news digest


Sony taps Kalle for India post

Sony continued to expand its India operations with Tuesday's announcement that it has promoted Superna Kalle to senior vp at Sony Pictures Television International's networks group, with oversight of its television business in the nation. Additionally, vp international networks George Chien is expanding his role to provide leadership to SPTI's international networks business in Southeast Asia and Japan. He also will work with Kalle on the Indian channels.

NBC Uni puts out Firebrand

NBC Universal has snuffed Firebrand, a Web site the company invested in that launched last year presenting TV commercials as entertainment. Future funding has been cut off, a spokesman said, though the Web site remained up Tuesday. Firebrand took a curated approach to Madison Avenue, selecting flashy spots from blue-chip advertisers ranging from Coca-Cola to 24 Hour Fitness. NBC Uni, as well as the Peacock Equity Fund, Microsoft and ION Television, which ran Firebrand as a late-night block, were behind the venture, which launched in October.

CW adapting 'Filthy Rich'

Following the CW's success with its adaptation of Alloy Entertainment's "Gossip Girl" novels, the network has ordered a pilot based on another Alloy book, "How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls." The drama project, written by Rina Mimoun, centers on a Yale-educated woman hired to be the live-in tutor/life coach to two rich heiresses in Palm Beach, Fla.

EMI on board with Qtrax

LONDON — Ad-supported peer-to-peer file-sharing service Qtrax has signed an extension to its digital distribution licensing agreement with EMI Music Publishing. EMI Music Publishing chairman and CEO Roger Faxon said the music publisher "came on board with Qtrax very early because we believed that this concept could provide real value to our songwriters. As such, we are extraordinarily pleased that it has come to fruition and that is now going to become a reality."

'Dirt' dusty in Season 2 bow

"Dirt" got off to a slow start in its Second 2 premiere. The FX drama, starring Courteney Cox, averaged 1.7 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Sunday, a significant drop-off from the January 2007 series premiere (3.7 million) when comparing Live+SD data from Nielsen Media Research. Meanwhile, the premiere of History Channel's "Battle 360" averaged 1.8 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Friday, making it the network's most-watched Friday-night original telecast ever.

Six Flags eyes Dubai theme park

Six Flags, which owns and operates 21 theme parks across the U.S., has its eye on park No. 22 — in Dubai. The New York-based park operator is teaming with Tatweer, a member of Dubai Holding, on its first park outside North America, a 5 million-square-foot project within Tatweer's quickly expanding Dubailand development. In addition to the theme park, Tatweer and Six Flags plan to join forces on new concepts across the region, including Six Flags theme parks and waterparks, branded restaurants and hotels.