- - Thursday, June 2, 2011

Williams newsmagazine gets executive producer

NBC News is bringing a veteran CBS and BBC journalist on board to run Brian Williams‘ new newsmagazine, which it hopes to get on the air this fall.

The network said Wednesday it has hired Rome Hartman to be executive producer of the newsmagazine, which doesn’t have a name yet. Mr. Hartman most recently developed and produced “BBC World News America.” Before that, he spent more than 24 years at CBS News, much of it at “60 Minutes,” and he also launched Katie Couric’s newscast there.

It will be the first new broadcast newsmagazine since CBS started “60 Minutes II” in 1998. That spinoff of TV’s first newsmagazine lasted until 2005.

“This is just an opportunity that comes along once in a career,” Mr. Hartman said. He reports to David Corvo, the executive producer of “Dateline NBC,” who was promoted to senior executive producer of prime-time news, supervising both of NBC’s newsmagazines.

The newsmagazine has no spot on NBC’s fall schedule. But with all of NBC’s prime-time troubles, it shouldn’t be too hard to find room once it’s ready. Mr. Williams will anchor the one-hour telecast, which will reflect his interests as well as draw in people from NBC News’ properties at CNBC and MSNBC.

Each hourlong show will cover multiple topics, in part to contrast it with “Dateline NBC.” Most of that show’s episodes are single-topic stories told in narrative form.

Play ‘Where’s Greg?’ in latest Abrams film

Actor Greg Grunberg has revealed that he has a small role in “Super 8,” the latest film from his longtime friend J.J. Abrams.

Mr. Grunberg previously said only that he would beg for a part in the film. He told the Associated Press on Wednesday that people will have to “really, really search to find me” as he portrays a sitcom actor in “Super 8.”

Mr. Grunberg and Mr. Abrams have been friends since kindergarten. Mr. Grunberg starred in Mr. Abrams’ home movies growing up and has appeared in most of his professional films and TV shows, including “Felicity,” “Alias,” “Lost” and “Star Trek.” Mr. Grunberg said of Mr. Abrams: “He calls me his lucky charm.”

Mr. Grunberg stars in the comedy “Love Bites,” at 10 p.m. Thursdays on NBC.

CBS’ Moonves predicts huge ratings for ‘Men’

CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves said Thursday that he has heard talk of “huge numbers,” even “AFC championship-type” ratings for this fall’s “Two and a Half Men” season premiere with new star Ashton Kutcher, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Discussing the CBS fall schedule, Mr. Moonves touted a steady schedule with few additions, predicting, “We’re going to have a fun fall.” He also suggested that CBS can be so choosy about which shows to add that its rejected series pilots are better than some of the shows picked up by other networks.

Mr. Moonves also confirmed CBS won’t bid for the Olympics next week. “It’s not going to be a cost-effective thing for us,” he said.

Asked about Netflix, Mr. Moonves reiterated that CBS views it as much more a friend than a foe. “We love Netflix,” he said and repeated a previous comment: “They are not the Antichrist.”

TV on Blu-ray: ‘True Blood’

The third season of HBO’s hit series “True Blood” (HBO Home Video, rated TV-MA, $79.98) arrives in the high-definition format to tempt adult vampire lovers with 12 episodes of the soap-operatic adventures of telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse and her fanged boyfriend, Bill Compton.

The story, tied to vampires joining the mainstream world thanks to the invention of an artificial blood supply, continues with brutish Bill being kidnapped by a pack of werewolves with his love in hot pursuit.

The Blu-ray extras are as great as the Cajun-twanged show itself. Most impressive is the enhanced viewing experience on every episode.

These companion resources, played during the shows, include flashbacks to previous episodes, picture-in-picture perspectives from the characters, and a stream of text facts, biographies, plot points and trivia.

A fifth disc delivers even more bonus content, including more than two hours of those character perspectives (not tethered to the episodes) and an interactive guide covering the citizens and visitors to Bon Temps, La.

- Joseph Szadkowski

* Compiled from staff, Web and wire reports.

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