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The Newsdesk 12.31.08 – Under-the-Wire Oscar Contenders; Media Stocks End Year Down 43 Percent

• At 12:01 a.m., on January 1, just after the ball drops in Times Square, Time Warner Cable’s 13 million subscribers will lose nineteen Viacom channels, but their rates will go up. Happy new year!

• The two final releases of 2008 open in theaters today, and they’re both about the Holocaust. For your consideration: Defiance and Good.

• SAG executive director Doug Allen sent a message to members yesterday assuring them a “strike will not ‘shut down’ the industry.” What he didn’t say was what effect a strike could indeed have.

You knew it was only a matter of time before Bernard Madoff would be connected to Kevin Bacon. A publicist for Bacon confirmed that he and his wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick, were among those duped into investing in Madoff’s giant Ponzi scheme.

• Twentieth Century Fox doesn’t have time to Tweet (what with stopping the Watchmen release), so someone created a Twitter account under the studio name and is doing it for them. What does the fake (but funny) site say? Among other things: “Don’t worry about that whole Watchmen thing, we’re pretty sure you would’ve hated it — we’re just trying to protect you!”

Will 2009 be a good year for movies? The economy might bring people who are looking for an escape to theaters. But because of the WGA strike, which rushed movies and stopped others, the number of movies to choose from will be down 10 to 15 percent.

• Today is the last day of trading in 2008. Only two media stocks in the Showbiz 50 index are set to finish the year with gains. Here’s hoping you have shares of Marvel and Netflix.

Jan Troell’s Everlasting Moments leads the race for Sweden’s top film prize, the Golden Bug.

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