news digest


Highs and lows for Telecom Italia

ROME — Telecom Italia named a new chairman Tuesday, the same day U.S. telecom giant AT&T said it was no longer interested in acquiring control of the former state monopoly and Italian media mogul and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reversed course and said he was interested. The appointment of Pasquale Pistorio, the former CEO of Franco-Italian STMicroelectronics, is the latest development in the soap opera involving Europe's fourth-largest telecommunications company.

Madrid sets high bar for inaugural fest

MADRID — The inaugural CIM Madrid International Film Festival will run March 28-April 5, organizers said Tuesday as they took the wraps off what they hope to be Europe's newest high-profile film festival. Organized by the CIM & ART Foundation and backed by the Madrid municipal government, the festival will screen about 20 films across three main sections: an official section, with 10 films; Filma Madrid, with five titles; and Opera Prima, also five.

Underwood takes top honors at CMT awards

NASHVILLE — Carrie Underwood was the big winner at the 2007 CMT Music Awards, taking home video of the year and female awards for "Before He Cheats." The former award was voted on by fans during the show. Roman White, who directed the video, took director of the year honors. Kris Kristofferson was presented the Johnny Cash Visionary Award. Kenny Chesney took home a "buckle" — as the awards are known — with male honors for "You Save Me." The fan-voted awards were held Monday in Nashville. Rascal Flatts won group video of the year for "What Hurts the Most," one of two videos they had in the category.

New Yorker votes for Sanjaya on CNBC

NEW YORK — CNBC reporter Mary Thompson on Tuesday was reporting live about Citibank in front of Carnegie Hall on West 57th Street when an unidentified man with a cap came up and shouted the name of Sanjaya Malakar, the "American Idol" contestant who has kept making the cut and is the subject of an on-air campaign by Sirius Satellite Radio host Howard Stern. "Is this about Sanjaya?" the man asked Thompson on-camera. Thompson said no, whereby the man said he was going to vote for him on the Fox reality show. Another staffer pulled the man away, and the network switched back to the CNBC's studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Anchor Sue Herera said that Thompson is a New Yorker and knows how to handle situations like that.

Odenkirk comes up short for Turner

Turner Broadcasting's new comedy broadband network, Super Deluxe, has signed Bob Odenkirk ("Mr. Show") to produce a 12-episode shortform original series. Beginning May 16, "Derek & Simon: The Show" chronicles the hapless efforts of real-life friends Derek Waters and Simon Helberg to woo women in Hollywood. Super Deluxe is a mix of professional- and user-generated content.

Squar directs NBC Uni brand integration

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has appointed Ariana Squar to the newly created position of director of brand integration. Squar's responsibilities will include developing multifaceted on-air and online product and brand integrations for NBC Uni Television Distribution's properties, bringing media sales and creative production together at the inception of story lines or show formats. Squar will be the first person at the NBC Uni division dedicated to branded entertainment. She will report to Barbara "Bo" Argentino, senior vp advertising and media sales.