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Tuning in to TV

- - Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First lady prevails over Fallon in fitness challenge

Michelle Obama and "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon turned the White House into a playground to promote the first lady's "Let's Move!" fitness campaign.

Mrs. Obama and Mr. Fallon did pushups and twirled hula hoops. They competed at dodge ball and tug-of-war. And the first lady triumphed over the comedian in a climactic potato sack race.

After a defeated Mr. Fallon said, "It doesn't matter if you won or lost," the first lady replied, "It matters."

The segment was taped last month and aired early Wednesday on NBC's "Late Night" program.

Mrs. Obama has been making the talk-show rounds to celebrate the second anniversary of her campaign against childhood obesity. In the past few weeks she has appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and the "Rachael Ray Show."

Amazon, Viacom ink deal for streaming TV shows

Amazon announced a deal with entertainment giant Viacom on Wednesday, building up its arsenal of television shows as it takes on video-streaming market leader Netflix.

The licensing agreement with Viacom will give Amazon Prime members access to TV shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike TV, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo, Amazon said in a statement.

The Seattle-based online retail giant said the Viacom deal takes the total number of videos available to Amazon Prime members to 15,000.

For $79 a year, Amazon Prime members receive free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. Amazon offers a free trial month of the service.

Amazon said the Viacom offering will include MTV shows "The Hills" and "Jersey Shore," Comedy Central's "Chappelle's Show" and "The Sarah Silverman Program," and Nickelodeon's "iCarly," "Dora the Explorer" and "SpongeBob SquarePants."

The agreement does not include Hollywood movies from Viacom's Paramount Pictures, which has a deal with Netflix.

The Amazon-Viacom announcement comes two days after Verizon said it is teaming up with Coinstar, which operates Redbox movie rental kiosks, to launch a subscription video service later this year.

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings, in a letter to shareholders last month, said he expects Amazon to eventually launch "their video subscription offering as a stand-alone service at a price less than ours."

But Mr. Hastings said Amazon and another online video rival, Hulu — a joint venture between News Corp., Disney and NBC Universal — offer only a "fraction of our content" and their total viewing hours are "less than 10 percent of ours."

China's CCTV to launch American service this week

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV is launching its American service this week as part of a major overseas expansion aimed at boosting China's international influence.

The network said Wednesday that Washington-based CCTV America eventually will offer four hours of programming daily. It said content will be produced by about 100 journalists working out of 15 bureaus in North and South America.

CCTV America's initial lineup will feature a business and finance program, "Biz Asia America," a panel show called "The Heat," and a magazine program, "Americas Now." It will target an audience of more than 100 million in 120 countries, competing for viewers with the likes of BBC, CNN and Qatar's Al-Jazeera.

The network is also opening a studio in Nairobi, Kenya, and hiring scores of new journalists and technical staff around the globe.

The expansion aims to counter negative images of China, especially over issues such as human rights, one-party communist rule, and Beijing's policies in the restive western regions of Xinjiang and Tibet.

Judge urges settlement in Golden Globes dispute

Testimony concluded Tuesday in a trial that will decide whether the Golden Globe Awards remain on NBC through 2018 with a federal judge strongly urging both sides to settle before a ruling is necessary.

U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz warned attorneys for the Globes' organizers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its longtime producers that he would declare a clear winner, which could result in the Globes being tangled up on appeal for another awards season.

The case involves a $150 million deal that Dick Clark Productions negotiated with NBC in 2010. The glitzy awards gala has aired on the network since 1996, but the HFPA contends the company had no right to enter the deal or to continue working on the show without its authorization.

Attorneys for Dick Clark Productions, which is no longer owned by entertainment pioneer Dick Clark, argue a nearly 20-year-old agreement gives the company rights to work on the Globes for as long as the ceremony airs on NBC.

After hearing nine days of testimony, Judge Matz set closing arguments in the case for Friday and urged both sides to make another attempt at reconciliation.

"Somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose," Judge Matz said. "It's not going to be a compromise."

He said if he ruled it would leave a legal cloud over the Globes similar to one faced during this year's show, for which both sides agreed to allow the show to be produced under the disputed terms of the NBC deal.

The contentious court fight wasn't apparent to audiences, but the HFPA has said it needs the case to be resolved so it can plan for future broadcasts.

Judge Matz said it was clear that a settlement could be achieved, and that the attorneys should speak to their clients about "whether it's time for [them] to come to their senses." The judge did not signal which side he expected to prevail and praised attorneys for both parties for the clear way they organized and argued the case.

The dispute centers on dueling interpretations of a 1993 agreement Dick Clark Productions claims gives it rights to negotiate broadcast deals for the Globes and work on the show for as long as it airs on NBC. The HFPA disputes the so-called "perpetuity clause" and claims if it were deemed valid, the association would lose control of its sole asset.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.