news digest


West to control finances for Nielsen Co.

The Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter, said Friday that it has hired former General Electric executive Brian West as CFO. West will take the place of Rob Ruijter, who was CFO through the company's transition from VNU to the Nielsen Co. Ruijter will return to the Netherlands, and will work for Nielsen as an executive adviser to the supervisory board and a member of the executive board. West spent 16 years in financial management at GE, most recently as CFO of GE Aviation, Infrastructure. Nielsen Co. CEO David Calhoun, who also used to work at GE, said: "Brian's leadership and drive are outstanding, and I know he is up to the challenge of building a world-class finance organization for our company."

TW to pay $405 mil in AOL settlements

Time Warner Inc. reached agreements this month to pay $405 million to settle lawsuits brought by shareholders about previous accounting problems at the company's AOL unit, the world's largest media conglomerate said in a regulatory filing Friday. The deals were with shareholders who opted out of a previous settlement. TW said other lawsuits remain, with plaintiffs claiming about $3 billion in damages with interest. The company has taken legal reserves in anticipation of such settlements.

'Truth' update set for Showtime

Showtime said Friday that it will air a special update to the Oscar-

nominated documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" immediately after the film's world TV premiere, which has been scheduled for 8-10 p.m. March 11. The docu, featuring Al Gore on a quest to educate the public on global warming, was nominated for two Oscars: best documentary feature and best original song for Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up." The special, produced last year as a follow-up to the film's release, features Gore further discussing the ways in which the global warming problem has grown while offering practical ways to confront it.

Yahoo! shareholder submits plan

Eric Jackson, a minor Yahoo! Inc. shareholder who has been leading an online effort to organize dissident investors, submitted the group's strategic "Plan B" for the company while also nominating himself to the board. Jackson and his group — who together own 911,666 Yahoo! shares worth about $29 million — propose, among other measures, that CEO and chairman Terry Semel and six other directors be replaced, Yahoo!'s media group be shut down and a cash dividend be paid to shareholders.

Hallmark updates channel, Web site

Hallmark Channel is set to introduce Thursday a new on-air look and campaign with the new tagline "Make Yourself at Home" — intended to "reinforce the network's reputation as a destination for quality, family-friendly programming where viewers can get comfortable and tune in for great stories." The new on-air campaign, which will be seen in every daypart, will include new music, graphics and colors, with an emphasis on the letter "H," representing such words as "happy," "humorous" and "home." This marks the first time since the channel's launch in 2001 that Hallmark has done an extensive revamping of its on-air image and consumer site.

Take-Two uncovers more backdating

Video game maker Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said in a regulatory filing Friday that it has determined that five independent directors received improperly dated stock options. It said an agreement calls for the directors to repay to the company any after-tax gains made from these options, Take-Two said. Former Take-Two CEO Ryan Brant pleaded guilty this month to criminal charges related to backdating of stock options.