news digest


TNT renews 'Closer'

TNT has renewed "The Closer" for a fourth season. The cable network has ordered 15 episodes for Season 4 of the detective drama starring Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Kyra Sedgwick, set to begin next summer. "Closer" is a record-breaking hit drama for TNT, ranking as basic cable's most-watched series ever.

Tree people: Discovery gets green Web site

NEW YORK — Discovery Communications has acquired the eco-friendly Web site as part of its "Planet Green" initiative, the company said Wednesday. TreeHugger, which features news, blogs and advice on conservation and environmental issues, attracts 1.4 million monthly unique visitors, Discovery said. The site, founded in 2004, was acquired for $10 million, according to a published report, but "will not have a material impact on earnings in Year 1," Discovery said.

'Shrek' the fourth secures 2010 date

Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation have staked out May 21, 2010, as the release date for the fourth film in the "Shrek" franchise. Currently using the working title "The Next Shrek," the film becomes the first project to lay claim to a specific date in 2010 as it moves into the same mid-May position that "Shrek the Third" occupied this year, when it opened May 18, though such films as Warner Bros. Pictures' "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and Sony Pictures' 23rd James Bond movie also are aiming for 2010.

'Simpsons' goes primetime in Germany

BERLIN — German channel ProSieben is putting the long-running animated series "The Simpsons" into primetime for the first time in the territory. The move is partly designed to capitalize on the success of 20th Century Fox's feature "The Simpsons Movie," which opened at No. 1 last week in Germany, grossing more than €10 million ($13.6 million) in its first weekend. But ProSieben also is desperate for a primetime hit. "Simpsons" will move into the slot occupied by sci-fi series "The 4400," which has been a ratings flop here. Starting on Monday and for the next three weeks, ProSieben will air back-to-back "Simpsons" episodes in primetime. "Simpsons" has been a regular feature on ProSieben since the start of the series, but the cartoon sitcom has always been in daytime slots.

Cheung vp animation at Imagi Int'l

HONG KONG — DreamWorks veteran Tim Cheung is joining Hong Kong company Imagi International Holdings Ltd., which animated "TMNT," as vp animation, the company said Wednesday. At Imagi, Cheung will manage a team of more than 400 animators and oversee the animation for all of its upcoming CGI features, including "Astroboy" and "Gatchaman," the latter to be directed by "TMNT's" Kevin Munroe. Both are set for release in 2009.

Kim develops vp gig at Mark Gordon Co.

Jae Kim has been upped to vp TV development and production at the Mark Gordon Co., which has five series on the air, including ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and its upcoming spinoff, "Private Practice." Kim, who reports to president of television Deborah Spera, has been instrumental in the development and production of the company's "Army Wives" for Lifetime.