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  • Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Facebook will join the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, replacing technology supplier Teradyne Inc., while Abercrombie & Fitch is downgraded from the benchmark index.

S&P Dow Jones Indices on Wednesday announced a broader reshuffling of several of its market trackers, effective after the close of trading Dec. 20.

Shares of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook Inc. have surged 86 percent this year and picked up nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading. The company is also joining the S&P 100 index.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
In this 2006 file photo provided by The Publicity Office, Christopher Evan Welch and Mia Barron appear in a scene from "The Pain and the Itch,'' by Bruce Norris at off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons. (AP Photo/The Publicity Office, Joan Marcus, File)
Christopher Evan Welch
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) -- 

Christopher Evan Welch, the actor whose roles on New York stages led to a series of film and television parts, including a regular spot on AMC's "Rubicon," has died in Southern California.

His family said in a statement Wednesday that Welch died Dec. 2 in Santa Monica. He was 48 and had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The Dallas-born actor won an Obie Award in 2000 for his performance in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the New York Theatre Workshop.

On television, Welch had roles in "The Sopranos" and "The Good Wife," in addition to the conspiracy-themed drama "Rubicon."

Last year he played a clerk in the House of Representatives in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."

Welch is survived by his wife, Emma, their daughter June Harper, his parents, a brother and a sister.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Twitter's stock flew to a new high Tuesday and shares are up 26 percent this week after the social media site rolled out a new targeted advertising program.

The company announced in a blog Thursday that its "tailored audiences" platform will let advertisers focus on a specific group of people and target ads to them on Twitter. For example, a business can choose to focus on recent visitors to its website. Those website visitors that have a Twitter account could them be matched with a related promoted tweet.

Twitter said it tested the program for several months and is now making it available worldwide.

The announcement of the new ad platform is just the latest item for investors to feast on. Earlier this month Apple bought Topsy Labs in a deal that will provide the iPhone maker with more insights about the chatter on Twitter. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Since going public on Nov. 7 More

  • Monday, Dec. 9, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Chobani says it will air its first Super Bowl ad this February, a move intended to make the Greek yogurt company more of a household name. Agency is Droga5.

The debut on advertising's biggest stage comes as Greek yogurt continues to surge in popularity. Known for its thick texture and tart taste, Greek yogurt now accounts for more than a third of the U.S. yogurt market, up from just 1 percent in 2007, according to a report by Bernstein Research. And the figure is expected to top more than 50 percent in coming years.

Chobani is the market leader, but says only about a third of Americans are familiar with its brand.

To boost awareness, the company hired Peter McGuinness as its first chief marketing officer four months ago. McGuinness declined to provide details on the Super Bowl spot, but said it would be more than 30 seconds and mark the start of a more aggressive marketing strategy.

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  • Monday, Dec. 9, 2013
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 
Postproduction sound company Todd-Soundelux has entered into a multi-year strategic relationship with Culver City-based 424 Post. 
 
As part of this agreement, Sean McCormack and Kami Asgar of 424 Post will join Todd-Soundelux as supervising sound editors, including the addition of their creative team comprised of Tim Tuchrello; Erin Oakley; Benjamin L. Cook; Will Riley; and Sebastian Sheehan Visconti.  Additionally, Todd-Soundelux will add 424 Post’s facility to its portfolio of locations.
 
“Having worked with Sean and Kami on numerous projects as a Re-recording Mixer, I have a unique perspective on, and a particular appreciation for, the creativity, talent and dedication they bring to the table for their clients,” said Kevin O’Connell, who, in addition to working as a Re-recording Mixer at Todd- More
  • Monday, Dec. 9, 2013
This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Lupita Nyong’o, left, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from "12 Years A Slave." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Francois Duhamel)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Steve McQueen's historic saga "12 Years a Slave," David O. Russell's con artist romp "American Hustle," Ryan Coogler's numbing "Fruitvale Station" and Alfonso Cuaron's space odyssey "Gravity" round out the American Film Institute's top-10 movies of the year.

Also landing on the list, announced Monday: Paul Greengrass' Somali pirate drama "Captain Phillips"; Spike Jonze's futuristic computer love tale "Her"; Ethan and Joel Coen's folk scene-focused dark comedy "Inside Llewyn Davis"; John Lee Hancock's Disney comedy "Saving Mr. Banks"; and Martin Scorsese's provocative stockbroker story "The Wolf of Wall Street."

The AFI also selected the year's top-10 television shows. "Breaking Bad," ''Game of Thrones," ''House of Cards" and "Scandal" were among the favorites.

The creative assemblages will be awarded at a Jan. 10 luncheon in Los Angeles.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
This May 15, 2013 file photo shows director and writer Frank Darabont of "Mob City" at the TNT and TBS 2013 Upfront at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

The creator of "The Walking Dead" is suing AMC over what he claims is an effort to deny him tens of millions of dollars in profit from the hit drama.

Oscar-nominated writer-director Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption," ''The Green Mile") and Creative Arts Agency filed suit Tuesday in New York Supreme Court against defendants including AMC Network Entertainment LLC.

Their suit claims that despite four seasons of "unprecedented programming success and profitability" for the defendants, Darabont hasn't received any profits for developing the series.

AMC declined Wednesday to comment on the suit, which also alleges that Darabont was fired as producer without cause. He developed "The Walking Dead" from Robert Kirkman's comic book series about zombies.

The lawsuit alleges that AMC decided to produce the series in-house and paid itself a deliberately low license fee to air it, engaging in what the suit labels "the improper More

  • Monday, Dec. 16, 2013
NEW YORK -- 

American Zoetrope has acquired the motion picture rights for Alysia Abbott’s critically acclaimed memoir, Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father (W. W. Norton & Company).  Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation, The Bling Ring) and Roman Coppola (The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom) will produce the film. Ms. Coppola and Andrew Durham will co-write the screenplay.  Mr. Durham is a photographer who collaborates regularly with Ms. Coppola.

Praised by Alexandra Styron in The New York Times as “a daughter's compassionate, clear-eyed reckoning with the truths that defined her singular girlhood,” Fairyland is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene in the 1970s and ’80s, both before and after the AIDS epidemic, a crisis that would later claim the life of Abbott's father, Steve Abbott, a widowed poet and gay activist.

“I love the book Fairyland; it’s a More

  • Monday, Dec. 16, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- 

Member directions on how to vote for the Outstanding Performances of 2013 in five film and eight television categories were mailed via postcard today to the more than 100,000 eligible SAG-AFTRA members.

Voting information was sent via postcard to all SAG-AFTRA members residing in the United States who paid their November 2013 dues by Monday, Dec. 2. Online voting is encouraged. Paper ballots may be obtained by request before 5 p.m. (PT) on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. A list of this year’s Actor nominees maybe found at sagawards.org.

All votes whether cast online or via paper ballot must be received by noon (PT) on Friday, Jan. 17 at Integrity Voting Systems, the SAG Awards' official teller. The results will be tallied and sealed until the envelopes are opened onstage at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, Jan. 18. The awards ceremony will be telecast live from the Los Angeles Shrine More

  • Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 
Apple has bought Topsy Labs in a deal that will provide the iPhone maker with more insights about the chatter on Twitter.
 
Topsy pores through the stream of conversations occurring on Twitter to identify trends and people influencing public opinion. The San Francisco startup also runs a free search engine that boasts an index of every tweet posted since 2006, a resource that's not publicly available on Twitter's own online messaging service.
 
Apple Inc. spokeswoman Kristin Huguet confirmed the Topsy acquisition Monday without elaborating on the Cupertino, Calif., company's plans for the Twitter analytic tools. The acquisition price wasn't disclosed.
 
"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Huguet said.
 
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