news digest


Mackenzie joins Cedric at ABC

Peter Mackenzie has been tapped to co-star opposite Cedric the Entertainer in Cedric's untitled comedy pilot for ABC. The project, from ABC Studios, centers on a man (Cedric) who has been the proud breadwinner for his family and has difficulty adjusting when his wife's hobby turns into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Mackenzie, repped by Pakula/King and manager Holly Shelton, will play the man's new Beverly Hills neighbor, an affluent and anxious-to-please guy who is excited about making a "black friend" but is nervous about saying the wrong thing.

Media powers go to Washington

It's being called "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images." The audience will be members of the House Commerce Committee's subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection. Those expected to testify at Tuesday's hearing on Capitol Hill include Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, Warner Music chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman and Universal Music chairman and CEO Doug Morris. Rapper-entrepreneur Master P also is set to appear; Don Imus and execs from CBS, NBC and MSNBC aren't. Not tied to any legislative push, the hearing will explore the effects of media on society.

U.K. industry job obstacles: race, money

LONDON — Ethnic minorities and the poor are finding it tough going in the U.K. entertainment market. A report commissioned by the Trades Union Congress, to be published Friday, says film and television companies "are making it hard for workers from poorer backgrounds and from ethnic minority communities to embark on careers." The research reveals that while more than a third of the London workforce is from ethnic minority communities, only 8% of workers in the movie and TV sector in the capital are black or Asian. Other conclusions in the report, written by the Working Lives Research Institute at London Metropolitan University: Film and TV tend "to recruit from within limited cultural circles, with a work force largely characterized as white and from high-income backgrounds."

Sheridan wins state labor case

The California state labor commissioner has ruled in favor of actress Nicollette Sheridan, determining that her contract with manager Rob Lee was voided by certain improper activities, attorneys said. Lee had been seeking back-commission from Sheridan. The "Desperate Housewives" actress was represented by Paul Sorrell and Martin Singer of Lavely & Singer in Los Angeles.

MTV feeds high-def to Europe

LONDON — MTV Networks International will launch the company's first pan-European high-definition feed next year from its Warsaw hub, offering audiences a mix of kids, music and entertainment shows from MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. It joins MTV European, VH1 European and VH1 Classic European as pan-European MTV services.