news digest


'Halls' a sweep success for ABC

NEW YORK — ABC got an early holiday present on the last day of the November sweep with its half-hour "Shrek the Halls" holiday special bowing to a huge number. "Shrek the Halls" averaged 20.8 million viewers and a 7.1 rating/19 share in adults 18-49, Nielsen Media Research said. It was the highest-rated kids 2-11 program on broadcast primetime since 2000, with the exception of the Super Bowl. Along with the perennial "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (18.5 million, 6.8/17), ABC carried off not only the primetime win Wednesday but also the November sweep in adults 18-49.

Brooks gig to help Calif. fire victims

Garth Brooks, fresh out of retirement and coming off his string of nine straight sold-out shows this month at the new Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., will play Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, with all proceeds going to victims of the recent Southern California wildfires. All tickets are priced at a modest $45 (including tax and charges), and AEG has donated the use of Staples. "Please let everyone know I hate to ask so much for a ticket, but 100% of the money is going to victims of the recent fires and to the firefighters facing future fires," Brooks said.

61 make cut for foreign Globe

Sixty-one foreign-language films — including Miramax's "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," DreamWorks/Paramount Classics' "The Kite Runner" and Focus Features' "Lust, Caution" — have qualified in the foreign-language film category for the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards. While none of those films are eligible for foreign-language consideration at the Academy Awards, the Globes and Oscars do share such contenders as Romania's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," France's "Persepolis" and Korea's "Secret Sunshine."

ABC Family asks series to the 'Prom'

ABC Family is set to crown "America's Prom Queen." The cable network is launching a reality competition show that will feature several high school girls moving into a mansion and undergoing a series of challenges that will "test their prom queen mettle." The contestants also will face a Prom Committee for weekly eliminations. The winner will be voted on by viewers and revealed in the finale, which will feature a prom attended by the entire cast and their dates. Casting is set to begin immediately on the show, which is targeted to premiere in the spring.

CBS Radio tunes in CFO Guitano

NEW YORK — CBS Corp.'s radio unit has tapped Anton Guitano as CFO as it continues to work on a turnaround. Guitano, who also will be senior executive vp finance and operations, replaces Walter Berger, who will remain with the company to work on special projects under the direction of CBS Corp. CFO Fredric Reynolds. Guitano reports to CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason, who took that post in late March.

MTV Nets alive, well on Web

NEW YORK — MTV Networks International is relaunching a global Web portal for young people to exchange views on life, love and relationships while also accessing vital information on HIV/AIDS prevention. Kanye West, Nelly Furtado, Kelly Clarkson and Enrique Iglesias are among a host of celebrities sharing their personal stories and offer advice on