week in review digest


Maddox upped to exec vp slot at CNN Int'l

NEW YORK — Tony Maddox has been named as CNN International's new executive vp and managing director (HR 4/11). Maddox replaces Chris Cramer, who resigned this year after 12 years. Maddox will report to CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton. His new role will give him responsibility for five CNN English channels, CNN en Espanol, CNN.com International and joint ventures with other networks plus worldwide newsgathering operations. He will work out of the network's Atlanta headquarters, where he has managed the international news desk and supervised CNN's worldwide bureaus.

Ray heads new SKE unit

NEW YORK — Indie film veteran Bingham Ray has joined Sidney Kimmel Entertainment as president of its new division, Kimmel Distribution. He will oversee all domestic marketing and distribution strategies for SKE's slate of motion pictures (HR 4/11). Ray, former president of United Artists and co-founder of October Films, also will spearhead efforts to acquire films for worldwide distribution. "Their films are really in the sweet spot for me — who's in them, who's made them," Ray said of SKE's features, most of which fall in the $15 million-$25 million range. "I haven't had much experience with full-blown major studio releases, but the films I've been involved with in the latter days of October Films and at UA usually had crossover potential, and that's the case here."

U.K. TV sales up 20% in '06

Sales of U.K. television programs and formats jumped 20% to £593 million ($1.2 billion) in 2006, driven by the sale of formats like "Dancing on Ice" and finished programs like "Doctor Who," according to research published Wednesday (HR 4/12). Format sales were up 87% to £56 million ($110.8 million) compared with 2005, while finished program sales grew 21% to £294 million ($581.5 million). Co-production revenue was up 7% at £51 million ($101 million). Revenue from home video sales jumped 13% to £63 million ($124.6 million), according to figures from independent producers' body Pact that were collated by the Department of Culture Media and Sport. North America continues to be the most lucrative international market for British fare, accounting for 41% of the 2006 tally.

Ricci scores date with 'Speed'

Christina Ricci is joining Larry and Andy Wachowski's live-action adaptation of 1960s cartoon "Speed Racer" for Warner Bros. Pictures and producer Joel Silver (HR 4/13). Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman already have boarded the high-octane project, which is based on the anime series created by Tatsuo Yoshida for Japanese audiences and later imported to the U.S. "Speed" centers on young race car driver Speed (Hirsch). Ricci will play his girlfriend Trixie.

BBC1 fires up 'Ashes'

BBC1 has commissioned a sequel to the hit time-travel cop drama "Life on Mars," which is being remade for the U.S. market by ABC (HR 4/12). The eight hourlong episodes of "Ashes to Ashes," set to air next year, will be set in the '80s, but John Simm will not reprise his role as Sam Tyler, the officer who wakes up from a coma in 1970s-set "Mars." Instead, it will team tough Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) with newcomer Alex Drake, a single mother and an officer in London's Metropolitan Police.