news digest


Clear Channel completes TV sale

U.S. radio operator Clear Channel Communications said Friday that it has completed the sale of its television assets to Newport — a company set up by Providence Equity Partners to make the acquisition — for $1.1 billion. Clear Channel agreed to sell the 56 television stations to Providence in April for $1.2 billion, but the deal faltered amid the market turmoil and was renegotiated to a lower price. Clear Channel is in the process of being acquired by private-equity firms.

ATAS unveils College TV Awards

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation handed out its 29th College Television Awards on Saturday. Among the winners were Stephen Neary of NYU (animation), Michelle Tessier of UCLA (children's program), Reed Van Dyk of Cornell University (comedy), Jonas Mayabb of Pasadena's Art Center College of Design (commercials), Jolene Pinder and Sarah Zaman of the University of Florida (documentary), Nicole Haeusser and Ulrich Schwarz of UCLA (drama), Tim Wilkerson and Sean Brown of Southern Illinois University (magazine shows), Jean-Olivier Begin of the Manhattan School of Music (in collaboration with Columbia University) (best composition), Sou Yun Sim of Florida State University Graduate Film School (best use of music) and Ryan Dietz and Patrick Lester of Northwestern University (newscasts).

'Desert' storms Guadalajara fest

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Rodrigo Pla's sophomore feature "The Desert Within" scorched the competition at the 23rd annual Guadalajara International Film Festival, garnering eight prizes at Mexico's biggest movie event of the year. The film on Friday won best Mexican picture, screenplay, cinematography and the audience award, among other prizes. Set against the backdrop of Mexico's Cristero War, "Desert" revolves around a family struggling to overcome divine punishment. It will bow this year in Mexico.

Clearances in 'Wizard's' hat

Disney-ABC Domestic Television has cleared its upcoming syndicated series "Wizard's First Rule" in 84% of the country, including all of the top 50 markets. In addition to launch group Tribune Broadcasting, the scripted, first-run, live-action weekly series has been sold to stations from several other broadcast groups. Disney has not announced casting for the one-hour series, which is produced by ABC Studios.

Robins joins Paley councils

J. Max Robins has been named vp and executive director of the Paley Center for Media's Media Council and International Council, effective April 7. The Media Council is a forum where top industry executives, thinkers and influencers gather to discuss and define the future of media and its role in society; the International Council unites the CEOs of leading media companies to exchange ideas.

Judge hints at IAC ruling by month's end

Five days of testimony in a case pitting one-time friends Barry Diller and John Malone against each other ended with the judge asking for written briefs and suggesting that a ruling could come by March 28. Testimony wrapped Friday. At stake is Diller's control over IAC/InterActiveCorp, which he built by combining traditional media assets with online entities.