news digest


Five set for Kennedy Center Honors

Director Martin Scorsese, pianist Leon Fleisher, actor-writer Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross and songwriter Brian Wilson have been selected as recipients of the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors, recognizing their lifetime contributions to American culture. They will be honored Dec. 2 at a special performance at Washington's Kennedy Center Opera House. The event, produced and co-written by George Stevens Jr., will be broadcast Dec. 26 on CBS.

Advertising dollars remain on wane

Overall ad spending in the first half of 2007 was slightly down compared with the same period a year ago, according to a report released Tuesday by TNS Media Intelligence. It's the second consecutive quarter that ad spending has declined, the first time that's happened since 2001. Overall ad expenditures dropped 0.3% to $72.6 billion. TV, which makes up one-third of all advertising spending, was down 2% overall to $31.6 billion. Network TV dropped 4% compared with first-half 2006 despite evidence that the networks were selling more ad time with flat unit pricing. Cable TV was up 3%; syndication dropped 5%; and spot TV, hardest hit by a drop in automotive, was down 5%.

Keith, Knight promoted at Laika

Animation studio Laika on Tuesday named Alan Keith the studio's new CFO/vp business operations and promoted head of animation Travis Knight to vp animation. Keith, a former Lucasfilm and Hanna-Barbera executive with more than 20 years of finance experience in the movie studio setting, will head the studio's business operations as it expands its roster of animated feature and short films, TV production and music videos. CEO Dale Wahl said Keith's diverse skill set is critical to the company during its expansion.

NBC Uni ups pair to national exec roles

NEW YORK — NBC Universal has named two executives to its national leadership ranks. Phyllis Schwartz will become executive vp news, promotion and original content at NBC Universal Television Stations, while Steve Schwaid has been promoted to senior vp strategic growth initiatives at NBC Universal.

Emmys to laud PBS shows' points of view

NEW YORK — This month's News and Documentary Emmy Awards will give special recognition to the longtime PBS documentary series "Frontline" and "P.O.V./American Documentary." Both will receive a special award for excellence in television documentary filmmaking from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the 28th annual awards, set for Sept. 24 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers.

DC Comics powers up publicist Hyde

DC Comics has promoted David Hyde to vp publicity. Hyde joined DC Comics in November 2003 as director of publicity. In his new position, he will continue to represent DC in coordinated publicity with Warner Bros. in TV, film, home video, interactive entertainment and licensed publishing.
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