news digest


Top markets want more 'Martha'

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has renewed "The Martha Stewart Show" in more than 60% of the country and in 17 of the top 20 markets for its fourth season in national syndication. "Martha" has been renewed for the 2008-09 season by the NBC owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami and San Diego as well as by stations from Fox, Belo, Fisher, Scripps, Hearst, Allbritton, Clear Channel and other groups.

Lovett goes to bat for royalties

WASHINGTON — Lyle Lovett is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee as the music industry continues its push for a royalty for over-the-air broadcasts. Lovett is expected to testify in support of the royalty for the MusicFirst Coalition that comprises artists groups including the American Federation of Musicians, the RIAA, SoundExchange, the Recording Artists Coalition and the American Association of Independent Music.

Berry, Depp among People's Choices

Halle Berry tops of the list of nominees for the 34th annual People's Choice Awards, announced Thursday. The favorite female movie star nominee will go head-to-head with Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon on Jan. 8 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis will vie for male movie star, and the movie contenders are "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Transformers." The event will be broadcast on CBS.

P.S. fest loves Weintraub

Producer Jerry Weintraub will be honored Jan. 5 with the Patron of the Arts Award, presented by the SAG Foundation, at the 19th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The award recognizes Weintraub's support of projects "that encourage and recognize the commitment to excellence in the film industry." Also at the gala, Fox Searchlight's "Juno" is slated to receive the Chairman's Vanguard Award.

Moser tops new Participant TV unit

Participant Prods., the company behind "An Inconvenient Truth," will launch a television division as part of a larger effort to expand its content creation and distribution possibilities. The company has tapped John Moser as vp of the division. He will oversee original TV programming from conception and development through production and report to Participant president Ricky Strauss.

VES effects changes on board

The Visual Effects Society has announced the results of its board of directors elections for the 2008-09 term. Its newly elected board members are Jeff Barnes, Colin Campbell, Mike Chambers, Valerie Delahaye, Richard Edlund, Rob Engle, Sandra Joy Lee, Van Ling, Robert Nicoll, Marianne O'Reilly, Gene Rizzardi, Stuart Robertson, Carl Rosendahl, Sande Scoredos and Scott Squires. The alternates are Toni Pace Carstense, Terry Clotiaux, Doug Cooper and Ed Ulbrich.