news digest


Alliance complete for CanWest, Sachs

TORONTO — Canadian broadcaster CanWest Global Communications and equity partner Goldman Sachs & Co. on Wednesday completed their CAN$2.3 billion ($2 billion) takeover of Alliance Atlantis Communications. The deal was sealed late in the afternoon, with Goldman Sachs taking possession of Alliance Atlantis' 50% stake in the "CSI" TV franchise along with a 51% stake in indie Canadian movie producer Motion Picture Distribution Llp. In addition, Alliance Atlantis' 13 cable channels will be combined with CanWest Global's Global Television Network to create a new broadcast entity.

Hamm exec vp creative at Starz Media

William Hamm has been appointed to the newly created position of executive vp creative development at Starz Media. Hamm, who will be based at the company's Burbank offices, will be responsible for a team of creative development executives focusing on acquiring new projects for the feature film and new-media platforms. A 20-year industry veteran, Hamm most recently was executive vp television at Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures, where he oversaw the development of two series for Comcast's FearNet network: "Devil's Trade" and "30 Days of Night: Blood Trails."

Couper senior vp strategic ops at SPT

NEW YORK— Michael Couper has been named to the newly created position of senior vp strategic operations and mobile advertising at Sony Pictures Television. The appointment is aimed at helping SPT monetize mobile platforms and marks the next step in SPT developing a digital ad sales business. Previously vp business development at SPT, Couper will handle mobile advertising inventory sales and partnerships and build the company's mobile ad business. He also will identify and negotiate third-party advertising deals across multiple platforms, including linear, mobile, online and VOD.

The gift of 'Damages' for the U.K.

LONDON — The BBC and Hallmark Channel have acquired U.K. free and pay TV rights, respectively, to the Glenn Close-Ted Danson legal thriller "Damages," Sony Pictures Television International said Wednesday. The series will air on BBC1 beginning in early 2008 and then will be shown on the Sparrowhawk Media-owned Hallmark Channel in the U.K., said Danny Goldman, senior vp sales at London-based SPTI. Directed by Allen Coulter, the hourlong murder mystery airs in the U.S. on FX.

Logo adds DowneLink to online stable

MTV Networks' Logo said Wednesday that it will acquire, a multicultural lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender social networking site. The site will join Logo's other affiliated Web sites, including,,, and The acquisition is part of MTV Networks' continuing strategy to serve niche-oriented audiences online.

New title for Facebook's Van Natta

Facebook COO Owen Van Natta's title has changed to chief revenue officer and vp operations, according to published reports Wednesday. In addition to founder Mark Zuckerberg, Van Natta shares management ranks with former AOL executive Chamath Palihapitiya, vp marketing and operations; Matt Cohler, vp strategy and business operations; and newly appointed CFO Gideon Yu.