news digest


USTR urged to verify anti-piracy promises

WASHINGTON — The copyright industries are asking the federal government to take a Reaganesque approach to trade, telling the United States Trade Representative that the administration needs to trust but verify other nation's commitments to protect American intellectual property. In submissions Monday to USTR Susan Schwab, the motion picture, movie, computer games and other industries that depend on copyrighted works for their business said the government should ensure that U.S. trading partners live up to their commitments. Noting that the two biggest producers of stolen copyrighted works have made new or renewed commitments to stamping out piracy, the MPAA, RIAA and the International Intellectual Property Alliance told the USTR that the government shouldn't ease up on Russia and China based only on their promises.

NBC hires Barber for 'SNF,' 'Today'

NEW YORK — Retired New York Giants running back Tiki Barber will join NBC Universal's broadcast team, working for NBC's "Sunday Night Football in America" as an analyst and for NBC News as a correspondent on "Today." He will be introduced today at a news conference at 30 Rockefeller Center and start work on "Today" in April, not just on sports topics but on news as well. Barber has been a hot commodity in the TV world after he announced in October that he would retire; he also was courted by News Corp. and the Walt Disney Co.

Nielsen bows analysis from set-top boxes

NEW YORK — Nielsen Media Research said Monday that it will offer a new service of analysis centered on its TV set-top box data. Nielsen DigitalPlus, as the new service is called, also will use data and analysis from such other Nielsen companies as Nielsen Media Research's TV measurement, Nielsen Monitor Plus, A.C. Nielsen, Claritas, Spectra and BASES. The company said it will be working with MSOs and satellite companies on integration. Nielsen Media Research is owned by the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.

Witherspoon moves to CAA

Oscar-winning actress and Type A Films partner Reese Witherspoon has signed with CAA. The actress-producer, who is leaving Endeavor after a one-year relationship, will continue to be repped by Evelyn O'Neill at Management 360 and attorney Steve Warren. Witherspoon, who won an Oscar last year for her turn as June Carter in Fox 2000's "Walk the Line," next appears in "Penelope," which will be released April 6.

'Handkerchief' redo set with Hurt, Bello

Arthur Cohn is set to produce a remake of Yoji Yamada's 1977 film "Yellow Handkerchief." The new version will star William Hurt as an ex- convict recently released from prison for the accidental murder of another man, Maria Bello as his ex-wife and Eddie Redmayne as a teen he meets on a road trip. Udayan Prasad ("My Son the Fanatic") is directing the project, which will begin production next month in Louisiana.

Lionsgate sets 150 titles in iTunes deal

NEW YORK — Lionsgate is the latest film studio to join Apple Inc.'s iTunes service, the companies said Monday. The independent Hollywood studio will make 150 titles available on the Apple portal this month, including "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "Dirty Dancing." ITunes has more than 400 movies in its catalog, priced at $9.99 apiece.