news digest


Pubcasters, cablers ink carriage deal

WASHINGTON — Public broadcasters and a cable TV trade group on Wednesday announced a carriage deal that will allow about 8 million subscribers to receive PBS' digital programming for the next decade. The three-way deal among the Association of Public Television Stations, PBS and the American Cable Assn. comes after a similar deal was signed two years ago with the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn. The pair of deals mean that cable TV subscribers will have access to PBS digital offerings after the nation switches over to digital transmissions on Feb. 18, 2009.

Summit Entertainment names 3 execs

NEW YORK — Geoff Shaevitz will serve as senior vp production and Michael Schaefer as vp acquisitions at the new indie studio Summit Entertainment. Each exec will report to production president Erik Feig, who also promoted assistant Gillian Bohrer to creative executive.

'Rings' actor seeks profits

Lawrence Makoare, who appeared in the "Lord of the Rings" movies as the Witchking and other characters, is suing for a share of merchandising profits related to the film trilogy. An attorney representing the New Zealand actor filed suit late Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking 5% of "net merchandising revenue" from the movies. The suit is the latest naming "Rings" distributor New Line Cinema as a defendant and seeking additional compensation. Director Peter Jackson's suit, still pending, asks for tens of millions related to ancillary revenue.

Bright day at Insignia

PR and marketing firm Insignia has upped Erik Bright to vp and partner. The six-year veteran of the Beverly Hills-based agency will continue to head the company's film and TV production publicity division as well as manage and oversee the media strategies for many of the company's production company, corporate, special events and consumer brand clients. He will report to CEO and president Eddie Michaels.

'Ink' debut paints pretty picture for TLC

TLC drew big numbers for the premiere of its new series "L.A. Ink." The show, starring tattoo artist Kat Von D of TLC's "Miami Ink" and the staff and clientele at her Los Angeles-based tattoo parlor, averaged 2.9 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to Nielsen Media Research. That makes "L.A. Ink" the most-watched series debut for the network since the January 2003 premiere of "What Not to Wear."

KCRW's live heritage catches BluWave

Universal Studios' BluWave Audio has come on board to preserve KCRW-FM's library of more than 1,200 exclusive live recordings from the station's studios that go back two decades. The live performances from the Santa Monica-based public radio station's studios are currently saved on digital audio tape. BluWave Audio will transfer them into high-quality digital files at its Universal Studios facility using the most advanced tools and techniques available to repair and archive audio tracks.