- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 28, 2006

News for sale

NBC plans to offer news segments on Apple Computers’ ITunes service — for a fee, the Associated Press reports.

The network says the move will make it the first broadcast news organization to offer news programming for download. A variety of current, archival and specially-produced material will be available for $1.99 a download through the ITunes store.

“We’re leading a trend to put our work and our journalism everywhere our viewers and users want it to be,” Mark Lukasiewicz, NBC News vice president for digital media, told AP.

Brian Williams will be host of some specially-created “Time Capsule” programs through the Web. They include interviews with John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, a tour of the White House offered by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and interviews with the rock band U2.

Tom Brokaw also has packaged programming related to his book “The Greatest Generation,” NBC said.

More recent material include Mr. Williams’ narration of his return to Hurricane Katrina-stricken areas and the CNBC special “The Age of Wal-Mart.”

NBC is also developing programming like “Tattoos: Skin Deep,” “Cops Caught on Tape” and “Extreme Fighting.” Mr. Lukasiewicz promised NBC News won’t be tempted to devote more time to marginally news-oriented programming because it sells well on ITunes.

“I don’t think we’re going to have a situation where something that is in particular demand on ITunes is going to drive our television work,” he said.

Because, as we all know, ratings and economics never affect the news we see.

Classic originals

Turner Classic Movies wants to make some new classics to call its own.

The Time Warner-owned cable network said it will produce a pair of pilots with the intent of broadcasting its first series, Reuters news agency reports. TCM also is developing a cult-film showcase and breaking ground on its first in-house documentary production.

The two pilots in contention are “Take Two,” in which young stars are given the opportunity to act out iconic scenes from Hollywood’s most famous classics. The pilot features “That ‘70s Show” star Wilmer Valderrama re-creating a scene from “The Lost Weekend.”

The other is “Idols,” which pairs a young actor with his or her classic film idol. Both “Idols” and “Take” are working titles.

Also coming to TCM is “TCM Underground,” a late-night showcase of cult and underground movies from rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie. Premiering in October, “Underground” will include such films as Ed Wood’s “Bride of the Monster” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dementia 13.”

P Dancy

They might as well call it MT-Diddy these days.

MTV and hip-hop impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs are partnering on a competition series that will focus on street-dance troupes from throughout the country, Reuters news agency reports.

The show marks the latest MTV series from the mind of the hip-hop impresario.

“Dance is one of the truest forms of expression, and there is a new cultural phenomenon emerging in different communities across America — young men and women are forming these dance troupes as a way to stay off the streets and out of the pitfalls of their everyday lives,” Mr. Combs said. “This show will showcase the drive, determination and expression of this dance generation — picture ‘Rocky’ but with dance troupes.”

Mr. Combs will executive produce the untitled pilot.

The news comes after MTV announced on Friday that it has joined forces with Mr. Combs’ former girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, on a dance-themed series titled “Moves.” The show, premiering in the fourth quarter, follows six dancers as they work to achieve their dreams of making it in the business.

Mr. Combs’ working relationship with MTV includes hosting the 2005 Video Music Awards, executive producing “Run’s House” and starring in and executive producing “Making the Band 3.” He also worked alongside MTV on his “Vote or Die” drive during the 2004 presidential election.

“Making the Band 3” and a new season of “Run’s House” premiere June 15.

Compiled by Christian Toto from wire reports.

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