news digest


A Storm drain for 'Early Show'

NEW YORK — "The Early Show" co-anchor Hannah Storm will leave the show. The network said late Wednesday that Storm was in discussions with CBS "to determine the scope and depth of her new duties." It wasn't immediately clear the reason for the change. Storm, a former NBC Sports anchor, had been on the CBS morning show for the past five years. Her departure date has yet to be determined. It's likely that Storm will be replaced.

'Betty,' 'Heroes' are Family Friendly

ABC's "Ugly Betty" and NBC's "Heroes" took top honors Wednesday night at the Family Friendly Programming Forum's ninth annual Family Television Awards, which recognizes outstanding programming for family viewing. "Betty" was honored in the comedy category, "Heroes" in drama. Awards were presented in nine other categories, including miniseries or special (Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth"), movie musical ("High School Musical 2"), new series (ABC's "Pushing Daisies"), cable series (ABC Family's "Kyle XY") and reality show (Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"). Actors honored were Kyle Chandler, America Ferrera, Zac Efron and Zachary Levi. The awards will air as a one-hour special on the CW at 9 p.m. Dec. 27.

Nielsen takes gold in Beijing data

NEW YORK — The Nielsen Co.  has signed a deal to provide media surveys and consumer research for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games for the XXIX Olympiad. According to BOCOG, Nielsen will supply BOCOG with TV, Internet, newspaper and consumer feedback on the Olympics at several points next year including January-February, the run-up to the games, the span of the Olympics themselves and a period after the Olympics. The 2008 Summer Olympics will be held Aug. 8-24. Nielsen will provide analysis of audience age, gender and TV viewing patterns for BOCOG.

Spanning the 65th Globes

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. will consider a crowded field of contenders for its 65th annual Golden Globe Awards. The group said Wednesday that 194 live-action feature films (126 drama and 68 comedies or musicals), nine animated feature films, 120 television series (74 dramas and 46 comedies), 37 miniseries or telefilms and 61 foreign-language films have qualified for consideration. In addition, 83 songs are in the running for best original song. Nominations will be revealed Dec. 13, and the Globes will be presented Jan. 13 at the Beverly Hilton.

'Grandpa' delivers for Hallmark

Hallmark Channel's original movie "A Grandpa for Christmas," starring Ernest Borgnine, averaged 3.8 million total viewers in its debut at 9-11 p.m. Saturday, according to Nielsen Media Research. That makes "Grandpa" the network's second-most-watched original movie premiere ever. It was the first of four original holiday movies premiering on Hallmark this season.

Witmer rises at TWC

Time Warner Cable has upped Melinda Witmer to executive vp and chief programming officer. She will continue to lead TWC's programming acquisition team, reporting to senior executive vp Rob Marcus. Most recently, Witmer was senior vp and chief programming officer.