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3 items from 2008

Leroy Sievers dies at 53

17 August 2008 3:00 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

New York -- Former ABC News "Nightline" executive producer Leroy Sievers, whose struggle with cancer led him to reach a wide audience with his National Public Radio commentary and blog, died Saturday at his home in Maryland. He was 53.

Sievers was a nationally accomplished journalist for ABC News and CBS News, executive producer of "Nightline" for four years and with former host Ted Koppel when he was embedded during the Iraq war in 2003. He also produced "The Fallen," the controversial "Nightline" tribute to the war dead.

But it was his two bouts with cancer that were his struggle and triumph. He was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001. Four years later, the cancer returned as a brain tumor, lung cancer and, in 2006, in his spine. He went behind the microphone to detail his chemotherapy treatment for National Public Radio audiences in 2006, and began the "My Cancer" blog that instantly became one of NPR's best-known features. Thousands read and contributed to the blog, which chronicled his life with cancer. Many said that it touched their lives or their loved ones' lives.

He also did commentaries for NPR's "Morning Edition" about living with cancer; he also did a podcast.

"Cancer was not in Leroy's plans. But he turned his battle with cancer into the most dramatic, the most moving and the most important story of his life," Koppel wrote in a statement released by NPR. Koppel said that Sievers inspired courage by what he wrote and who he was: "Larger than life while he walked among us, and destined to be even larger in our memories." Sievers was profiled by his friend Koppel in a Discovery documentary about cancer in 2007.

He had several surgeries but after the cancer spread to his liver and elsewhere two months ago, he decided to stop treatment.

Not long ago, Sievers described the blog as a "rest stop."

"But if I've learned anything over the last two years, it's that life with cancer is tough," he wrote. "I've learned something far more important, too. No matter what happens, we're all in this together. None of us will walk this road alone."

In his 24-year career with ABC and CBS, he worked at "Nightline" and was a bureau chief for CBS News. He won 12 national Emmys, two Peabodys and other awards.

He is survived by his wife, Laurie Singer. »

- By Paul J. Gough

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Affleck takes on TV reporting role

27 June 2008 4:24 AM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Ben Affleck has filmed a report about war-torn Congo for US news show Nightline. The 35-year-old actor travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to film a segment highlighting how violence, starvation and disease claims 1,200 lives a day in the region. In a posting on Us network ABC's website, Affleck said that viewers shouldn't be skeptical about his "celebrity activism". He said: "There is always (more) »

- By Simon Reynolds

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007, fava beans and Xbox

7 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Microsoft has inked a deal with MGM Studios to make more than 50 classic movies available on its Xbox Live service for the Xbox 360 console.

Titles include Rocky, The Silence of the Lambs and the James Bond franchise.

In addition, XBox Live will add to its TV holdings, with series from Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, Disney Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family joining the lineup. Among the series coming to XBox include Desperate Housewives, Hannah Montana and Nightline.

The announcement was made Sunday during Microsoft's keynote address opening the Consumer Electronics Show.

Microsoft added that many of the MGM movies will be available in high-definition as well as standard formats. It brings the total amount of downloadable content available on Xbox Live Marketplace to more than 3,500 hours. Company officials claim that Marketplace is now the No. 1 destination for HD downloads.

This deal comes as Microsoft revealed that it sold 4.3 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide during the fourth quarter, bringing the total Xbox 360 installed base to 17.7 million. »

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