Phone-Hacking Allegations Hit Mirror Newspapers
Until yesterday, phone-hacking claims had been limited to papers owned by News Corp.’s UK press arm. Now, Britain’s Mirror Group Newspapers may be brought into the scandal as four individuals line up cases against its titles. Among those seeking damages are former manager of the English soccer team, Sven Goran Eriksson; a former nanny to David Beckham’s children and a TV soap actress. Eriksson’s claims against the Daily Mirror are believed to stem from a period when CNN host Piers Morgan was editor. Morgan gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics late last year at which time he said he had no knowledge or reason to believe there was any phone hacking at the paper during his tenure. The claims against Mirror papers allege “breach of confidence and misuse of private information,” in relation to the “interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone accounts.” The attorney for the claimants, Mark Lewis, said no particulars had been filed, but that relevant dates relating to alleged activity were submitted to the court, The Guardian reports. A spokesman for MGN parent, Trinity Mirror, said: “We have no comment. We are unaware action has been taken at the High Court.”

Downton Abbey Hits New Season High In UK Overnights, Debuts In NZ
Downton Abbey was up again Sunday night on the UK’s ITV. The sixth episode of Season 3 hit an overnight ratings high of 9.69M viewers during the 9pm hour. That score, a 36.6% share, beat the season’s previous top performer which drew 9.66M viewers in the overnights on Oct. 1. Factoring in Sunday’s delayed viewings, Downton drew just over 10M viewers. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, season 3 of the show kicked off this weekend on free-to-air web Prime drawing top ratings with just over 350K viewers.

France’s CNC To Lose 150M Euros In 2013 Budget
The French government is poised to skim 150M euros from the budget of the CNC, the nation’s well-oiled film body, after deputies voted on the move on Monday. Budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac justified the cut saying, “autonomy shouldn’t extend to using public funds in an unreasonable manner,” and added that the payroll had risen 35% despite no major “recruitment” in the “past 8 or 9 years,” AFP reports. The CNC, which is fully funded by taxes such as those placed on cinema tickets and TV providers, sits on a treasury of about 800M euros over which the state has no control. One of the richest and most prolific state bodies in Europe, the org is indispensable to the French industry. In 2011, it financed 272 features. It’s currently waging another battle in Brussels, aiming for approval on an amendment that would increase taxes on ISPs.

Oz’s Ten Bets On New Australian and U.S. Dramas For Ratings Resurgence
Languishing in third place behind the Seven and Nine Networks, Australia’s Network Ten today unveiled the group of new shows it’s banking on to boost ratings in 2013. The line-up includes U.S./UK imports Elementary, Ripper Street and The Americans. Among the fresh Oz dramas are Batavia, Screentime’s eight-part shipwreck series; Wonderland, a romantic comedy-drama from FremantleMedia Australia and Secrets & Lies: The Track, a psychological thriller from Hoodlum. Separately Ten confirmed it has received a revised $A110M offer for its outdoor business Eye Corp from Champ private equity’s Outdoor Media Operations, a deal that was in limbo last week. – Don Groves