Eliza Dushku named program ambassador

User interfaces and social media look like the hot topics at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, said execs at a kickoff event for the expanded Entertainment Matters portion of the show Thursday at the Writers Guild of America West’s HQ.

Eliza Dushku, who has starred in TV series including “Dollhouse” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” has been named ambassador of Entertainment Matters, which was introduced last year to give Hollywood execs a closer connection to CES. The next show will be held in January.

“I’ve always been a bit of a tech geek,” said Dushku, who will also represent the program with appearances on Spike TV’s coverage of CES. “Fans of my movies and TV shows have been a real tech-savvy group — what you would call the early adopters.”

The event convened a select group of digital-minded execs to discuss tech-related issues relevant to CES in a panel moderated by Brent Weinstein, head of digital at UTA.

Shawn DuBravac, director of research at CEA, predicted that “2012 becomes the year of the user interface” at CES.

Neil Davis, head of digital and corporate development at Blockbuster, hailed the importance of social media in any technology experience. “When consumers start to interact with content, they want to control the content more,” he said.

Jane Espenson, consulting producer on “Once Upon a Time,” said the TV industry still has a ways to go toward embracing digital innovation but that it’s only a matter of time.Variety and Ericsson are sponsors of Entertainment Matters; the Screen Actors Guild is associate sponsor. The program is being supported by a new website at EMatCES.com; a branded app will be ready by CES as well.

Dushku and Karen Chupka, senior VP of events and conferences at CEA, offered a sneak peek at Entertainment Matters, which will introduce other elements this year including Next Generation and Red Carpet programs that will provide a guided tour of CES to select showbiz constituencies.

In addition, the Intl. Academy of Web Television will hold its first awards ceremony at CES, honoring Web programming in 33 categories on a date still being determined. Returning for a sixth year is the Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards, to be presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Jan. 12.

“Entertainment Matters was created to help you find what’s related to the entertainment industry at CES with razor-like focus on the areas of the show that you might be interested in,” Chupka said.

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