news digest


Daytona revs Fox, but ABC takes Sun.

NEWTON, Mass. — The Daytona 500 proved to be a pole-to-pole winner for Fox Sports, giving one of NASCAR's premier races its fifth-best ratings and viewership ever. At least 17.5 million viewers tuned in for the race Sunday, according to preliminary data released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. Meanwhile, ABC's "Desperate Housewives" (18.3 million viewers, 6.9 rating/16 share) led ABC to a primetime win in viewership and the adults 18-49 demographic. The network also won at 8 p.m. with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (14.2 million, 5.4/14) and at 10 p.m. with "Brothers & Sisters" (11.8 million, 4.6 /12).

Zahn on 'Cleaning' crew

NEW YORK — Steven Zahn has been cast opposite Amy Adams, Alan Arkin and Emily Blunt in Christine Jeffs' dark comedy "Sunshine Cleaning." Zahn ("Sahara," "Rescue Dawn") plays Mac, a married police officer having an affair with Rose Lorkowski (Adams), the co-owner of a firm that cleans up messy crime scenes. Arkin and Blunt will play Rose's relatives and partners in the family business. Principal photography began Friday on "Cleaning," which is set and being filmed in New Mexico.

Sondheim's 'George' tops Olivier nods

LONDON — In a year when the West End was brimming with song and dance, the Menier Chocolate Factory's revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park With George" was named outstanding musical production Sunday at the Laurence Olivier Awards. The show, which transferred last year from the Menier's small stage for a hit run at Wyndham's Theatre, won four other Oliviers — the British equivalent of Broadway's Tony Awards — including Daniel Evans as best actor in a musical and Jenna Russell as best actress in a musical. A complete list of winners can be found at

Goeckner counseling for good at MPAA

The MPAA has appointed acting general counsel Gregory Goeckner as executive vp-general counsel. Goeckner, who was promoted to the permanent leadership role Friday, joined the MPAA's legal team in 1994. He will continue to provide legal advice and coordinate the MPAA's legal services while helping to coordinate international and domestic litigation, copyright, ancillary rights, antitrust, legislation, new technology legal issues and compliance with government regulations.

Rabhan, Dill, Turner launch Three Ring

Industry veterans Jeff Rabhan, Stuart Dill and Cal Turner III have launched Three Ring Projects, an entertainment company with a management roster that includes the Wreckers, Jermaine Dupri, Kelis and "American Idol's" Elliott Yamin. The company is based in Los Angeles and Nashville. Rabhan has spent five years as partner in the Firm, Dill is president and co-founder of Refugee Management International, and Turner owns Cal IV Publishing and is a co-owner of Refugee Management and Dualtone Records.

AOL's Swad exiting for private-equity firm

Steve Swad, the CFO at Time Warner's AOL, will join a private-equity firm, becoming the latest senior manager to leave the Internet company as it tries to transform itself into an online advertising conduit. In an internal memo, CEO Randy Falco said Swad will stay with the company until a replacement is in place, and he described the decision as voluntary and personal. Falco did not name the firm Swad will join.