news digest


Dis nearly doubles Iger's compensation

NEW YORK — After a year of strong financial and stock gains, the Walt Disney Co. awarded president and CEO Robert Iger nearly twice the overall compensation for fiscal 2006 compared with '05, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday. He received a $15 million cash bonus in addition to his $2 million annual salary for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The filing of the annual proxy statement came on a day when Disney shares hit a new 52-week high of $35.29 in intraday trading before closing up 0.6% at $35.21. The document also disclosed that Disney will hold its annual shareholder meeting March 8 in New Orleans.

Low is latest exec to leave MTV Nets

The executive exodus at Viacom's MTV Networks continued Friday with word that Peter Low, executive vp cable TV distribution and affiliate marketing, is leaving the company. He follows Michael Wolf, president and chief operating officer, and Nicole Browning, president of affiliate sales and marketing, who announced their departures from MTVN on Thursday.

China limiting reality TV programming

BEIJING — China will crack down on reality TV, limiting the number of shows allowed on air, the country's top central broadcast regulator told provincial broadcast officials Friday in Beijing. Wang Taihua, director general of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said China will stop some reality shows as part of an effort to "clean up TV screens" and tighten government supervision of popular entertainment programming, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

MSN, Reveille launch into Web 'Debate'

NEW YORK — MSN and Reveille today are scheduled to debut "The Big Debate," the first original series to emerge from their partnership, announced in May. The daily show, described as a "pop culture version of 'Crossfire,' " is the first of 10 that the Microsoft-owned Web portal and Reveille will produce together. "Debate," sponsored exclusively by Cingular, will run between two and three minutes and will feature a moderator and two comics who will debate contentious pop culture topics and take questions and comments from viewers, who are encouraged to send them to the site throughout the day.

Film Movement acquires Cannes winners

Indie distributor Film Movement has nabbed North American rights to two features that won prizes at the 2006 Festival de Cannes: Jens Lien's "The Bothersome Man" and Francisco Vargas' "The Violin." Lien's portrait of a suicidal office worker won the director-juried ACID Award, and Vargas' tale of an elderly musician won Un Certain Regard best actor honors for Don Angel Tavira. Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein negotiated the "Bothersome" deal with Thorsten Schaumann and Stefanie Zeitler of Bavaria Film International and the "Violin" deal with Emilie Georges of Memento Films International.

Aiello to head Hong Kong b'caster Star

BEIJING — Star, News Corp.'s Hong Kong-based pan-Asian television broadcaster, has appointed investment banker Paul Aiello as its new CEO. He replaces Michelle Guthrie, who is resigning after six years with the company, which broadcasts to more than 60 television services in nine languages to more than 300 million viewers across Asia. Guthrie will leave the Hong Kong-based company March 1; Star gave no reason for her departure. Aiello joined Star in June as a business strategist.