news digest


Bravo's 'Housewives' move to New York

Bravo has greenlighted a New York-set spinoff of its original series "The Real Housewives of Orange County." The new series, titled "The Real Housewives of New York City," is set to premiere at 11 p.m. March 4 before moving to its regular time period at 10 p.m. March 11.

Super Bowl kickoff for Pepsi, Amazon

DENVER — Pepsi and Amazon have unveiled a digital music promotion that will kick off during the Super Bowl with a commercial starring Justin Timberlake. The promotion, called Pepsi Stuff, is designed to introduce Amazon's digital music service. Amazon has done little marketing around the service but is ramping up efforts now that it has secured content from all four major music labels.

'HSM2' sing-along set for Friday

Disney Channel will air versions of "High School Musical 2" songs by international artists Friday during a daylong programming special. A total of 17 renditions of seven "HSM2" songs in various languages will be shown. The music videos have been airing on each country's local Disney Channel. A 16-episode "Hannah Montana" marathon will serve as a lead-in to an 8 p.m. showing of "HSM2."

MySpace broadens safety measures

NEW YORK — MySpace and attorneys general from 49 states announced a set of principles and the formation of a task force aimed at keeping social networking sites safe from sexual predators. The main initiatives center on keeping users under age 18 from receiving unwanted contact from users over that age. MySpace has enacted a 14-year-old age requirement, making the profiles of all users under age 18 automatically private.

First Independent gives light to 'Dark'

NEW YORK — First Independent Pictures will handle North American theatrical distribution for Chen Shi-Zheng's dramatic thriller "Dark Matter," starring Meryl Streep. The film will be released in April, followed by a DVD release via a home video deal that is being finalized. The deal was negotiated by First Independent head Gary Rubin with Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment.

WWE, Travel Channel go high-def

World Wrestling Entertainment said Monday that it is going high-def. Starting next week, "Monday Night Raw" and "A.M. Raw" on USA Network, "ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling" on Sci Fi Channel and "Friday Night SmackDown!" on the CW will be delivered in HD. WWE also will broadcast its pay-per-view programming in HD, starting with "Royal Rumble" on Jan. 27. In other high-def news, the Travel Channel announced Travel Channel HD, a high-definition simulcast of the network that will feature such shows as "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" and "Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern."

Animal Planet changes stripes

Animal Planet said Monday that it is launching a new branding campaign and logo next month, along with three new series set to debut during the next year. The channel plans its rebrand Feb. 3 with a focus on programming that is "designed to reach a more adult audience." The three new series are "Groomer Has It," "Whale Wars" and "A Year With Lions."