news digest


Early exit for O'Donnell from ABC's 'View'

NEW YORK — Days after an on-air blowup with co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck, ABC said that Rosie O'Donnell will be leaving "The View" earlier than expected. O'Donnell no longer will appear on the morning talkfest, Disney-ABC Daytime Television Group president Brian Frons said Friday. She was scheduled to appear on Monday's "View" as it was a taped episode; today's live episode won't feature her. "We had hoped that Rosie would be with us until the end of her contract three weeks from now, but Rosie has informed us that she would like an early leave," Frons said. "Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to 'The View' and wish her well."

MovieLabs gets technical via challenge

Motion Picture Laboratories, a nonprofit R&D organization started by the six major studios, is launching the MovieLabs Technology Open Challenge, which will provide grants to fund development of promising ideas that address technology hurdles. MovieLabs is seeking proposals in areas including remote multiformat transcoding, content transformation detection, improving theatrical projection screens and hiding of cryptographic keys. Awards range from $25,000-$100,000.

Uni Products gets help from Beanstalk

Universal Studios Consumer Products Group said that it has hired licensing consultancy the Beanstalk Group to further develop and manage select properties in its U.S. consumer products portfolio, including upcoming film releases, Universal Library retro classics and children's TV series. Universal's day-to-day licensing operations will remain under the direction and control of vp worldwide business development Cindy Chang and Debbie Luner, vp worldwide marketing and brand management.

Collet given helm of MCOF

Nancy Collet has been named artistic director at the Malibu Celebration of Film. She will work with MCOF executive director Kim Jackson to select films for screening at the Sept. 26-30 event. Collet joins MCOF from AFI Fest, where she began as programming coordinator in 1997 and was quickly upped to program manager. By 2000, Collet was director of programming and was responsible for selecting films and compiling programs for seven AFI editions.

Tribune withdraws paper sale to Gannett

Los Angeles Times parent company Tribune has ended plans to sell two Connecticut newspapers to Gannett after the deal ran into union contract snags. An arbitrator ruled last month that Gannett would have to assume an existing UAW contract as a condition of the sale. The media group, which also issued a progress report on a tender offer connected to Sam Zell's takeover, said it will look for another buyer for the papers.

Netflix CEO makes big sale

Netflix Inc. CEO Reed Hastings exercised 2,500 shares and sold 10,000 shares of common stock, according to a regulatory filing last week. Hastings reported that he exercised 2,500 options for $1.50 apiece and sold 10,000 shares for $23.07 apiece Thursday. The stock sale was conducted under a prearranged 10b5-1 trading plan that allows a company insider to set up a program in advance for such transactions and proceed with them even if he or she comes into possession of material nonpublic information.
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