news digest


Warner spreads 'Secret' via VOD, PPV

The Secret Prods. has partnered with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution to deliver the best-selling self-help film "The Secret" through VOD and PPV starting Aug. 31. The deal gives access to the film to cable operators across the U.S. and Canada as well as such other providers as DirecTV, AT&T and certain hotel chains. "Secret" was written and produced by Rhonda Byrne; it was released in March 2006 as a Web-based, pay-per-stream film and DVD. The book has sold more than 6 million copies.

Estrin leaves AFI to consult, finish play

The American Film Institute's executive vp Jonathan Estrin is leaving Sept. 28 after three years in the post. He will continue as a consultant for AFI. Estrin also will turn his focus to a stage play he is writing for Participant Prods. that takes a historic look at famous and lesser-known activists. During his tenure at AFI, Estrin helped design the AFI Dallas International Film Festival and oversaw the evolution of the AFI K-12 Screen Education Center into a national resource for public-school teachers.

Bensinger, DeKnight on 'Laughlin' map

Tyler Bensinger and Steven DeKnight have been upped to show- runner/executive producer status on CBS' upcoming drama "Viva Laughlin," sources said. There had been rumblings that the network and studios were going to bring in someone to run the show alongside executive producer Bob Lowry, who adapted the series based on BBC's "Viva Blackpool!" for the U.S. Bensinger and DeKnight were co-executive producers; Lowry is remaining on the show as an executive producer.

Kinepolis likes 3-D Digital Dolby

Dolby Laboratories said that the Kinepolis Group has selected the new Dolby 3-D Digital Cinema technology to outfit 17 screens throughout Europe. Kinepolis installed the first Dolby 3-D system in Europe. The Belgium-based exhibitor plans to convert one screen at most of its 23 cinema multiplexes. Dolby 3-D technology utilizes the white screen already in auditoriums, and the company provides reusable 3-D glasses.

Swerve swings into indie action

Swerve Festival — a new film, art and music festival celebrating West Coast creative culture — will run Sept. 28-30, screening three indie films at the Barnsdale Art Park in Hollywood. They are Doug Pray's documentary "Surfwise," Mike Hill's docu "The Man Who Souled the World" and Anton Corbijn's biopic "Control." Jonathan Wells serves as director of the fest, created by Fuel TV, which will telecast closing-night ceremonies Nov. 9.

MyNetworkTV adds glitz to jocks

A day after announcing the new pro football series "NFL Network: Total Access," MyNetworkTV said Thursday that it has scheduled two new celebrity-centered original series for Monday nights. The new series — "Celebrity Exposé," from the producers of "Access Hollywood," and the concert series "Control Room Presents" — are set to debut Oct. 1, taking the place of "IFL Battleground."