news digest


NBC commits to BermanBraun projects

Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun's BermanBraun has landed two script commitments at NBC, one for a drama from "Prime Suspect" creator Lynda La Plante and one for a comedy from Jane Bussmann ("South Park"). Both projects, to be produced by Universal Media Studios, stem from BermanBraun's first-look deal with NBC Universal Television. La Plante will pen "Mafia Wives," which revolves around mob wives who take over the business. The untitled Bussmann project centers on a has-been hairdresser who raises his kids.

Tisdale snaps 'Picture'

Ashley Tisdale, a star player in both "High School Musical" movies on the Disney Channel, will star in "Picture This" for MGM's DVD Premiere unit. Tisdale will play Mandy, a high schooler who has caught the eye of the most popular boy in school. In the story, he invites her to his party, but there's one problem: Mandy's just been grounded. Stephen Herek will direct "Picture" from a script written by Temple Matthews. Brian Reilly and Patrick Hughes will produce. Production begins this week in Montreal.

NYFF looks at relevance of replicants NEW YORK — The New York Film Festival will present "The Future Is Now: 'Blade Runner' at 25," a discussion with the filmmakers behind the sci-fi classic set in 2019 Los Angeles. " 'Blade Runner' at 25," to be offered Sept. 29 with the North American premiere of Ridley Scott's new "definitive cut" of the 1982 Harrison Ford film, will include a panel of scholars discussing the cultural impact of the film. Still to be confirmed as guests are Scott and screenwriter Hampton Fancher.

Chiaro upped to 'Today' senior producer

NEW YORK — NBC News has promoted acting "Weekend Today" executive producer Amy Chiaro to a senior post at the weekday "Today." As senior broadcast producer of "Today," Chiaro will be responsible for segments and guide bookings as well as teases and other parts of the show. Chiaro had been acting executive producer of "Weekend Today" for nine months; NBC hasn't yet announced a replacement.

GM, Women in Film gain Traction

General Motors Corp. and Women in Film have launched Traction, an online magazine by and about women in the entertainment industry. The site,, will offer features about the entertainment industry, how-to articles that provide practical advice, a blog written by journalists Jessica Silver-Greenberg and AJ Strasser, reviews and statistical analysis and a discussion forum. The site will be supported by the WIF/GM Alliance, created to expand Women in Film chapter programs.

Ascent Media, HP team up for digital

Ascent Media Group and Hewlett-Packard have formed an alliance to co-develop, market and deliver services and technologies that enable clients including studios to archive and distribute media digitally for the multichannel market. AMG and HP will co-develop a service platform and provide consultation. The announcement formalizes the companies' three-year collaboration through which they have serviced such customers as Sony Pictures Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.