news digest


Celebs selected for 'Jury Duty'

Phyllis Diller, Ed Begley Jr., Bruce Vilanch, Paula Poundstone, Kevin Sorbo, Scott Hamilton, Dick Van Patten and Tiffany are among the celebrities set to take part in the upcoming syndicated court strip "Jury Duty," according to Radar Entertainment, the independent company headed by Vincent and Linda Dymon that is distributing and producing the show. "Jury Duty," which is presided over by Bruce Cutler, features celebrities serving as jury members. "Jury Duty," which is shooting at Dole Studios in Westlake Village, Calif., is cleared in 85% of the U.S. for its Sept. 17 launch.

Syndies can't resist show's 'Temptation'

New game show "Temptation" has added more stations to the lineup for its fall launch in syndication, boosting its clearance level to 96% of the U.S. The half-hour strip, from Twentieth Television and FremantleMedia North America, is now cleared in a total of 199 U.S. markets, including all of the top 30. "Temptation" already has been cleared on the 10 MyNetworkTV affiliates owned and operated by Fox Television Stations, including WWOR New York, KCOP Los Angeles and WPWR Chicago. Additional clearances include WTTA Tampa (MyNet affiliate), KCPQ Seattle (Fox), KMYQ Seattle (MyNet), WOIO Cleveland (CBS), KTVD Denver (MyNet), KPLR St. Louis (CW), XETV San Diego (Fox), WLFL Raleigh, N.C. (CW), KTVU San Francisco (Fox), WMYD Detroit (MyNet) and WSVN Miami (Fox).

'Blood' runs at Venice as closing film

ROME — The world premiere of "Blood Brothers," an action film set in 1930s-era Shanghai from director Alexi Tan, will be the closing film at the 64th annual Venice Film Festival, organizers said. While "Blood" is Tan's first feature-length film, the production will not lack for experience, with director John Woo and producer Terence Chang on board as co-producers. The film is based on Woo's 1990 film "Bullet in the Head." The film will screen in Venice one day before it opens in Hong Kong. The Aug. 29- Sept. 8 festival opens with Joe Wright's "Atonement," based on Ian McEwan's Booker Prize-winning novel.

Weiner tours N.Y. stations in WGAE talks

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., toured the newsrooms of four New York radio stations Friday in connection with his inquiry into long-stalled contract negotiations between the WGA East and two broadcast networks. For more than two years, the guild has had 500 TV and radio newswriters and others working under terms of an expired contract with CBS in four markets, and about 250 of its news professionals are working under an expired pact with ABC in two markets. The WGAE has been lobbying elected officials in the markets to help apply pressure on the networks in working through pay and workplace issues.

Ripple lands $10 mil in funding

Ripple Networks has secured $10 million in a Series B funding round led by venture-capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the company is set to announce today. Ripple, which is deploying a nationwide out-of-home digital media network, also said that it has struck an agreement with Jack in the Box to put news, entertainment, weather and sports on screens in about 2,000 restaurants. Ripple, founded in 2004, uses streamed content from such partners as ESPN, E! Entertainment, Yahoo, CBS and MSNBC.

'Amadeus' set for special screening

"Amadeus" director Milos Forman will reunite with stars F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce and Christine Ebersole to host an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "Monday Nights With Oscar" screening of their film. Production designer Patrizia Von Brandenstein also will be on hand for a postscreening discussion of the Mozart biopic, which won eight Academy Awards including best picture, best director and best actor (Abraham). The event is set for July 16 at the Academy Theater in New York.