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Dec 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Lynton Named Chairman, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment

Michael Lynton, the former Hollywood Pictures president, on Wednesday was named chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Meanwhile, Amy Pascal, vice chairman of SPE, was promoted to chairman of SPE’s motion picture group, with responsibility for all films produced and distributed by SPE.

Both appointments are effective in January, and both executives will report to Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony Corp. of America.

Reporting to Mr. Lynton will be Yair Landau, SPE vice chairman and president of Sony Pictures Digital, and Jeff Blake, another SPE vice chairman and president of worldwide marketing and distribution. Mr. Lynton will serve on the SPE operating committee and will share responsibility for the motion picture group.

Mr. Lynton joined SPE from Time Warner, where he was president of Time Warner International and AOL International and CEO of AOL Europe since 2000. Before that, he was chairman and CEO of Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group from 1996-2000. From 1992-96, Mr. Lynton was president of Walt Disney Co.’s Hollywood Pictures, which followed his creating and managing Disney Publishing. Prior to joining Disney, Mr. Lynton worked at investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston in mergers and acquisitions.

Supreme Court Upholds Campaign Ad Restrictions: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed campaign finance reform legislation that would bar issue ads sponsored by corporations and labor unions that specifically refer to a federal candidate 60 days before a general election and 30 days before a primary.

Fox Bets On ‘Casino’: Mark Burnett has signed with Fox to produce a reality show called “The Casino.” Fox ordered 13 episodes of the series to air in summer 2004. Production will begin in the spring. The series will follow the new owners of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino-Travelscape.com founders Timothy Poster and Thomas Breitling- as they attempt to turn back time and restore the hotel to its glory days in the “Rat Pack” era. This is Mr. Burnett’s first project for Fox.

Mr. Burnett’s production partner Conrad Riggs and Jamie Bruce will serve as co-executive producers for Mark Burnett Productions. Kevin Harris will be supervising producer. On behalf of Mr. Poster and Mr. Breitling, Trent Othick of Las Vegas-based Insomnia Entertainment and Rob Lieberman will executive produce, and Perry Rogers of Alliance Sports Management will produce and coordinate the production for Mr. Poster and Mr. Breitling.

‘Simple’ Lifts Fox Tuesday: Fox won Tuesday night in adults 18 to 49 with another great performance by new reality show “The Simple Life.” While it was down 8 percent in the demo from its Tuesday performance last week, “Simple” won its time slot with a 5.4/15, fending off holiday competition from CBS’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (5.1/14), according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. “Simple” came in second to “Rudolph” (14.2 million) in total viewers with 10.8 million.

The second week of NBC’s sitcom “Tracy Morgan” fell week to week. It scored a fourth-place 2.9/8 in adults 18 to 49, down 30 percent from its debut last week, and was third in total viewers with 8 million, almost 2 million fewer than last week.

ABC’s new drama “Line of Fire” stayed steady with its premiere last week with a 3.1/8 in adults 18 to 49 and 9.1 million viewers. It ranked second in its 10 p.m. time slot.

For the night, Fox won in adults 18 to 49 with a 4.2/11, followed by NBC (3.8/10), ABC (3.7/10), CBS (3.0/8), UPN (1.1/3) and The WB (0.9/2). In total viewers, NBC won the night with 10.8 million, followed by ABC (10.5 million), CBS (9.3 million), Fox (9.1 million), UPN (2.8 million) and The WB (2.4 million).

ABC Updating ‘Parent Trap’: ABC is developing a sitcom based on Disney’s “The Parent Trap” for fall 2004. This most recent take will be produced by Touchstone TV and Tollin/Robbins Productions. Dan Beck will write the script and executive produce. Brian Robbins, Mike Tollin and Joe Davola will also be executive producers.

History Channel Teams With NBA: The History Channel has made a programming and promotion deal with the NBA that calls for the channel to air two one-hour documentaries on the history of the hoops league. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The History Channel will sponsor the NBA’s Hardwood Classics program, which celebrates the league’s past players and teams, and will have a presence on NBA TV programming, on NBA.com’s history section and during Hardwood Classics nights at arenas.