news digest


Sirius Stern bonus: $82.9 mil

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. paid Howard Stern an $82.9 million stock bonus Tuesday after the company beat a subscriber target set two years ago, when it lured the shock jock away from terrestrial radio. The bonus is on top of Stern's five-year, $500 million pay package. Sirius said it paid Stern more than 22 million shares of stock after exceeding a year-end subscriber goal; it ended 2006 with 6 million subs.

China's b.o. up 31% from '05

BEIJING — Buoyed by improved distribution, China's 2006 boxoffice sales rose to 2.62 billion yuan ($327.5 million), up 31% over 2005, state-run media said Tuesday, citing the director of the central Film Bureau. Zhang Yimou's martial arts period epic "Curse of the Golden Flower," China's contender in the foreign-language Oscar race, topped last year's boxoffice, earning 250 million yuan ($31.3 million), Film Bureau director Tong Gang said in a report by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television acquired by the Xinhua news agency.

FCC's Martin adding pair to senior staff

WASHINGTON — FCC chairman Kevin Martin is shuffling his senior staff, saying late Monday that he intends to hire Monica Shah Desai as the Media Bureau's new chief to replace Donna Gregg, who will become senior policy adviser to Ambassador Richard Russell, the U.S. representative to the World Radiocommunication Conference. Martin also said that Helen Domenici would be added as the International Bureau chief.

Aspen fest books variety of yuks

NEW YORK — Comedy stars and legends and the discovery of new cutting-edge talent and comedic forms for the digital age will be the focus of this year's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, organized by HBO. Unveiling the first elements of the 2007 program lineup Tuesday, organizers announced the presentation of a newly created award to legend Don Rickles; headliner performances by George Carlin, Steven Wright and Katt Williams; a showcase of promising online projects; and the biggest sketch troupe program in the festival's history. USCAF is scheduled to run Feb. 28-March 4.

Producers file motion in Canada strike

TORONTO — Canada's producers association sought a judge's order Tuesday to end the use of so-called continuation letters by individual film and TV producers to keep their shoots afloat during the actors strike here. The Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. went to the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto in a bid to have declared unlawful individual deals that producers are signing with ACTRA to spare their shoots labor disruption or stoppages. On Tuesday, ACTRA unveiled a list of about 40 film and TV productions in Quebec that have signed deals with ACTRA ahead of the actors strike moving into the province today.

Nets shuffle lineups for Bush speech

The broadcast networks have made adjustments to their East Coast lineups to accommodate President Bush's speech tonight at 9 p.m. EST. ABC's new 9-10 p.m. comedies "The Knights of Prosperity" and "In Case of Emergency" will be pushed back to follow the speech at about 9:25 p.m.; an abbreviated edition of ABC News' "Primetime" is scheduled to air from about 10:25-11 p.m. CBS will slide the original episodes of its dramas "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: NY," bleeding into the 11 p.m. local newscasts. After the speech, NBC will join "Deal or No Deal" in progress, and Fox will air a repeat of " 'Til Death" from 9:30-10 p.m.