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Friday, November 25, 2011

Interested in Science...This is worth al listen

IgNobel Prizes Salute The Silly In Science

This year's 21st First Annual IgNobel Prize Ceremony featured the science of sighs, inquiries into the yawning habits of the red-footed tortoise, and songs about the chemistry of coffee. Ira Flatow and Ig master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams present some of the highlights from this year's festivities.

Prospect Park pulls plug on Internet soap operas


From the LA Times Company Town and Entertainment buzz. Click here for the latest.

Soap Operas RIP. Just five months after rolling out plans to adapt the ABC soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live"  for the Internet, independent production firm Prospect Park said it was abandoning its effort.

The move, announced Wednesday, likely will be another punch in the gut for soap opera fans who were hopeful that Prospect Park could revive a fading genre.  Only four network soap operas will remain on the air after this season, including CBS' top-rated "Young and the Restless," NBC's "Days of Our Lives," and ABC's "General Hospital."

Prospect Park founders said their plans collapsed when they could not reach agreement with the guilds that represent the actors and workers.  The production firm had been looking for concessions that would have made their Web series profitable.

"We always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, and unfortunately we couldn’t ultimately secure the backing and clear all the hurdles in time," Prospect Park's partners Rich Frank and Jeffrey Kwatinetz said in a statement. "We believe we exhausted all reasonable options apparent to us, but despite enormous personal, as well as financial cost to ourselves, we failed to find a solution.

"It is now becoming clear that mounting issues make our ability to meet our deadlines to get 'One Life to Live' on the air in a reasonable time period ... impossible," the statement continued.

"One Life to Live" ends its ABC run Jan. 13. The network pulled the curtain on "All My Children" in September after revising the finale so that Prospect Park could pick up the story lines.

"While we narrowed in on a financial infrastructure, the contractual demands of the guilds, which regulate our industry, coupled with the program’s inherent economic challenges ultimately led to this final decision," Prospect Park said. "In the end, the constraints of the current marketplace, including the evolution and impact of new media on our industry simply proved too great a match for even our passion."

Crying shame for fans of soaps
Moving soaps from TV to Web: Easier said than done
Daytime television deserves better than daytime Emmys

-- Meg James
Photo:  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa makes a guest appearance on ABC's "All My Children" with Susan Lucci in 2010. Credit:  Stefano Paltera / For The Times

James Murdoch leaves boards of British newspapers' parent firms


From the LA Times Company Town and Entertainment buzz. Click here for the latest.  
News Corp.'s chief operating officer, James Murdoch, has resigned from the boards of the companies that operate the British newspapers the Sun and the Times.

Murdoch remains chairman of News International, the division that controls News Corp. publishing operations in Britain. However, he turned over day-to-day operations of the group to Tom Mockridge, who was named chief executive following the resignation this summer of former New International chief executive and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.

The 38-year-old Murdoch, son of powerful News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, stepped down in September as a director of Times Newspapers, which publishes the Times and the Sunday Times, and of News Group Newspapers, which owns the Sun tabloid and formerly published the now-defunct News of the World, which is at the center of the British phone-hacking scandal.

A person familiar with the matter described these units as holding companies that exist primarily for accounting purposes. The change comes as James Murdoch prepares to move to New York, as was announced in March with his elevation to the No. 3 News Corp. job.

"Following the appointment of Tom Mockridge as CEO of News International, in September James Murdoch stepped down from the boards of a number of News International subsidiary companies, including News Group Newspapers and Times International newspapers," the company said in a statement Wednesday. "He remains chairman of News International Group and director of Times Newspapers Holdings, the holding company of the Times Newspapers."

The development comes against the backdrop of a parliamentary investigation into allegations that the News of the World and other newspapers hacked phone messages left for members of the royal family, celebrities and crime victims in pursuit of salacious scoops. Murdoch has been called twice by the committee investigating the matter to answer questions about what he knew of the illicit conduct.
The controversy has sparked calls for press reforms in Britain from, among others, actor and phone-hacking victim Hugh Grant.

Hugh Grant, aggrieved parents of girl lead tabloid battle
James Murdoch insists he was in the dark about phone hacking
Phone hacking scandal puts James Murdoch's career on the line
-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: James Murdoch looks on during the Digital Life Design conference on January 25, 2011 in Munich, Germany. Credit: Miguel Villagran / Getty Images.

From the LA Times Company Town and Entertainment buzz. Click here for the latest.