news digest


USA cleans up with 'Wife' bow

USA's limited series "The Starter Wife" got off to a good start at 9-11 p.m. Thursday, drawing 5.4 million total viewers. In the key adult demographics, "Wife" averaged 2.9 million adults 18-49 and 2.8 million adults 25-54, making it cable's biggest original scripted series telecast of the year to date and the No. 1 entertainment program of the night. "Wife," starring Debra Messing, also gave USA its best Thursday primetime performance ever among the demos and was the network's biggest original series launch in 18-49 since the premiere of "The 4400" three years ago.

IFPI wants EU to help stop China's piracy

BRUSSELS — The IFPI is calling on the European Union to add its weight to the World Trade Organization challenge against Beijing to reduce China's piracy rates. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's discourse comes as European Commission figures reveal that China accounted for 93% of all pirate discs seized by European customs officials. "These statistics underscore the urgent need for the EU to step up pressure on China before the WTO. China is producing and exporting millions of pirate products around the world. This has to stop," IFPI regional director for Europe Frances Moore said Friday.

Dutch 'Donor' a hoax to raise awareness

AMSTERDAM — Dutch pubcaster BNN considers its media stunt with the fake "Great Donor Show," which aired Friday in the Netherlands, a successful mission. In the reality-style program, a 37-year-old terminally ill patient was supposed to donate a kidney to one of three contestants in need of a transplant. Shortly before the ending, it was announced that the show was a hoax designed to draw attention to the lack of donors in the country. About 18,000 viewers registered during the program as donors, and that number is growing. About 1.7 million people watched the program, making it one of the best-viewed programs in BNN history. Chairman Laurens Drillich said that the program, dedicated to BNN founder Bart de Graaff, who died of kidney failure in 2001, has fulfilled its objective of drawing worldwide attention to donorship.

Projectionists picket at revamped Landmark

Several members of IATSE Local 150, which represents union projectionists, staged informational pickets outside Westside Los Angeles' newly refurbished Landmark Theatres on Friday. Business agent Carl Belfor said the union seeks to organize one or more projectionist jobs at the multiplex, which reopened this weekend after an extensive makeover. Local 150 has collective bargaining agreements in place at most other city cinemas, Belfor said, including the newly organized ArcLight Cinemas, operated by Pacific Theaters in Hollywood.

Retirement lands partner for special report

Retirement Living TV, the cable network created for people age 55 and over, said last week that it is joining up with U.S. News & World Report to host a weeklong special series on low-cost places to retire. The segments will coincide with the magazine's June 11 issue featuring a retirement guide and will begin airing today on "Living Live!" the show hosted by Florence Henderson and Meshach Taylor that airs at noon ET.

ABC places 'Wanna Bet?'

ABC has picked up reality pilot "Wanna Bet?" to series with a five-episode order for next season. Based on a German format, "Wanna Bet?" from the Gurin Co. is a variety show with gambling elements. The show is hosted by popular British TV hosting duo Anthony McPartlin and Decan Donnelly, known in the U.K. as Ant and Dec.