news digest


Tribune posts loss, mulls asset sale

Tribune posted a fourth-quarter loss Thursday and said that it has begun a review that could lead to the sale of some of its properties. The debt-laden newspaper publisher and broadcaster, which went private in a buyout last year led by real estate tycoon Sam Zell, reported a loss of $78.8 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $239.1 million a year ago. Revenue fell 12% to $1.3 billion.

'Grand' opening for Palm Beach fest

The 13th annual Palm Beach International Film Festival, set for April 10-17, will kick off with opening-night film "The Grand," a comedy from director Zak Penn starring Woody Harrelson, David Cross and Cheryl Hines, and close with Stephen Walker's "Young at Heart," a documentary about a chorus of seniors who sing punk and rock. Hines, Mickey Rooney, Jason Reitman and Josh Hutcherson will be honored at the fest's black-tie gala April 12.

Loeb & Loeb bows new-media/tech group

NEW YORK — Loeb & Loeb has launched a practice group for new-media and technology clients. Media and advertising partner Ken Florin will chair the group. The national emerging media and technology practice group has almost 20 attorneys in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. They have expertise in new media, technology, entertainment and intellectual property law.

HRTS to explore pilot season

The Hollywood Radio & Television Society is presenting a special panel Tuesday to explore how the industry will conduct business this pilot season and into the next development season in the aftermath of the WGA strike. The "Where Do We Go From Here?" Newsmaker Luncheon will feature "The Office's" Greg Daniels, Fox's Kevin Reilly, Lionsgate TV's Sandra Stern, Endeavor's Richard Weitz and Ziffren Brittenham's Ken Ziffren. The panel, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City, will be moderated by former HRTS president Jordan Levin and incorporate an interactive, town hall format. Reservations: (818) 789-1182 or

EchoStar throws hat into wireless arena

WASHINGTON — The big cell phone companies might be getting some competition from the nation's second-biggest satellite TV network as a company owned by EchoStar Communications has won nearly enough licenses to create a nationwide wireless footprint. Overseen by the FCC, the auction attracted a record $19.6 billion in bids for the frequencies broadcasters will vacate when they switch off analog TV signals next year. Bidders for the frequencies were anonymous until bidding ended and the agency released the names Thursday. AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the nation's two biggest cell phone carriers, bid a combined $16 billion of the $19.6 billion pledged in the auction. An EchoStar spokesman refused to divulge the company's plans for the frequencies.

Fitton in at Disney ad sales

Peter Fitton has been named vp international sales at Disney Media Advertising Sales and Marketing Group, where he will have strategic oversight of ad sales strategies in all markets outside the U.S. and responsibility for establishing cross-market alliances to maximize opportunities for Disney's clients. Fitton, who will report to executive vp Tricia Wilber, most recently was director of new business development at MTV Networks Digital, where he was responsible for new business across MTVN's entertainment branded sites in the U.S. market. Before that, he was vp/commercial director at Turner Broadcasting France.