NEWS ROUNDUP

'Rugrats Passover' to be Released NEW YORK -- Sony Wonder and Nickelodeon Video, both here, will release "A Rugrats Passover" on Feb. 20 at a suggested retail of $9.98. Order cut-off for the title -- which was originally seen as a double-length episode of the popular animated series -- is Feb. 1. Sony Wonder will release "Nothing But Shorts, The Unwashed Collection," a title based on Nickelodeon programming

'Rugrats Passover' to be Released NEW YORK -- Sony Wonder and Nickelodeon Video, both here, will release "A Rugrats Passover" on Feb. 20 at a suggested retail of $9.98. Order cut-off for the title -- which was originally seen as a double-length episode of the popular animated series -- is Feb. 1. Sony Wonder will release "Nothing But Shorts, The Unwashed Collection," a title based on Nickelodeon programming on Feb. 20. It features animated stars Ren and Stimpy. Suggested retail is $14.98, and order cut-off is Feb. 1.

Desperado" which is due out Feb. 6.

MCA/Universal Sets Direct-to-Video

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- MCA/Universal Home Video here is increasing its commitment to direct-to-video releases for 1996. "Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus" will be released Jan. 3, followed later in the year by "Darkman III: Die Darkman Die!" and "Tremors II: Aftershock." Release dates on the last two have not been announced yet. Also this year, the studio will introduce "Earthworm Jim," a new animated series for children. Created by Universal Cartoon Studios and co-produced by Universal Family Entertainment, the title is based on a video game of the same name. MCA/Universal plans to explore "new cross-promotional and synergistic possibilities" as it releases these direct-to-video products, according to a press statement.

Baseball Sales Top 450,000 Tapes

LOS ANGELES -- Sales of fourth-quarter releases from Major League Baseball Home Video topped 450,000 units, reported Orion Home Video here, which distributes the line. Key titles were "The Official 1995 World Series Video," "Wahoo! What a Finish" and "Cleveland Rocks." "Nationwide response to our three fourth-quarter video releases has been tremendous, reflecting the renewed enthusiasm and interest in baseball, especially in the two World Series markets, Cleveland and Atlanta," said Rich Domich, senior vice president at Major League Baseball Home Video.

ABC Video to Issue African Tale

STAMFORD, Conn. -- ABC Video here will release a special Easter video program on March 19. One of the titles in the collection is "Jirimpimbira: An African Folktale," which features the voices of well-known African-American performers like Diahann Carroll and Meshach Taylor.

The tape will retail at $9.95. Other animated titles in the program are "The Magic Flute," $12.95; "The Secret Garden," $14.95; and "The Velveteen Rabbit," $9.95. The dealer order date is Feb. 13. ABC Video also has entered into an agreement to release five tapes in the "Fairy Tales on Ice" series, starring Nancy Kerrigan. The first two videos will be issued in 1996 and will be backed by an extensive marketing and promotional campaign, said Jon Peisinger, president, ABC Video.