news digest


'Rachael Ray' still cooking

Syndicated talk show "Rachael Ray" remained the top rookie strip despite showing a week-over-week decrease, while "CSI: Miami" again led the weekend newcomers during the week ending Oct. 8. "Rachael Ray" dropped 5% for the seven-day frame to average a 2.0 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, during a week that saw several pre- emptions because of Major League Baseball playoffs. In weekend broadcast syndication, "CSI: Miami" jumped 5% to average a 4.6, keeping its ranking as the No. 1 weekly hour drama.

WBDTD ups Meril to exec vp

Rick Meril has been promoted to executive vp and general sales manager at Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, overseeing the distribution sales activities for the company's first-run and off-network properties. Meril, who has served as senior vp since joining the company in 1999, will oversee the distribution sales activities for product from Warner Bros. Television, Telepictures Prods. and Warner Horizon Television and feature films from Warner Bros. Pictures and the Turner Entertainment library, which includes classic MGM and RKO feature films.

Amazon adds Showtime to Unbox service

Amazon has added Showtime programming to its Amazon Unbox digital video service lineup, the company said Wednesday. Digital downloads of "Dave Chappelle: For What It's Worth" will be available as well as episodes from "The L Word," "Weeds," "Sleeper Cell," "Fat Actress," "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" and "Free for All." To promote the programming, customers will be offered Showtime's pilot of "Dexter" for 1 cent until Wednesday.

Woodstock, Mill Valley set audience nods

The audience awards at the Woodstock Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday in Woodstock, N.Y., resulted in a pair of ties. The award for best narrative feature went to Susanne Bier's "After the Wedding" and Udi Aloni's "Forgiveness," and the award for best documentary feature went to Barbara Kopple's "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing" and Rachel Libert's "Beyond Conviction." The audiences at the Mill Valley Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday in California, were more decisive, voting awards to Phillip Noyce's "Catch a Fire" as best dramatic feature, Amy Berg's "Deliver Us From Evil" as best feature-length docu and Wolfgang Murnberger's "Lapislazuli: In the Eye of the Bear" as best children's film.

Dees enters Asylum as development boss

Christy Dees, former development executive at FX and Original Prods., has joined Asylum Entertainment as its top development exec. Dees, who will serve as vp development, was vp development and co-executive producer at Original, where she developed series for MTV, VH1, A&E, FX and Spike TV, among others.

Regent, Here! adding to LGBT archive

Regent Media and Here! Networks are donating more than 40 feature films and television programs to Outfest's Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation. The gay and lesbian entertainment archival program will add such titles as Bill Condon's "Gods and Monsters" and Franco Zeffirelli's "Callas Forever" to its collection.
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