Global shift at NBC Uni

NBC Universal, hot on the heels of its Weather Channel acquisition, has restructured its global channel operations, appointing regional managing directors for the U.K., Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The four will take their posts in the fall and report to Roma Khanna, NBC Uni's London-based president of global networks and digital initiatives. Former UKTV executive Laurence Dawkin-Jones will become managing director global networks, also based in London; while Francois Roux becomes managing director of Europe, Middle East and African regions. Steve Patscheck is managing director of Latin America, and Raymund Miranda takes over as managing director of Asia Pacific.

ESPN trims Plan

ESPN has scaled back slightly its plans for a daylong live "SportsCenter" block. The sports network told employees Wednesday that it would produce six hours of live "SportsCenter" a day during the daytime. The previous plan, announced at ESPN's upfront presentation in May, was for nine hours.

Associates Found

ABC Studios has selected 10 participants for its production associates program, which offers full-time, entry-level positions for 12 months. The 2008-09 associates, who start this week, are Juanpaolo Catapang, Nantale Corbett, Sonia Evans, Kelsey Fallesen, Benjamin Jones, Enoch Changhee Kim, Deborah Lin, Joshua R. Pineda, Parul Puri and Brittany Williams.

Almost a 'Wipeout'

The finale of "Hell's Kitchen" won Tuesday night as expected but was nearly bested by a surprising surge from ABC's "Wipeout." "Kitchen" (8.8 million viewers, 4.2 rating/12 share among 18-49) grew 11% from last week's episode to easily win the 9 p.m. hour. ABC almost tied Fox in the demo, fueled by the strength of 8 p.m.'s "Wipeout" (10.6 million, 4.0/13), which earned its highest rating yet by a big margin.

Lazarus lands

Former Turner Entertainment Group president Mark Lazarus has been tapped as president of media and marketing at Career Sports & Entertainment.

Pics for SoapNet

SoapNet has acquired five more movies for its "Sunday Night Movie" franchise. The movies, which will air starting Aug. 3, are "Moonstruck," "Clue," "Mommie Dearest," "The Butcher's Wife" and "Lucky 13."

Big Ten options

FiOS TV is making Big Ten Network available in standard definition and HD.