news digest


Ferran gives Regard to Cannes

PARIS — French helmer Pascale Ferran will chair the Un Certain Regard jury at May's 60th annual Festival de Cannes, organizers said Wednesday. Ferran's "Lady Chatterley" was an awards-season favorite this year, taking home five Cesar Awards, including best film, as well as France's prestigious Prix Louis-Delluc award. Ferran made her debut at the Cannes fest in 1990 with her short film "The Kiss," returned in 1992 as screenwriter for Arnaud Desplechin's In Competition title "The Sentinel" and took home the Camera d'Or Prize in 1994 for her first feature, "Coming to Terms With the Dead."

ABC's 'Notes' moving from Wed. to Thurs.

ABC has moved back the due date of the pregnancy comedy "Notes From the Underbelly," the network said Wednesday. In addition, Fox has moved up the premiere of the returning reality series "Hell's Kitchen." With Tuesday's announcement from Fox Broadcasting Co. that the Wednesday results edition of "American Idol" would expand to a full hour for three upcoming episodes beginning April 11, that would have hurt "Notes,' which was scheduled to premiere at 9:30 p.m. April 11 (HR 3/12). "Notes" now shifts to Thursdays, uprooting "Men in Trees," beginning April 12, when back-to-back episodes will air from 10-11 p.m. At Fox, "Kitchen" is moving its premiere date from June 25 to 9 p.m. June 4.

CBS unit taps pair to co-run biz, legal

Bruce Pottash and Jon Birkhahn have been named co-heads of legal and business affairs at CBS Television Distribution. Birkhahn has been promoted and Pottash has been tapped to share the executive vp legal and business affairs title at the distribution unit. They jointly will oversee all legal and business affairs for CTD, with Pottash based in Los Angeles and Birkhahn based in New York.

Tribeca gives writer prize, sets programs

NEW YORK — The Tribeca Film Institute announced the winner of the annual Tribeca/Sloan Screenplay Development Program, a special youth media student screening hosted by Whoopi Goldberg as well as the 20 participants in its third annual Film Fellows Program. The screenplay program award, presented with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support films with scientific themes and characters, was given to writer David Freeman for "A First Class Man." Meanwhile, Goldberg will host the opening of the student outreach event "Our City, My Story," on May 3, featuring films produced by New York youth; a series of their films will be screened the next night.

Dressler joins boardroom at Crown Media

Crown Media Holdings Inc., owner and operator of Hallmark Channel, said Wednesday that it has elected Fred Dressler, former executive vp programming at Time Warner Cable, to its board of directors. Dressler, a 30-year cable veteran, retired from Time Warner Cable at the end of 2006; he had headed the programming department since 1987.

'Bad Girls' spinoff a reality for Oxygen

Oxygen said Wednesday that it has ordered a six-episode spinoff of its top-rated reality series "The Bad Girls Club," from Bunim-Murray, along with a second season of the original show. The spinoff, "Bad Girls Road Trip," begins shooting this spring for a June debut. It will feature Season 1 housemates Leslie, Aimee and Zara as they meet each other's friends and family, visit the other "bad girls" in their hometowns and help cast the next season of the show.