news digest


FX's 'Sunny' begins bright

The Season 3 premiere of FX comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," starring Danny DeVito, averaged 2.3 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Thursday, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's a 62% increase over the June 2006 Season 2 premiere (1.7 million), which was the show's most-watched episode. Thursday's episode also grew from the Season 2 premiere by 77% in adults 18-49 (1.8 million vs. 1 million) and by 140% in adults 18-34 (1.3 million vs. 527,000). It also improved on its lead-in, the movie "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," which averaged 1.6 million total viewers and 964,000 in 18-49.

Ascent taps Stambaugh for Cinetech

Ascent Media Group has named Paul Stambaugh vp global restoration services and managing director of its Valencia, Calif.-based film lab Cinetech. Stambaugh brings more than four decades of experience in managing film laboratories and most recently was managing director of Technicolor's film lab in Bangkok, Thailand. "With digital coming along, we have a whole new set of tools, giving us the ability to do things we couldn't do in photochemical processes," Stambaugh said.

Multiplex surge to drive Russian boxoffice

LONDON — The Russian boxoffice will double during the next five years, with grosses hitting $850 million by 2011, according to a report by Dodona Research. Ongoing multiplex development in Russia will fuel the dramatic growth, the U.K.-based cinema analyst said. The share of new cinemas being built in shopping malls stood at 66% in 2006, and mall owners increasingly are choosing to enter the exhibition sector and operate cinemas themselves because low rents make it a profitable option. The "Cinemagoing Russia" report also noted that while Hollywood studios generally have operated through local partners in the past, they increasingly are establishing their own offices in Russia.

Bush address: Same topic, fewer viewers

NEW YORK — Ratings for President Bush's address to the nation last week about the troops surge in Iraq fell far below those for the January speech that announced the troop increase. Nielsen Media Research said that Bush's speech and the Democratic response Thursday night averaged 28.8 million viewers from 9-9:30 p.m. That compared with the 42.4 million viewers who tuned in for Bush's Jan. 10 speech. The measures include viewership on the Big Four broadcast networks, three cable news channels and Univision and Telemundo.

T.I. leads Hip Hop noms with nine

Rapper T.I. leads the pack of nominees for the 2007 BET Hip Hop Awards. With nine noms under his belt, the Atlanta rapper is up for best collabo, best live performance, lyricist of the year, MVP, track of the year, CD of the year, hustler of the year, best ringtone and Viewer's Choice Award. Other artists with multiple noms include Lil' Wayne and Kanye West with seven, Common with five, Jay-Z with four, Ludacris and 50 Cent with three and Diddy and UGK with two. KRS-One will be honored with the "I Am Hip-Hop" Icon Award during the ceremony. Nelly, Lil' Wayne, West and Common are slated to perform in the Oct. 13 event hosted by Katt Williams from Atlanta's Civic Center and broadcast at 8 p.m. Oct. 17 on BET.