news digest


Wilson out of 'Tropic' film shoot

Owen Wilson, who was hospitalized Sunday, is no longer scheduled to appear in "Tropic Thunder," the DreamWorks/Red Hour Films production that is currently filming. According to sources close to the production, the ensemble comedy, which stars Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. and revolves around a group of actors who find themselves in the middle of a war, is in its sixth week of production under Ben Stiller's direction. Wilson, who had been cast in a supporting role involving a week's work, had not started shooting his part.

Canal Plus dives into Gallic talent pool

PARIS — French pay TV network Canal Plus wants its new fall season to be unusually fresh — and French. Canal Plus announced its lineup for the 2007-08 season at a news conference Tuesday in Paris, with network executive vp Rodolphe Belmer emphasizing French fiction and innovation. "Local fiction works better than American fiction,'' he said. Scheduled are 26-minute episodes of "Nos enfants cheris," a vaudeville comedy about thirtysomethings in crisis. Two new 52-minute series are "Scalpe," a "financial thriller," and "La commune," a reality show.

Latin America films have a reign in Spain

MADRID — Pablo Fendrik's "El Asaltante" and Enrique Fernandez and Cesar Charlone's "El Bano del Papa," two films in the official lineup at the Festival de Cannes, will screen with 16 others in the Horizontes selection of the 55th annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, organizers said Tuesday. Horizontes showcases films from throughout Latin America that have not been released in Spain. The festival's Films in Progress section is designed to help unfinished Latin American films with postproduction costs; 11 of the titles in the Horizontes were entries in that section.

Optimum, Weinstein to get 'Sicko' in U.K.

LONDON — U.K.-based indie distributor Optimum Releasing and the Weinstein Co. will partner on the U.K. theatrical rollout of Michael Moore's "Sicko," Optimum said Tuesday. Optimum, owned by Canal Plus, previously took U.K. distribution duties on Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," which went on to become the U.K.'s most successful documentary release.

NGS changes communications landscape

The National Geographic Society has announced a reorganization of its communications division, now headed by executive vp Betty Hudson. Hudson oversees strategic communications and public relations across NGS and its subsidiaries. As part of the restructuring, two new vps have been appointed: Ellen Stanley, communications and Ventures; Mimi Koumanelis vp communications and mission programs.

Kids' WB! welcomes 4 to Sat. block

Kids' WB! — the CW's Saturday morning kids programming block — kicks off its new lineup Sept. 22 with the American network debuts of "Eon Kid," "Magi-Nation," "Will & Dewitt" and "Skunk Fu!" The shows join returning series "The Batman," "Legion of Super-Heroes," "Tom and Jerry Tales," "Johnny Test" and "Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!" The block airs 7 a.m.-noon.