news digest


Charter shares rise on Q4 forecast

NEW YORK — Shares of Charter Communications rose Friday after the firm forecast solid fourth-quarter revenue growth and a refinancing and expansion of a credit line. St. Louis-based Charter said its preliminary numbers show that fourth-quarter revenue rose 9.8%, or 11.7% when adjusted for sold or acquired cable systems, to $1.4 billion. Full-year 2006 revenue increased 9.4%, or 10% on an adjusted basis, to about $5.5 billion. The company said revenue growth was helped by the continued success of its bundled offers. Charter will report final figures, including bottom line results, on Feb. 28.

Cartoon Net GM exits after fiasco

NEW YORK — Cartoon Network GM Jim Samples has resigned, taking responsibility for the marketing fiasco that put the city of Boston on edge two weeks ago and cost Turner Broadcasting System $2 million. Until a new executive vp and GM is named, Cartoon Network executives will report to Turner Entertainment Group president Mark Lazarus. Samples apparently is the only Turner executive to leave as a result of the incident, when a guerrilla marketing campaign for "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" conducted by Adult Swim and Interference Inc. went awry and led to a terror alert. Turner said Friday that no one else has been fired or resigned, and wouldn't be.

Odd Lot adds Lischak as its finance topper

Odd Lot Entertainment has hired former First Look Studios topper William Lischak as COO. The 6-year-old indie production and financing company founded by Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete also has upped Linda McDonough to executive vp production and development. The shingle, which recently moved its offices to Culver City, has hired Natalya Petrosova as vp finance, Eryl Woodlief as vp development and acquisitions, Delphine Perrier as director of legal affairs, contract administration and collections and Michael Urann as sales, marketing and acquisitions coordinator for foreign sales division Odd Lot International.

SAG plans under way for 75th anniversary

SAG has announced the formation of a "75th anniversary task force," featuring several previous presidents of the guild, to plan anniversary celebrations for next year. "All of the guild's presidents have been integral parts of building this union," SAG president Alan Rosenberg said. The task force comprises Ed Asner, Patty Duke, Melissa Gilbert, Barry Gordon, Richard Masur, Kathleen Nolan, William Schallert and Rosenberg, with Nolan chairing. Former presidents William Daniels, John Gavin and Charlton Heston also have agreed to lend their names to the 75th anniversary salute.

Snyder cooks deal for Johnny Rockets

Six Flags and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said Friday that he has agreed to acquire 1950s-style diner chain Johnny Rockets for undisclosed financial terms. Snyder's investment vehicle RedZone Capital Fund II will buy the Lake Forest, Calif.-based firm, which operates more than 200 restaurants in the U.S. Last year, Snyder also agreed to bankroll Tom Cruise's production company.

'Days' leads Nielsen-charged soap ratings

College girls love their soaps. During the week ending Feb. 4, the first week in which Nielsen Media Research included extended home college viewing in its daytime ratings, all daytime dramas posted double-digit increases from the previous week in the key women 18-34 demographic. Leading the pack is NBC's "Days of Our Lives," which posted 1.8 rating in the demo, up 20% from the week before.