news digest


Wanted: producers with MySpace buzz

The Producers Guild of America on Thursday announced an exclusive partnership with MySpace and Fox Broadcasting to recruit aspiring producers to create five- to seven-minute mini-TV pilots. Those entering "The Storyteller Challenge" can post videos on the Web site beginning Sept. 4 and compete for a pair of $25,000 awards and development deals with Fox. MySpace users will vote for their favorite videos and interact with video creators, suggesting plot lines and offering critiques of the posted material. Six finalists will be narrowed over two rounds by an expert panel of judges and announced Jan. 6. They will pitch judges on series ideas, and two winners will be announced Jan. 25. Fox and MySpace are owned by News Corp.

Beers changes Lifetime relationship

Lifetime senior vp original movies Libby Beers is exiting the network. Beers, who has been at Lifetime since 1999, is segueing into a role as creative consultant/producer on the network's original movies, which tend to perform well for the channel. Lifetime president of entertainment Susanne Daniels praised Beers. "I'm very happy that Libby is going to remain an essential member of the team as a consultant.'' No reason was given for Beers' departure from her senior vp role, but sources said Daniels is looking for an executive with a dealmaking background.

Second Life spreads MIPCOM word

LONDON — MIPCOM organizers have gone into the virtual world of Second Life to promote this year's MIPCOM Mobile and Internet TV Awards, to be announced at a gala event at this year's MIPCOM sales market, Oct. 8-12. Second Life inhabitants can find out information about the awards in the 3-D virtual world that allows users to create identities and communities. The Oct. 10 awards recognize best drama, comedy, lifestyle-entertainment, factual and user-generated content. The final deadline for entry is Monday.

Grant exec vp in BBC news revamp

NEW YORK — BBC Worldwide America said Thursday that it has named Michele Grant executive vp news and sports in a revamping of the channel's news coverage. Grant was senior vp global news development at BBC News in the U.S. The channel said she will work closely with Rome Hartman, the former CBS News exec who is executive producer of the soon-to-be-nightly newscast for BBC World News and BBC America.

Coming soon: 'Heroes' action figures

Universal Studios Consumer Products has announced the first licensing partners tapped to create merchandise based on NBC's hit series "Heroes." DC Comics, Random House, Mezco Toyz and Topps are among the licensees who will develop trading cards, apparel, stationery/social expression products and action figures based on the show. Items will begin to appear in stores in time for the Season 2 premiere Sept. 24.

Nulman joins Samma as vp sales

Barry Nulman has joined Samma Systems as vp sales operations for the Southwest region. A 20-year industry veteran, he most recently was COO of Matchframe Media Group. In some of his earlier positions, he supervised Avid Technology's market development in Hollywood. Samma Systems, a division of Media Matters Llc., manufactures products for automated migration of videotapes into the digital server environment.
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