news digest


B'buster chief questions '06 bonus payout

Blockbuster chairman and CEO John Antioco is disputing the size of his performance-based bonus for 2006, saying it is too small, the company said Tuesday. In January, the company's board of directors awarded Antioco a bonus of $2.28 million on top of salary and deferred compensation of about $2.5 million, but the CEO said that, under the company's bonus plan, his award should be $7.65 million. The board also ruled that Antioco will get no bonus if he contests the amount but is reserving $4.5 million as a contingency. Blockbuster's fourth-quarter results, also announced Tuesday, beat Wall Street expectations, with net income of $12.9 million on $1.5 billion in revenue.

Getty Images snaps up Ochs library

Getty Images, which serves as The Hollywood Reporter's primary provider of photography, has acquired the Michael Ochs Archives, a renowned collection of music and entertainment imagery spanning a half-century. Founded by Michael Ochs, brother of the late folk singer Phil Ochs, the collection includes photos taken by James Kriegsmann, the house photographer for the Cotton Club, who shot some of the first photos of Frank Sinatra; Don Paulsen, whose backstage access at the Apollo Theater enabled him to photograph many Motown legends; and Earl Leaf, who shot Marilyn Monroe throughout her career.

Immelt, Wright salaries top $17 mil at GE

General Electric Co. chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt received about $17.86 million in total compensation in 2006, including a $5 million bonus, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. Robert Wright, GE vice chairman, and until the appointment of Jeff Zucker, the CEO of the conglomerate's NBC Universal entertainment unit, received $17.82 million in total compensation, with $2.5 million in salary and $6.9 million in bonus, according to the proxy filing. Immelt's pay included a $3.3 million salary, $7.4 million in stock awards and $574,322 in option awards, it said.

Pitts takes lead urban role at Zomba

Mark Pitts has been named president of urban music at Zomba Label Group, where he will continue to identify new talent while supervising the artistic and commercial development of Zomba's urban artists. He will remain based in Zomba's New York office, working closely with ZLG president and CEO Barry Weiss and Peter Thea, senior vp U.S. record labels. Pitts had been senior vp for Zomba Label Group, which he joined in 2004.

New Blueprint: Pair add cash to grow prod'n

TV production company Blueprint Entertainment said Tuesday that Alliance Communications founder Robert Lantos and ex-Paxson Communications CEO Jeff Sagansky have made a multimillion-dollar strategic investment in the Canadian company, which "plans to use the proceeds to help continue its global expansion and significantly grow its volume of production." As a result, Blueprint co-founder John Morayniss will assume the role of chairman and CEO, and co-founder Noreen Halpern will serve as president. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Amp'd goes 'Hollywood' for new series

Mobile entertainment company Amp'd Mobile launched its second made-for-mobile series Tuesday. Dubbed "Lil' Hollywood," the animated parody series follows the pint-sized adventures of Hollywood's hottest celebs and is the creation of "The Simpsons" writer Donick Carey. The series will feature a new episode each week for the next six weeks on Amp'd Live.