ABC to reach Mideast, N. Africa

ABC news and entertainment fare will begin airing in 23 Middle Eastern and North African countries between January and March. The web has licensed the programs to Orbit Communications, which will distribute the shows via the Orbit Satellite TV Network.

Also, ABC has confirmed that “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” will begin airing this month on Russian state television. The Thursday night edition, with Jennings anchoring live from Moscow during President Clinton’s visit, will be previewed in Russia on Friday.

Gregory Peck joins the list of presenters at this year’s Golden Globe Awards, which will be presented Jan. 22 at the Beverly Hilton. Peck, who has won five Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille award, joins Tim Robbins and Maximilian Schell, who have also been recently added.

Steven Ackermann has been named exec producer/director of news and Chuck Senkier has been appointed exec producer of news gathering for CBS affiliate news feed service Newsnet. Both positions are new. Ackermann was senior producer of CBS News’ overnight broadcast “Up to the Minute.” Senkier has been exec producer of Newsnet.

The lineup for Comic Relief VI now includes Jason Alexander, Kirstie Alley, Candice Bergen, Eric Bogosian, Brett Butler, Tisha Campbell, Dave Chapelle, Dennis Franz, Marga Gomez, Bobcat Goldthwait, Dustin Hoffman, Carlos Mencia, Rick Overton, Rosie Perez, Shadoe Stevens, Sinbad, Jeffrey Tambor, Marisa Tomei, the cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and Miss America Kimberly Aiken. The special, hosted by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams, will air at 9 p.m. Saturday on HBO.

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