news digest


Timberlake, Beyonce lead VMA noms

NEW YORK — Beyonce and Justin Timberlake lead the nominations for the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards announced Tuesday with seven each. The artists will square off in the video of the year category, with their songs "Irreplaceable" and "What Goes Around … Comes Around," respectively, competing against Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," Justice's "Dance," Kanye West's "Stronger" and Rihanna's "Umbrella" featuring Jay-Z. Other top nominees include West and Rihanna with five each and Winehouse with three. For new video music artist, Winehouse goes up against Carrie Underwood, Gym Class Heroes, Lily Allen and Swedish indie rock act Peter Bjorn and John. The VMAs are set for Sept. 9 at the Las Vegas Palms Casino Resort.

'Promises,' 'Flawless' thrill Spanish fest

MADRID — A pair of thrillers from two internationally acclaimed directors — David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises" and Michael Radford's "Flawless" — will bookend the 55th annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, organizers said Tuesday. Cronenberg's "Promises," his follow-up to "A History of Violence," will open the festival's main competition. It is set in London's organized crime world and stars Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. "Flawless," a diamond heist story starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine, will close the festival in an out-of-competition slot. San Sebastian runs Sept. 20-29.

Focus ups Meyers to exec vp biz affairs

NEW YORK — Focus Features has promoted Howard Meyers to executive vp business affairs. The exec, who was senior vp business affairs, will head the department with Avy Eschenasy, executive vp strategic planning, business affairs and acquisitions. Both will be based in the company's Universal City offices.

Kim in business with Discovery

Clara Kim has been named executive vp at Discovery Communications, where she will oversee the development of the network's business affairs and production management strategies. Previously at Viacom, Kim will oversee programming acquisitions for Discovery as well as its digital platforms.

Pacifica gets credit for Pa. studio

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell and Pacifica Ventures chairman and CFO Hal Katersky on Tuesday announced a new film studio to be built in one of three sites under consideration in the Delaware Valley. Pacifica, which operates the new Albuquerque Studios in Albuquerque, N.M., expects to invest about $75 million in the first phase of the project, which came to Pennsylvania because of recently enacted film tax credits.

Report: Media usage declines

NEW YORK — Consumers spent less time with media last year, marking the first decline in usage since 1997, according to a study released Tuesday by private-equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Consumers spent an average of 3,350 hours using media in 2006, a 0.5% drop from 2005, the study found. Cited as a major factor: proliferation of "digital alternatives for news and entertainment.''