, but I hear that Murdoch likely would remain CEO of entertainment-focused News Corp while someone else would run day-to-day affairs at the print company. Possibilities for that job include Dow Jones Managing Editor Robert Thompson, Dow Jones CEO Lex Fenwick, and News International CEO Tom Mockridge.

Investors blessed the deal Monday, sending News Corp shares up 8.3% to $21.76. Fitch Ratings, a debt analysis firm, said that the split would “have no impact” on the company’s ‘BBB+’ rating with a Stable Outlook. Other analysts also applauded. Lazard Capital Markets’ Barton Crockett said that the two entities would have a combined value of $26 a share, up $2 from his current price target for News Corp. Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson says the two stocks would be worth “at least” $24, up from his present $23 target. But Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger stuck with his $22 target. Half of News Corp’s value comes from its cable networks and “Even in optimistic scenarios, which we question due to audience erosion at (Fox News Channel) and cost pressures at FX, this segment alone is not enough to power the stock to attractive upside.” (Deadline.com)



E3 download: Six gaming trends to expect over next six months...

Gamers play Alien’s Colonial Marines from Sega on the third day of the E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles. Credit: Frederic Brown / Getty Images

It’s game over for this year’s E3 but what’s the final score?

We put the question to Yves Guillemot, the chief executive of Ubisoft Entertainment, a French company he co-founded in 1986 and guided to its current ranking as the world’s third-largest game publisher (after Activision-Blizzard and Electronic Arts) with franchises such as “Assassin’s Creed,” “Rayman Raving Rabbids,” and “Splinter Cell.”

From his perch in Montreuil-sous-Bois, an eastern suburb of Paris, Guillemot has built a reputation as an astute trend-spotter who was nimble in capitalizing on the Wii and DS craze then heard a hit in the dance-game craze and delivered “Just Dance,” a franchise that has sold more than 28 million copies.

Here are six major trends that will affect the games players will see in the coming months.

1) THE SECOND SCREEN: “Video games played on home television sets will increasingly incorporate another mobile screen,” Guillemot said.

Nintendo’s Wii U console, scheduled to launch later this year, will have a tablet controller toward the end of this year. The 6.2-inch touch screen will be used to display game information that’s not on the big TV screen.

A good example is Ubisoft’s “Zombiu,” which uses the Wii U GamePad touch screen as a way for players to access their inventory and pick locks or to use as a motion detector or minimap. A reviewer from Kotaku went so far as to say, “It’s the game that made me finally see the potential of the Wii U’s special second screen.”

Microsoft, with its SmartGlass software, will make use of existing touch screen devices, including iPads and smartphones. Users who download an application on the devices can turn their tablets or cellphones into a game controller or a screen that can display “companion content” for other forms of entertainment. Think team stats during a live sports game, or actor bios during a movie.

Sony has similar plans for its PlayStation Vita handheld game console.

2) NON-STOP GAMING: “The game doesn’t stop,” Guillemot said. “You’ll be able to pick up the game continuously, anytime and on multiple devices.”

Game developers are creating game “experiences” that let players check into their game from their cellphones, tablets, Web browsers or consoles. Players can configure their teams on a tablet, buy new uniforms on a cellphone and play a match on a console or computer. Progress in the game is saved in the “cloud,” so players can pick up where they left off, regardless of which device they last used.

3) SOCIAL GAMING: It’s not just for Facebook anymore. Game developers and console companies are building plenty of social hooks into their products, Guillemot said. Nintendo on Sunday announced Miiverse, a social network for players of its Wii U console. The Sims City, coming out in February 2013, will let players affect the outcome of neighboring cities operated by friends. Cultivating a crime-ridden, smog-filled city, for example, will boost the crime and pollution in their friends’ cities. The franchise, which had always been single player, will let players form alliances and trade resources – much like real cities.

4) ASYNCHRONOUS MULTIPLAYER GAMING: Having a social experience is great. But not everyone has the luxury of being able to play together at the same time – so-called “appointment gaming,” where guilds get together at a specific time, for example, to stage a raid.

So developers are cooking up ways to get players to interact without having to pick up their controllers at the same time, Guillemot said. A player can leave messages or a challenge for another gamer to pick up when they log in. Or, to complete quests, they can send help requests that friends can respond to at a later time.

This is a common staple in Facebook games, where players check in for a few minutes at a time, often not at the same time. Now, that feature will be increasingly built into other types of games, Guillemot said.

5) COMPANION GAMING: No, that doesn’t mean a “Women of Warcraft” dating site. It’s a term that was thrown around in great profusion at E3 this year and it refers to developers creating “side content” for major franchises.

One example is “Ghost Recon: Commander,” a social game released on Facebook at the same time Ubisoft released ”Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.” Progress in the Facebook game helped players unlock new weapons in the main console game, for example.

Developers can also explore separate story lines, say of a minor character, in mobile versions. Or configure a football team on an iPad app that they can later use to play in the console game. The idea is to have players engage in the game wherever they happen to be.

“We want you to be able to play on any screen that’s nearest to you,” Guillemot said.

Of course, the “companion content” has to be appropriate for the device, he cautioned. It may not be ideal, for example, to be playing a full-featured console game on a cellphone.

6) FREE GAMES: Game publishers are increasingly enamored with so-called “freemium games” that give players a limited version of the game for free, but charge for extras.

For players, that can be both good and bad. The nice thing is that people can get a taste of a game before they decide to spend money on it. How many times have you paid $60 for a game, 0nly to discover that you hate it once you’ve had a chance to play it for 15 minutes?

The downside, of course, is that players can wind up spending a lot more than $60 over time — paying 99 cents for a power-up here, $2 for a weapon there, and so on. For some, the price tag can add up to hundreds of dollars. This is why Nintendo has refused to pursue this model, referring to it as a “gotcha” scheme for players.

That said, if players can exercise some self-restraint in clicking the in-game “buy” button, the good news is that there will be more choices available to players than ever before. (L.A Times)


ION Preps Weekly WWE Wrestling Show...

ION Television has teamed with WWE for a new weekly one-hour original series. WWE Main Event will debut October 3 and air on Wednesday nights at 8 PM. It will feature WWE stars from the rosters of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, including in-ring action and storylines.

The new show provides WWE with a show on a broadcast network for the first time since Friday Night SmackDown left MyNetworkTV in September 2010 and gives the wrestling federation weekly programs on Monday (Monday Night Raw on USA), Wednesday (WWE Main Event on ION) and Friday (Friday Night SmackDown on Syfy). “As a general entertainment network with a solid foundation, WWE Main Event is a great addition to our lineup that features something for everyone,” ION Media Networks CEO Brandon Burgess said.


Telstra accused of tracking Next G internet use...

Telstra has been accused of tracking the internet use of its Next G mobile phone users and sending their internet history to a company in the United States.

One of the telco's customers discovered that when he visited a website using his Next G network in Australia, a server in the United States would visit the same address almost instantly.

Telstra says it is collecting the information for use in a new internet filter product, but internet users are outraged and are demanding the Australian Privacy Commissioner investigate.

The tracking was confirmed by Mark Newton, who up until late last year was one of the longest serving technical engineers at Australian internet company Internode.

When he saw rumours on a network administrator email list that Telstra was sending the URLs from Next G internet use to a company overseas, he set up a test.

"In real time, information about the URL that I was visiting was being sent offshore so that that offshore data centre could then make that second request," he said.

"It means if you go to abc.net.au on your Next G internet connection, both Telstra and the US company knows about it."

Mr Newton says he had no idea such information was going offshore.

"Australians should know when their private data is collected, what that data is going to be used for and who it is going to be disclosed to," he said.

He says he has emailed Telstra, asking why it is sending internet address data to a third party.

"Privacy protections in the United States are very, very minimal. There are almost no controls at all on what an American company can do with private data that’s been gathered from consumers," he said.

Privacy concerns

Users on the Australian broadband forum Whirlpool also want to know why the information is being sent, who it is being sent to, and why they were not told about it.

No one at Telstra was available for an interview, but in a statement the company admitted it was sending data overseas.

Telstra said it was building a database for one of its new products which will allow parents to block their children from accessing certain websites.

It is working with US company Netsweeper, which is building the database for the filter.

Telstra says the product will be "opt in", but Mr Newton says its current data collection strategy is not.

"It's being collected and then sent to the US company without anyone being told about it. And I have a problem with that. And I think anyone who has concerns about privacy should also," he said.

Western Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says he has asked Telstra to provide more details.

"Any item that's out there on the web has to have its unique address or it can't be found. And I don't want to overstate or overplay this because at the moment it's just really quite ambiguous as to what’s even occurring," he said.

"But, potentially, profiles can be built of people out of the places that they go and the things that they look at online, or the people that they're in contact with. These things are possible. These are live debates." (ABC News)


Jobs purge at The Star casino...

The Star casino has shed up to 100 key management staff in the wake of the Sid Vaikunta scandal as it desperately seeks to rebuild its tattered reputation -- and there are threats of more to come.

Rocked by a string of lurid allegations, Echo Entertainment Group, which runs the casino, has shown at least 70 management staff the door in Sydney, along with a number of staff who perform various strategic roles across the gambling group also being made redundant. Former chief financial officer Murray McCall is the biggest head to roll in the mammoth shake-up.

Friends of Mr McCall, who was poached by The Star from New Zealand casino group SkyCity in 2009, said he was stunned by the decision, especially considering he took the reins of the casino as acting managing director following Mr Vaikunta's dismissal.

Mr Vaikunta was sacked on February 2 after allegations of sexual harassment made against him by two staff members. He denies the allegations.

It is understood The Star has reported Mr McCall's departure to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Tough rules governing the casino's licence mean the authority must be notified within two weeks if a "special employee" has their position terminated. "Since the departure of the former Managing Director (Mr Vaikunta), there is no suggestion The Star has not been fully compliant with notification requirements in relation to special employees ceasing to have functions," an ILGA spokesman said.

Other staff who have been let go include event manager Alexandra Bull, who had been with the casino since 1997, and events and tournaments manager, Darka de Vries.

Casino insiders have been told the cull, which began with six senior staff removed on the day the failed musical An Officer and a Gentleman premiered in May, has not finished.

One source said the redundancies have been carried out across the board: "No one is safe; whether you are in gaming or marketing, your head is on the chopping block."

The purge comes after months of bad publicity and declining profits at The Star. The casino has issued two profit warnings this month. Turnover for 2012 is expected to be as low as $270 million, down from $347 million in 2011.

Government relations manager Brad Schmitt, who confirmed the bloodletting, said the redundancies were part of a plan to streamline the business by removing the duplication of roles caused by the company's demerger from Tabcorp. He maintained the

redundancies were planned long before the profit warnings with "numbers built up for the relaunch of The Star and busy Christmas period".

He also denied suggestions his position was at risk as The Star looked to mend its fractured relationship with the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, telling The Sunday Telegraph he had just received a pay rise.

Mr O'Farrell's former chief advisor, Peter Grimshaw, was accused of running a personal vendetta against The Star. (The Daily Telegraph)


Russell Crowe to play Rupert Murdoch in film...

Russell Crowe is reportedly in line to play Rupert Murdoch in a film.

The 'Gladiator' star is tipped to take on the role of the media mogul in a movie based on 'Good Times, Bad Times', the memoirs of former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans.

A source told the Daily Star newspaper: ''You have to be brave to play someone like Murdoch. Russell can do it.''

Colin Firth is believed to be up for the role as Harold, but no deals are yet in place.

Leon Lecash, creative director of what's it all about?, which is making the movie said: ''The film will be a drama, either for the big screen or television. It is very early days as the option deal with Harry was only just completed.

''No actors or even writers have been signed up yet.''

The film will focus on then-Prime Minister Lady Margaret Thatcher's dealings with the Australian tycoon.

Evidence is said to suggest she manipulated rules to facilitate the deal for Murdoch to buy The Times newspaper in 1981 in return for favourable publicity for her party.

Leon added to the Evening Standard newspaper: ''Murdoch went to Chequers to talk about the deal, which was never brought to the attention of the Monopolies Commission.

''Harry had suspicions that some intimate contacts were taking place between Murdoch and Thatcher, with late-night whisky drinking in Downing Street when Murdoch was let in by the back door. This type of stuff came to light recently when Sir Bernard Ingham's notes were released under the 30-year rule. Much of what Harry wrote about Murdoch when they fell out in 1983 is so prescient he has said he didn't know whether to laugh or cry.''


Casino Hires Robert De Niro as Celebrity Flack...

You talkin' to me?

A casino in South Korea hopes you'll be listening!

The Paradise Walker-Hill Casino in Seoul, South Korea, has announced that it has hired actor Robert De Niro to serve as a paid celebrity spokesman for the casino.

The casino, which is South Korea's oldest and is open to foreigners only--meaning no South Koreans are allowed in--is located in the Sheraton Walker-Hill Hotel, a luxury hotel in Seoul that is popular with tourists and foreign business people.

Large ads featuring De Niro plugging the casino have already begun appearing at Seoul's airport and other locations frequented by tourists.

In addition, the casino announced, television commercials with De Niro promoting the casino were filmed in New York City last month.

The TV spots will not air in the USA.

One of De Niro's most famous movie roles was in the film "Casino," in which he played Ace Rothstein, a character based on real-life mob associate and Stardust Casino executive Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal.

De Niro, like many other American celebrities, does not appear in any commercials or ads in the USA, but does appear in foreign advertising.

Several celebs in recent years, however, have flacked for casinos that advertised in the USA.

Among them are singer Kenny Rogers, whose hit song "The Gambler" permanently linked him to the pastime in the eyes of the American public.

For years, he has shilled for the Barona Casino, an Indian casino near San Diego.

And former professional wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura served as a celebrity spokesman for Bet U.S., an online sportsbook and casino based in Costa Rica.

In addition, baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson once briefly served as a paid celeb shill for an online casino, until Major League Baseball told him to nix the deal or be banned from baseball. (www.gambling911.com)


Marvel Entertainment Movies: Amazing Spider-Man, Thor 2, The Avengers Et Al Boost Popularity Of Marvel Slot Games...

The Media Man agency reports that Marvel themed online slot games across the network, and featured at partner, PartyCasino.com , are boosting the popularity of the superhero themed online slot games. Bwin.Party currently offers The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, with more expected to soon hit the popular gaming and entertainment website destination.

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