news digest


Apple pulls out of NAB confab

The postproduction exhibition in the South Hall at April's National Association of Broadcasters convention will look different this year. Apple confirmed that it will not have a booth at the April 11-17 Las Vegas event. Rival Avid pulled out in November, saying it would redirect that spend to more "customer-focused" activities.

Martin urges FCC approval of DirecTV deal

WASHINGTON — FCC chairman Kevin Martin is urging his commission colleagues to approve the deal that will give Liberty Media control of DirecTV. Martin is circulating a proposal that the FCC can vote on during its regular meeting this month that would allow the transfer of control of DirecTV from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to John Malone's Liberty Media. The approval will include conditions like the program access requirements the commission put in place when they allowed News Corp. to buy DirecTV from the Hughes division of General Motors. The U.S. Justice Department also has to approve the deal.

'Motherhood' family grows

NEW YORK — "In the Motherhood," an online comedy series from Sprint, Suave and MindShare Entertainment, is returning to MSN this month with Jenny McCarthy joining cast members Leah Remini and Chelsea Handler. The Web series, which according to MindShare had 5.5 million views last season, profiles the lives of three mothers and girlfriends, incorporating real-life stories submitted by mothers across the country and voted on by the online community and an advisory committee.

Oxygen on pommel horse for Olympics

NEW YORK — NBC Universal's most recent acquisition isn't wasting time getting into the swing of things with the company's Olympics coverage. Oxygen will carry a nightly program highlighting gymnastics during the 2008 Beijing Games as well as undetermined amounts of equestrian, tennis, rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming. The female-focused Oxygen will carry Olympic programming from 6-8 p.m. EST, before NBC's primetime coverage begins. It's the first time that NBC Uni has revealed specific programming plans for its coverage, which will encompass more than 3,600 hours on TV and broadband.

Paramount makes call for a mobile unit

NEW YORK — Paramount is creating a mobile entertainment division with a goal of ramping up original and marketing content on mobile devices. The unit will fall under Paramount's digital entertainment division, led by president Thomas Lesinski, and will be headed by Sandi Isaacs, senior vp mobile and interactive. Three executives focused on international markets will report to Isaacs. Madeline Herdrich is vp mobile in North America; Pradeep Mittur is vp mobile for Asia Pacific; and Giovanni Maruca is the director of mobile for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Mackin tapped TV station group topper

Univision has tapped Hearst-Argyle Television executive vp Terry Mackin as president of its Television Station Group, effective March 1. He will oversee Univision and TeleFutura's 64 TV stations and will be based in New York, reporting to Ray Rodriguez, president and COO of Univision Communications. As executive vp at Hearst-Argyle, Mackin is responsible for building the company's digital media assets.