news digest


Pair in 'Igor' lab

John Cusack and Sean Hayes have joined the voice cast of Exodus Film Group's CG- animated feature comedy "Igor." The Weinstein Co. will distribute the film, which is being directed by Tony Leondis. Cusack, who replaces Christian Slater on the project, will voice the title character of Igor, a gifted scientist who is born with a hunch on his back and is forced to serve a cruel scientist named Dr. Glickenstein. Hayes is voicing Brian the Brain, a brain in a jar who is one of Igor's sidekicks and inventions. The film is set for an Oct. 24, 2008, release.

Hill is back in lineup at Fox Sports

NEW YORK — David Hill is returning to his former job running Fox Sports after a two-year sojourn at DirecTV. The stock swap removing News Corp.'s stake in DirecTV has led Hill back to Fox Sports as chairman and CEO, where he has been off and on since December 1993, when he founded the division. Hill left in March 2005 to become DirecTV's entertainment president but kept his hand in the network as chairman in an nonexecutive role while day-to-day operations were being run by Fox Sports president Ed Goren.

Kerry pitches sit-down for MLB, cablers

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won a commitment from Major League Baseball and the cable industry Tuesday for a last-ditch, face-to-face meeting aimed at resolving differences over baseball's Extra Innings premium package before Opening Day. Satellite TV leader DirecTV has exclusive rights to the out-of-market package, but baseball has offered competitors the chance to match that deal.

China focus planned for '08 Rome fest

ROME — The 2008 edition of the RomaCinemaFest will include a focus on China in honor of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the office of Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said Tuesday. Veltroni, in Beijing as part of a trade and culture mission, signed an agreement with city officials regarding the 2008 fest, which will include a focus on films made in China and those featuring the country prominently.

NBC Sports, NHL skate through 2007-08

NEW YORK — NBC Sports has reached a one-year extension of its revenue-sharing agreement with the NHL through the 2007-08 season. Financial terms of the deal weren't announced, though the network and the NHL have shared ad revenue from its weekly game plus the Stanley Cup Finals since hockey returned last season. NBC also has a one-year option for another year that is the 2008-09 season. The new agreement brings the NFL idea of flexible scheduling to the deal.

Cohen tapped to play for Hometeam

Stephen Cohen has been named president of Inc., the company that produces the nationally syndicated "HomeTeam" TV program. During the past year, Cohen has been a consultant to "HomeTeam," which recently was renewed for a third season. Cohen has been a consultant in media startups from San Diego to China and was GM of Chris Craft's Salt Lake City outlet, KTVX, and news director of Los Angeles' KCOP; a founder of Court TV; and a longtime executive with the CBS O&Os.