In yet another sign that publishing has gone Hollywood, Reader's Digest has hired the talent firm Creative Artists Agency to help it branch into TV.
The magazine, which claims to be the most widely read in the world, wants to mine its own articles and its strong brand name to create TV movies and miniseries.
"We have a vault of narratives we'd like to take advantage of in TV," said Christopher Willcox, editor in chief of Reader's Digest magazine.
Willcox and CAA agents said they'd like to see Reader's Digest-branded TV movies, but the company isn't interested in creating its own production arm for now.
Aside from TV movies, project possibilities include a Reader's Digest magazine series and shows based on some of the magazine's regular humor columns. Regular advertisers in Reader's Digest may be involved in sponsoring some of the projects.
The parties hope TV exposure will bring a new, and potentially younger, audience to the 77-year-old magazine.
Clinton gives CNN O.J. numbers
The early ratings are in and President Clinton is the biggest thing since O.J. for CNN. Cable News Network says Nielsen data indicates nearly 5.5 million people tuned in to the network to watch Mr. Clinton acknowledge having an "inappropriate" relationship with Monica Lewinsky Monday night. The speech was CNN's highest-rated show since the O.J. Simpson verdict of October 3, 1995.
USA orders more 'Net' shows
Cable's USA Network has ordered nine more episodes of its new series "The Net."
The one-hour action/adventure series is loosely based on the big-screen film of the same name, which was about a woman whose identity was erased from all computer databases.
Former "Melrose Place" star Brooke Langton stars in the series, which airs at 9 p.m. Saturdays.
" 'The Net' is an example of our commitment to bring entertaining, original programming to USA Network," said Steven Chao, president of programming and marketing. "We believe that Brooke Langton is an extremely appealing star with breakout potential." USA's original order for "The Net" called for 13 episodes. Since launching on July 19, "The Net" has been averaging an audience of 1.2 million households each week.
100 million homes with TV
By the end of August, there will be nearly 100 million U.S. homes with televisions, according to the latest figures from Nielsen.
Starting Aug. 31, the ratings company's working count will be 99.4 million, up from the current 98 million.