news digest


'Beijing' could be opener at Hong Kong

BEIJING — Director Li Yu's "Lost in Beijing" will open the Hong Kong International Film Festival in March, its producer and mainland China distributor said Wednesday, though a festival spokesman said that more than eight films are in the running for the opening spot and that the official roster wouldn't be unveiled until Feb. 22. "We don't want to comment on this particular claim," festival executive director Peter Tsi said. "If we do, it will only benefit the film commercially, and the HKIFF refuses to be manipulated in that manner." The announcement follows a demand this week by government censors that Li cut 15 minutes from her film before it goes overseas or screens on the mainland.

Petty on track for TNT gig

NEW YORK — NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will join TNT's Nextel Cup series coverage in June and July, including one event where he will drive and analyze a race in Sonoma, Calif., at the same time. Petty, the son of NASCAR legend Richard Petty and an active driver on the pro stock car circuit, will take a five-week break to work for TNT beginning June 10 at the Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

'O.C.,' 'Tree' set for SoapNet

"The O.C." and "One Tree Hill" have found a cable home on SoapNet. The network has acquired cable rerun rights to all four seasons of both series from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution, which translates to 88 episodes of "Tree" and 92 episodes of "O.C." SoapNet is planning to air the shows as strips starting April 9, with "Tree" airing at 5 p.m. and "O.C." at 6 p.m.

Ticketmaster, iTunes pact for a song

NASHVILLE — Beginning in the summer, Ticketmaster will offer a free song on iTunes with every concert ticket purchased on Additionally, music fans who preorder select digital albums on iTunes can participate in a presale whereby they can purchase that artists' concert tickets on before they go on sale to the general public. Last year, iTunes users who preordered new albums from Bob Dylan and Red Hot Chili Peppers on had the first chance to purchase tickets on

PBS leads kids' Emmy noms with 18

NEW YORK — PBS led the field vying for Daytime Emmy Awards in children's programming with 18 nominations, while Discovery Kids received 15. The nominations were announced Wednesday during the Kidscreen Summit at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers here. PBS and Discovery Kids were the only media to receive double-digit nominations. Nickelodeon was in third place with three nominations, followed by two for Discovery Channel. The Children's Emmys will be handed out June 15 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.

PBS preps Spanish-language net

In a move to take public broadcasting closer to Spanish-speaking viewers, executives are expected to announce today that a new network, V-me, will go on the air March 5 in major U.S. cities with large Latino populations, offering a mix of Spanish-language children's and adult programming with an educational focus. The digital network is an unusual public-private partnership forged among the Educational Broadcasting Corp., investment firm the Baeza Group and venture capital firm Syncom Funds. An initial 18 public television stations have agreed to carry the programming on the spinoff channels that are the results of their conversion to a digital signal.