Three years after Rihanna and Chris Brown’s headline-making pre-Grammys incident, the singer is speaking out, saying it actually empowered her.
“It gave me guns ... they know more about me than I want them to know. It’s embarrassing. But that was my opening. That was my liberation, my moment of 'bring it.' I wanted people to know who I am,” the 24-year-old told ELLE magazine’s May issue.
“Whatever they take that to be, good or bad, I just want them to know the truth. There are still a lot of rumors out there, and I’ll never be able to stop that. But you just have to ignore all that stuff,” she continued. “I have more freedom the more people know about me. It’s like, one less skeleton in the closet, one less burden, one less secret; now you know that, so you can say what you want about it. I don’t have anything to hide.”
She also spoke out about the negative response she’s had for keeping in contact with Brown.
“The bottom line is that everyone thinks differently. It’s very hard for me to accept, but I get it,” she told the mag. “People end up wasting their time on the blogs or whatever, ranting away, and that’s all right. Because tomorrow I’m still going to be the same person. I’m still going to do what I want to do.”
As for new love, the pop star said she’s looking to date again, but is having trouble finding the right guy.
“I feel like it’s hard for everybody! I don’t think it has anything to do with being famous. There’s just a major drought out there. I don’t know. I guess I’m challenging, because my job seems to affect every relationship I have or try to have. Even with people I think should get it,” she said. “That seems to be a big factor; it’s always an issue. But I just need to find the person who balances me out, because then things like my schedule won’t matter. I’ve done it before, so I know I can do it again.”
Hollie Cavanagh and Elise Testone had trouble with their performances on "American Idol."
Wednesday was '80s night on “American Idol.” Host Ryan Seacrest billed it as an evening that would send some of us back to our high-school prom. Maybe, but it sent every contestant besides Elise Testone back to the oldies station, since she’s the only one of the remaining eight singers who is not a child of the 1990s.
And that makes it kind of strange that Testone is one of the two singers who did not receive lavish praise from the judges on a night when they seemed predisposed to applaud anyone.
The panel was clearly basking in the nostalgic glow of times gone by (or, in Steven Tyler’s case, trying to remember the years he had forgotten). Pretty much everyone got kudos, oversinging be darned.
You have to give the judges credit for consistency – two looooonnnnng hours, and not one of them dozed off or asked Ryan whether they could help Fox come up with a half-hour sitcom pilot to avoid having to stretch these episodes out so much. If “Idol” decides it needs to cut costs, it could fire whoever dressed Randy Jackson in that red polka-dotted shirt, and just put all three in cheerleading uniforms for next week.
Even guest mentor Gwen Stefani, who along with fellow No Doubt member Tony Kanal joined Jimmy Iovine in the mentoring chairs, was filled with joy and mirth. Stefani’s a regular in that guest role by now and has been hit-or-miss in previous seasons, but she seemed fun and energetic Wednesday. It was not at all like when she was trying to figure out what to do with Sanjaya lo those many seasons ago.
The result was a night where everyone was rewarded for being average.
Jessica Sanchezyelled through Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” and the judges loved it. Can you imagine how much a judge like, say, Simon Cowell would have mocked her for talking about her alter ego, Bebe Chez? Well, keep imagining, because he’s gone and these guys don’t care.
Joshua Ledet spent his cover of Simply Red's "If You Don't Know Me By Now" staring at everything but the audience, and got straight A's. DeAndre Brackensick picked the comparatively obscure but predictable El DeBarge song "I Like It," and Jennifer Lopez could not stop reminding people how good he was and that they should vote for him. The same praise followed Phillip Phillips and his brother-in-law for their performance of Genesis' "That's All." We should all have such bosses evaluating our work.
Skylar Laine had a legitimately big week, closing the show with “Wind Beneath My Wings.” And Colton Dixon sported a brand new hairdo and a nice arrangement of “Time After Time.” Those were the two who stood out in a positive way, with an honorable mention to Ledet and Sanchez for the only duet that wasn’t completely painful to watch. (Laine and Dixon’s “Islands in the Stream” had all the passion and chemistry of paint drying, and it still caused Laine to deny that they were dating. It was that kind of night.)
Testone and Hollie Cavanagh were the two singers who drew criticism, though in the “you’re great, but could be even greater!” school of thought. Testone could have renamed “I Want to Know What Love Is” as “I Want to Know What Key to Sing In,” a rare misfire for someone who’s been very good over the past couple of weeks. And after previously sounding good in her duet with Brackensick, Cavanagh once again looked like she was overthinking every note in “What a Feeling.”
That probably means Cavanagh’s in trouble, considering she was in the bottom two last week. But based on what the judges have said, she and everyone else are destined for stardom regardless. Being on "Idol" means rarely having to hear a discouraging word.
Tyler Perry says he was a victim of some not-so-civil treatment by Atlanta police.
An internal investigation has been launched into the filmmaker and TV producer's claim that two officers acted hostilely toward him during a traffic stop because he is black, and only relented when a black officer showed up and apparently recognized Perry, E! News confirmed Wednesday.
So, what does Perry have to say about the incident?
The "Good Deeds" director described his version of events in detail on his Facebook page on Sunday, writing that he was driving to the airport from his Atlanta-area studio without his usual security detail and was pulled over for making a left turn from a right lane -- a maneuver he attempted to ensure he wasn't being followed.
According to Perry, the officer who approached his window asked, "Why do you think someone would be following you?" After which, he wrote, another cop banged on the passenger-side window.
The second officer, Perry wrote, asked, "What's wrong with you?" and when the driver's-side officer explained that Perry thought he might be followed, the officer repeated, "Why do you think someone is following you? What's wrong with you?"
Before he could answer, Perry recounted, the driver's-side officer ordered him to put his foot on the brake, then reached for the car's on/off switch.
"I finally realized that he thought that switch was the key," Perry wrote, "so I told him that it wasn't the key he was grabbing. I reached down into the cup holder to get the key, not realizing that the key had a black leather strap on it. As I grabbed it they both tensed up and I dropped it as I heard my mother's voice from when I was a little boy.
"My mother would always say to me, 'If you get stopped by the police, especially if they are white policemen, you say 'yes sir' and 'no sir,' and if they want to take you in, you go with them. Don't resist, you hear me? Don't make any quick moves, don't run, you just go.'"
Perry claims that the officers continued to badger him about why he might be followed.
"It was so hostile. I was so confused," he wrote. "It was happening so fast that I could easily see how this situation could get out of hand very quickly. I didn't feel safe at all. But one officer stopped his questioning and said, 'We may not let you go. You think you're being followed, what's wrong with you?' At this point, I told him that I wanted to get out of the car. I wanted the passersby to see what was happening."
When he got out, Perry wrote, another cop pulled up -- a black cop -- and "took one look" at Perry, "an 'oh no' look on his face."
"He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone," he continued. "After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic. I said all of that to say this: do you see how quickly this could have turned for the worse?"
"RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!" Perry concluded.
The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to E! News that they have confirmed that Perry was involved in a traffic stop with two officers and that his claims, "as expressed by him publicly," have been referred to the department's Office of Professional Standards.
The Los Angeles County Coroner released the final coroner's report for Whitney Houston on Wednesday. The singer died on Feb. 11 at the Beverly Hills Hilton, one day before the Grammy Awards. The official cause of death was accidental drowning and "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use."
The 42-page document, obtained by TODAY.com, gives a detailed description of the scene inside her room at the hotel and details of the investigation.
According to the report, Houston's assistant suggested the star take a bath to prepare for the pre-Grammys activities occurring that evening. The assistant then left to pick up items at Neiman Marcus, and when she returned, she found Houston, 48, face down and unresponsive in the bathtub. The assistant and a bodyguard pulled the singer out of the tub.
The detective on the scene noted that Houston had "possibly overdosed on a narcotic substance, prescription medications, over the counter medications, and alcohol." Prescription medications found at the scene included Xanax, amoxicillin, Prednisone and antibiotics. An open bottle of champagne was also in the room.
The coroner's report indicated that there were multiple items on the bathroom counter, including "an ashtray filled with multiple cigarette butts," "a small spoon with a white crystal like substance in it and a rolled up piece of white paper" and "a bottle of prescription medications." In one of the counter drawers, detectives found "remnants of a white powdery substance, and a portable mirror on the base."
TMZ reported on March 30 that official documents indicated that the "white powdery substance" was cocaine. The report released Wednesday did not identify that substance as cocaine.
Houston's initial autopsy indicated that she had taken cocaine shortly before she died, and coroner spokesman Craig Harvey said in a March 22 news conference that her body showed signs of "chronic usage."
The final report noted that at the time of her death, Houston had cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, Benadryl and muscle relaxants in her system. The autopsy also indicated her body was "well built, muscular and fairly well nourished."
And of course, during the off-season, it was revealed that Chris Meloni, the dearly missed star of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," would be joining the cast as a vampire named Roman. Show creator Alan Ball revealed to TVLine that the new character would be "an ancient, powerful vampire who holds the fate of Bill and Eric in his hands."
Whew! That's a whole heck of a lot for Trubies to look forward to! And fortunately, though waiting sucks, it's also almost over.
Stephen Colbert unveils his Super PAC kit on "The Colbert Report."
By Chris Michaud, Reuters
Comedy show "The Colbert Report" won a prestigious Peabody Award on Wednesday for its segments on SuperPACs, in which host Stephen Colbert launched his own SuperPAC as a satirical protest against political spending.
The Peabodys, the oldest in broadcasting, recognize excellence in television and radio broadcasting, as well as by webcasters, producing organizations and individuals.
It was the second Peabody for "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central's satirical look at current events and the news.
"Launching his own SuperPAC as a satirical protest against megabucks politics, Colbert mixed cerebral comedy with inspired sight gags, interviews and preposterously funny monologues," the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which administers the awards, said in a statement.
Colbert, who assumes the persona of a pompous, conservative talk show host on the program, built the segments around his establishment of the Colbert SuperPAC.
Colbert won his first Peabody in 2008.
Other winners ranged from television game show "Jeopardy!" and IFC's satire "Portlandia" to news coverage of the Arab Spring popular uprisings by Al Jazeera English, CNN, CBS News and National Public Radio.
Updated 9:20 a.m. ET: Mary J. Blige has since commented on the commercial controversy, telling TMZ, “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that's not what was happening in that clip." She added, "I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw go out."
Burger King has apologized to Blige and her fans for releasing the early cut.
A Burger King commercial featuring Mary J. Blige singing about chicken was pulled from company's YouTube channel Tuesday, though the company denied the action was due to heavy criticism.
The company said the ad was pulled due to “licensing issues,” but did not specify what those issues were. The company said it hoped to have the Blige ads back soon, but wouldn't say if they would be edited, the Associated Press reported.
The commercial features Blige standing on top of a table at the fast-food chain, microphone in hand, singing about the franchise’s crispy chicken wrap. (As of press time, you could still watch the ad at Gawker.)
“You still have so much more to contribute to the arts and entertainment game that there was no reason for you to stoop to stereotypes," Renay Alize wrote to Blige in a post at Madame Noire. "And I know what you’re thinking, everybody across the world loves chicken. It’s true, most people get down with the poultry; but as a black woman, singing passionately about chicken is not the move!”
Rich Juzwiak at Gawker wrote that mocking of the ad was "approaching meme levels," but pointed out that actress Octavia Spencer wasn't criticized for rhapsodizing about cooking chicken in the hit movie "The Help." Juzwiak also wrote, "if the issue is with Blige selling out, well, that's been happening for years," pointing out that the singer has sold fragrances on the QVC shopping channel in the past.
Marketing consultant Steve Stoute, who has worked closely with Blige, tweeted, “The issue is the burger king commercial is that these agencies visit culture and then do work that is so inauthentic it's embarrassing."
But some find merit in the controversy.
“The Burger King spot — blasphemous as many thought it was — did something her recent career moves haven’t been able to do: They got people talking about Mary J. Blige again,” journalist Adam Graham wrote in The Detroit News. “And if fans debate that she’s above doing fast food ads, maybe it leads to a renewed appreciation of her talents and what she should stand for, which in the end isn’t all that bad.”
Representatives of Blige have yet to comment on the matter.
If judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson want "American Idol" to have serious tone, they might want to start by toning down their own quips.
Our long national nightmare is over. Heejun Han was voted off “American Idol” last week, thus restoring the show to the super-serious competition that it should be.
At least that was one message communicated on the show over the past few weeks, as the judges and mentor Jimmy Iovine were visibly irritated at Han’s irreverence. It was all capped off on Billy Joel week, when Han apparently disrespected “My Life.”
Of course, it's not like “My Life” is a soulful power ballad or song with a great deal of meaning. It’s hard to see how a song like that would require the need for seriousness. (Although it’s possible that’s what Steven Tyler thought, since he didn’t seem all that familiar with the Billy Joel songbook).
But the implication was clear. Han wasn't giving the competition the proper gravitas, and though he corrected himself last week, it was too late to save his “Idol” chances.
This feedback, of course, came from judges who are all about the quips. Tyler, who was the most obviously offended, has replaced Simon Cowell as the king of the one-liners. For example, when he told Joe Magrane that things were “hot, humid and happening … just like your daughter,” it seems unlikely Magrane got the impression that his teenaged daughter, Shannon, would be in a competition with something akin to the atmosphere at Julliard. Not exactly an example of a judge taking his role seriously.
He’s not the only judge to show some irreverence -- just look at how Randy Jackson dresses, for goodness sake. Nor is the “Idol” brand serious when the judges are silent. Look at the Ford music videos that air every week. Do those clips look like they're done by serious minds?
Han definitely was a comic-singer hybrid. “Idol” gave him that storyline, based on all the audition footage of him cutting down one of his group-mates and being self-deprecating on camera. He was smart to keep that up as long as he could, since he had a better shot of winning by being funny and likable than he did for his vocals.
And it’s no injustice that he got voted off when he did. To suddenly criticize him for his jokes, however, is a double standard. First, because that’s how “Idol” sold him initially, and second, because that’s how everyone else around him was acting.
It's not hard to see why Iovine wasn’t a fan. He’s quick with the cracks himself, but he has to sell the winner’s records and get radio play. It’s understandable that he would skewer someone he thought could only contend by being funny instead of singing well, since personality may not translate in the recording studio.
But the judges? Come on. They might say that it’s a singing competition, but that’s not entirely correct. It’s a TV show. It’s all about entertaining the audience. If it were just about musical ability, the show wouldn’t spend so much time reminding us that Phillip Phillips worked in a pawn shop and Skylar Laine is a country girl who shoots things.
And the judges and Ryan Seacrest know that. They keep things light when they can because the audience likes to laugh -- depending on the performer -- more than they like to actually hear the vocals.
There were plenty of reasons for Han to go. But not taking it seriously? Really? The judges should look in the mirror and recognize the double standard there.
Ryan Gosling apparently saved a British woman's life in New York.
By Courtney Garcia, TODAY.com contributor
Just when Ryan Gosling couldn’t get any better, he did. The actor apparently saved a British woman from getting hit by a taxi in New York on Tuesday.
The woman, Laurie Penny, is a writer who contributes to The New Statesmen, Independent, Guardian, Al-Jazeera, and The Nation, according to her Twitter account, where she broke the news of Gosling’s heroic endeavor.
In disbelief, Penny tweeted, “I literally, LITERALLY just got saved from a car by Ryan Gosling. Literally. That actually just happened.”
“I was crossing 6th avenue in a new pink wig. Not looking the right way because I am from London,” Penny tweeted. “Ryan Gosling grabbed me away from a taxi…He did not say 'hey, girl.'He said 'hey, watch out!'”
The actor's action was not lost on bystanders, who expressed jealously over Penny’s encounter.
Penny added, “Identity of no-idea-if-actually-a-manarchist-but-definitely-a-decent-sort Ryan Gosling confirmed by girl near me, who said 'you lucky [expletive].”
The Canadian-born actor also broke up a Manhattan street fight in August, and despite praise, later told MTV News he wished he’d stayed out of it.
Some New Yorkers, however, are pretty excited about the latest Gosling good deed.
“I see so many celebrities I don't care about around the city, on a regular basis. But I still haven't bumped into him. It's not fair,” writes a reader going as PlumNYC on Gothamist. “Apparently I need to get myself into some kind of predicament and he will come save the day. I'm going to run around downtown in different states of distress until he finds me.”
It's been almost 13 years since "American Pie" introduced movie audiences to a slew of up-and-coming young actors and their wacky, pie-assaulting, flute-abusing characters. Now they're back again with "American Reunion," and TODAY's Matt Lauer sat down with Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid and Eugene Levy on Wednesday to see if they're up to their old hijinks.
"I love a good hijink," said Levy, deadpanning, then adding that the cast actually were quite sober and real pros, compared to their characters. "On the first 'American Pie' the one thing that I noticed about this group of extremely talented young actors was how professional they were on the set. And of course, 13 years later, they're still the most professional people to work with on the set."
Hannigan (who currently stars on "How I Met Your Mother") admitted she felt she'd changed the most out of the group, thanks to motherhood. "I have a kid and one on the way, and I just feel old," she said.
(Though not too old. She had told Martha Stewart, who appeared on the show to discuss Easter crafts, that she was building a craft room in her home -- and stuck around to decorate eggs later on.)
Reid, Klein and Hannigan are winning personalities, but it was Levy who stole the interview, going along with Lauer's reveal that his widowed character smokes dope with another character's mother. "We used to refer to it as getting high," said Levy. "From what I read back in the '60s."
Actor Jack Wagner and pro partner Anna Trebunskaya were eliminated from "Dancing" on Tuesday.
By Anna Chan, TODAY
Sabrina Bryan. Brandy. Audrina Patridge.
Besides not winning the coveted mirror ball trophy on “Dancing With the Stars,” the three former contestants have something else in common: earlier than expected ousters from the ballroom bash despite their dancing abilities.
But no more! Host Tom Bergeron revealed on the elimination show Tuesday that "after next week and for the subsequent three weeks," it’s the judges who will get the final say.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from you, unhappy to see good dancers go,” Tom explained. “The bottom two couples will dance simultaneously for the judges, who will then decide who goes. This dance duel will give … one last chance for the best dancer to stay in the competition.”
Not a bad move to ensure that the celebs with more dancing ability but smaller fan bases will stick around. So goodbye for a month, unexpected eliminations!
However this change may not address what appears to be the judges playing favorites, and may make matters worse for a short while. So step it up, Melissa Gilbert! (The judges will likely be back to nitpicking the actress next week, especially since it seems head judge Len Goodman had shared some of the happy pills he admitted to taking Monday with Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.)
Would the new change have impacted this week’s elimination if it had already been in place? It’s hard to tell.
Actor Jack Wagner and musician Gavin DeGraw were left standing under the spotlights of shame after it was revealed they received the fewest votes this week, but both received very positive comments from the judges.
Len called Jack’s samba his “best dance,” and said Gavin’s rumba showed good week-to-week progression. Both men had received a (very) generous 24 for their performances.
But in the end, Gavin’s fans gave him an edge, and he’ll be back to perform next week for Rock Week.
It was a bittersweet exit for the former star of “General Hospital” and “Melrose Place.” With this being Memorable Year Week, he danced to the memory of his first meeting with his long-lost daughter, Kerry. “I’m just so grateful to be part of last night,” he said of the chance to perform that special moment for viewers.
After months of grueling workouts and scale-side showdowns, the contestants on "The Biggest Loser" got a big break on Tuesday night. Instead of stressing about shedding pounds, it was time to relax and shed their old looks for this season's makeover episode.
With the help of celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves and "How Do I Look?" host Jeannie Mai -- not to mention the added incentive of an invitation to meet First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House -- the "Losers" had no trouble letting go of old clothes, old hairdos and recent hair-don'ts (as in that goatee-gone-wild that once called Mark's chin home).
For Conda that meant saying so long to several inches of her hair, which she chose to donate to Locks of Love. (Way to change your look and your mean-girl reputation, Conda!) She also said goodbye to her natural brown hair color for a blonde look, which led to her new self-dubbed nickname: Blonda.
For Kim, who's already slimmed down to a size most players don't see until the finale night, the makeover mostly gave her a chance to try on new dresses that suited her impressive figure.
Mark, Buddy and Jeremy's big reveals involved shaves and shorter haircuts (well, Mark can't exactly go any shorter) in addition to the usual new duds. They looked great, but none of them really compared to Conda or Kim -- or Chris.
Yes, the makeover shocker of the night was that the woman who started the competition looking like a fitting Mrs. Klaus to her Santa of a husband, Roy, doesn't anymore. Chris dropped years, if not decades, just by swapping her gray, shapeless hair for a light-brown, kicky style. Just wait until Santa sees her!
And wait she will, because while all of the contestants were reunited with loved ones ready to ooh and ah over their looks at the White House, past competitors weren't invited. Still, Chris' kids seemed impressed, as did each player's family members -- especially Conda's, who didn't even recognize her at first.
Days after Keith Olbermann's sudden ouster from Current TV, the political commentator addressed his departure from the cable network with David Letterman on CBS' "Late Show" on Tuesday.
“I screwed up," Olbermann said after Letterman asked whether Current TV and former president Al Gore knew what they were doing. “I screwed up really big on this. Let’s just start there. I thought we could do this. It’s my fault that it didn’t succeed in the sense that I didn’t think the whole thing through."
Olbermann continued: "I didn’t say, ‘You know, if you buy a $10 million chandelier, you should have a house to put it in. Just walking around with a $10 million chandelier isn’t going to do anybody a lot of good, and it’s not going to do any good to the chandelier.' And then it turned out we didn’t have a lot to put the house on to put the chandelier in, or a building permit, and I, I should have known that. And it is, it is my fault at heart.”
“You’re the chandelier?” Letterman asked. “I’m the chandelier,” Olbermann answered. “You are always pointing out how big my head is, so I think it’s a suitable analogy.”
The outspoken personality elaborated further, bringing up his past appearance last September on "Late Show" when he did the Top 10 list on Letterman's show poking fun at his gig at Current TV. It featured Olberman reading No. 2: “Better watch now because things could go wrong in a hurry.” “We made that up the next day,” Olbermann said after giving Letterman a button with that exact saying, “because as I was saying, as you just said, if you know it’s not going to work or you suspect it’s not going to work, it doesn’t mean you stop trying to make it work.”
When Letterman asked whether Olbermann would see all of his contract money, Olbermann -- who threatened legal action against Current TV -- was frank.
“Well, up to last Thursday I got my money,” he said, before alluding to troubles early on in his stint. “The nice judge will decide whether or not I get more of my money. But quite seriously, you know, in that situation, what you’re thinking is, 'Oh, Lord, this is probably going to hit the water at some point', but what do you do? You have – you could bail out and say 'I’m getting out of this immediately', and trust me, I was thinking about that as early as like last July. We’d been on the air about 10 days and they fired the guy who knew what he was doing who I worked for and I went, 'Uh-oh'."
"But I went home and just sort of had a conversation with myself and said, ‘Look, these – the two important groups that are more important than what I do about myself – the audience who went to struggle to find where the network was and join me, and, most importantly, the staff'," he said, adding later, "I’m so proud of [the staff] because the show editorially was never better, but I let them down because the thing didn’t continue.”
Olbermann and Letterman also discussed the matter of Olbermann's unhappiness over car service issues.
"The story is that we changed car services a couple times. I got rid of them. Maybe there were like eight different car services," Olbermann told Letterman after the talk show host asked about a story that said he was upset about how the transportation was handled at his former employer. "The problem that's left out of that side of the story was that in at least one occasion, the car service stopped coming to get me because the bill hadn't been paid. And I know that makes me Attila the Hun because the bill wasn't paid."
And according to Olbermann, there were issues on the set of his show: "The lights went out a couple times during the show." The possible reason? "I don't think we paid the electric bill," Olbermann said, adding, "I come back from a commercial break and they started to get brown. They started to get dimmer and I thought, 'Here it comes. Mom always said this would happen.' "
Earlier in the interview, the two traded some good-natured jokes about the entire ordeal.
“How long ago did you leave MSNBC to go to the Current TV show?” Letterman asked. “It’s over a year, right?”
“I don’t know,” Olbermann said. “I have to consult my notes because after a certain point, I can’t keep track of where I’m working. I don't have any idea." Letterman then proceeded to give Olbermann an "adjustable business card."
(TODAY.com is powered by msnbc.com, which is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal, which operates MSNBC TV.)
Current terminated its contract with Olbermann last Friday approximately one year after he joined the network. Eliot Spitzer replaced him with a new program, "Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer," that evening, which made no mention of Olbermann. Network founders Gore and Joel Hyatt issued a letter Friday announcing the parting of ways.
Daniel Craig in "Skyfall." At least it looks like he's keeping the gun.
By msnbc.com staff
Daniel Craig has certainly brought new life to the James Bond series. But now he’s messing with tradition.
Advertising Age is reporting that in the upcoming film “Skyfall” -- the 23rd installment of the series due out in November -- Bond drinks Heineken in at least one scene instead of his usual martini.
Cue Dennis Hopper voice: “Heineken??!!” (Oh and that link contains movie quotes some people may find objectionable.)
Bond "is a perfect fit for us," said Lesya Lysyj, chief marketing officer of U.S. importer Heineken USA, who outlined the 2012 advertising plans in an interview. He is the "epitome of the man of the world," referring to the name of the brand's global campaign.
The campaign will be part of a larger strategy for its other brands including Newcastle Brown Ale and Amstel light.
Heineken is the second most popular imported beer in the United States. Corona is first.
Film director James Cameron talks with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet during the shooting of a crucial post-sinking scene in "Titanic." The newly released 3-D version of the film will show the sky as it actually appeared that night, thanks to astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson's goading.
Thanks to Tyson's persistence, moviegoers who go to "Titanic" in 3-D will see a truer representation of the night sky when Rose (played by Kate Winslet) looks up into the heavens after the ship sinks. "That sky, I would say, was the most important sky in the movie," Tyson said. And in the original 1997 version of the film, it was wrong.
In a widely quoted interview with the British magazine Culture, Cameron said the sky scene was the only shot he fixed for this year's 3-D re-release:
"It's because Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is one of the U.S.' leading astronomers, sent me quite a snarky email saying that, at that time of year, in that position in the Atlantic in 1912, when Rose is lying on the piece of driftwood and staring up at the stars, that is not the star field she would have seen, and with my reputation as a perfectionist, I should have known that and I should have put the right star field in.
"So I said, 'All right, you son of a b**ch, send me the right stars for the exact time, 4:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, and I'll put it in the movie.' So that's the one shot that has been changed."
Rose (Kate Winslet) looks up at the stars in this scene from "Titanic."
The basic problem was that a space-savvy observer would see that the sky in the original version of the movie was unrecognizable, and in fact was produced by mirroring made-up stars on the left and right halves of the screen. Tyson saw that as a needlessly sloppy move, and he made that opinion known to Cameron and his team in a succession of letters, emails and personal encounters. He wrote about the "Titanic" trip-up and other Hollywood missteps in his 2007 book, "Death by Black Hole." You can watch him tell the tale about "Titanic" and other sci-fi movies in this video clip:
Neil deGrasse Tyson on inaccuracies in science-fiction movies and the "Titanic" night sky.
When Cameron's people finally asked Tyson to provide a better sky, the astrophysicist used a standard planetarium program to generate the star field for the proper latitude and time of night, captured a high-resolution image and sent it off to the filmmakers.
"The Big Dipper came out nicely," Tyson said.
The sky was initially fixed in the bonus materials for a special DVD version of "Titanic" a few years ago. "I took that as a triumph and let it be," Tyson told me. Now the corrected sky appears in the big-screen version of the film itself, thanks to post-production wizardry.
Tyson said he can understand why it took a big re-release for Cameron to change the sky. "As a director, you don't want to have to rethink all that, and I respect that," he said. Tyson said his respect for Cameron has grown even more now that the right stars will be on display in theaters around the world.
Will Cameron put the space-savvy S.O.B.'s name in the credits for the 3-D movie? Tyson says he doesn't know, and really doesn't care.
"If he does, that's fine," Tyson told me. "I'm a servant of the public interest and the public's appetite for information about the universe. I get these calls all the time. ... The mere fact that an artist cares about getting the science right, and thereby transmitting that science literacy to the consumers of that art — that's enough reward for me."
Ashton Kutcher at the 47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards on April 1.
By Us Weekly
Ashton Kutcher's no king of country.
The recently separated "Two and a Half Men" star, 34, was one of the unexpected infiltrators at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. To present the Female Vocalist of the Year award, the star wore a ten-gallon hat and over-the-top county western garb -- and sang some excruciating bars of George Strait's "I Cross My Heart" before handing over the trophy to Miranda Lambert.
Upon reflection, Lambert herself wasn't amused by Kutcher's schtick. The star, 28, tweeted late Monday: "Was Ashton Kutcher making fun of country or is it just me? Watching it back now and I'm kinda wondering?"
Fellow country singer Justin Moore was more direct -- and visceral. In the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he tweeted, "Seen Ashton kutcher at the acms tonight. What a douche! I don't care for people making a mockery of the way country artists' dress."
"Dancing" star Jaleel White and his pro partner Kym Johnson have something to say about recent rehearsal rumors.
By Ree Hines, TODAY contributor
Following a day filled with rumors of bad behavior outside of the ballroom and odd behavior in the ballroom, "Dancing With the Stars" hopeful Jaleel White and his pro partner Kym Johnson have responded to the controversies.
On Monday, a report alleged that the actor lashed out at Johnson after stepping on her foot in rehearsals. He was then said to have traded barbs with pro Mark Ballas and show producers who stepped in to defend Johnson.
"You know what? Everyone has stressful weeks – good weeks and bad weeks," Johnson explained. "We probably had more of a stressful week. But it wasn't anything like, obviously, a tabloid story."
"People have to realize this is a competition, and I had no idea how much the tabloids just besieged this show," he added. "It's never been a part of my life at all. Hopefully we can just move past this week. … I had a manicure with this girl this week. That's all I need to say. I don't need to say anything else."
"I don't share these characters with anybody," he told "ET." "You got to go deep to go to that place. (There were) a lot of distractions this week and to be able to pull that out -- you just feel like you caught a winning touchdown."
Now it all makes sense -- sort of.
What do you think about the "Dancing" drama? Do you think the rumors were really exaggerated, or do you believe White and Johnson have simply decided to forgive and forget the incident? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!
From left: Zak Starkey, Dhani Harrison, James McCartney, Sean Lennon.
By Courtney Garcia, msnbc.com contributor
UPDATED 7:10 a.m. ET: James McCartney has clarified some of the statements he made to the BBC on his Facebook page, noting: "Well, looks like quite some attention being given to my BBC interview! Honestly, I was just thinking out loud about playing with Beatles family friends, nothing more. My band’s going to be on tour in the UK and US for most of this year, and the shows are going great! I'm so grateful.... Lots of love to you all...!"
Sgt. Pepper may have recruited new members to the Lonely Hearts Club Band. Four sons of the four Beatles may be looking to form a group of their own.
James McCartney has reached out to Sean Lennon, Dhani Harrison and Zak Starkey to create the next generation of The Beatles, the BBC reports. In an interview Monday, the 34-year-old musician, who’s released three EPs on his own, said embracing the legacy of the Fab Four has worked to his advantage so far, thus he wouldn’t be opposed to a reincarnation of the ensemble. But not all the sons may agree.
“I don't think it's something that Zak wants to do,” James remarked. “Maybe Jason [another of Ringo Starr's sons] would want to do it. I'd be up for it. Sean seemed to be into it, Dhani seemed to be into it. I'd be happy to do it.”
Zak Starkey has already had a respectable career, serving as drummer for The Who and Oasis. His younger brother Jason performs with a few bands on the indie circuit. Sean Lennon has found some success as a solo artist, and signed briefly to Capitol Records before launching his own label. He’s additionally done work as a film composer and social activist. And Dhani Harrison made his musical debut in 2001 on his father’s final release, “Brainwashed,” which he completed upon the death of his father George.
Dhani Harrison told The Guardian in 2003, "I don't really plan to be a pop star; I just want to be able to make music without the whole My Dad thing hanging over me."
However, even McCartney realizes that the musical bar has been set awfully high.
“I then dreamt of being better than The Beatles,” he said. “I'm not sure if I can do that. If anything, I would love to be equal to The Beatles -- but even that's quite tough.”
Fans might concur.
New Yorker editor Ben Greenman tweeted, “Can we all agree that this is a bad idea?”
He also wondered why no headline writer had used the tag, "Here come the sons." Here you go, Ben.
"My first song that I remember falling love with was a Whitney Houston song: 'I Will Always Love You,'" Rihanna shared. "It was really inspiring and it made me develop a passion for music, so really, she's partly responsible for me being here in this industry."
The "We Found Love" singer added she understands the type of commitment needed to undertake such a meaningful part.
"That would be something that I would have to give my entire life to do, because I would really want to pull it off," Rihanna told reporters. "That's a huge, huge role and whoever does it has to do a good job."
Jon Stewart would like for GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney’s supporters to be just a little bit more enthusiastic about endorsing their choice for president. Also -- following a clip in which he showed former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, saying "Obama" when he meant "Romney" -- he'd like them to be able to keep their tongues from not tripping over those endorsements.
In a segment he dubbed "Jumping on the Blandwagon," "The Daily Show" host pointed out how those who have thrown their support behind Romney seem to be picking him only because the pickings are slim.
“We’re entering a phase where I think it becomes counterproductive if this drags on much longer,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, “so that’s why I think we as conservatives need to coalesce behind Mitt Romney.” A solid argument, Stewart joked: "We have voted enough." Florida senator Marco Rubio was also shown saying he’ll endorse Romney “because he is going to be the Republican nominee.” As if there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
According to Stewart, these endorsements pale alongside late senator Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of President Obama back in 2008 -- a rousing thumbs-up speech that had the surrounding crowd standing and cheering with excitement. It didn't even compare to actor George Kennedy’s 1996 endorsement of the product BreathAsure, he said.
Stewart did hold out hope for Romney’s base to show some promising support, but that was quickly deflated when former New York governor George Pataki was shown saying, "Mitt is not a perfect candidate, he has a number of problems, and he needs to do more to reach out to the Latinos...."
So who was left to really sell Mitt to the populace? His wife? Nope.
Stewart aired a clip from a phone interview with Mrs. Romney, where the reporter asked if Mitt was really as stiff as he comes off. She hesitated before saying, "Well ... I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out because he’s not stiff.”
Lots of room still on that Romney bandwagon, guys.
There's a war of words going on between "Community" co-star Chevy Chase and the show's creator, Dan Harmon.
By Josh Grossberg, E! Online
If you ask Chevy Chase, there's not much solidarity right now in "Community."
The comic veteran let loose an expletive-filled voice mail to Dan Harmon, the creator of his hit NBC comedy, which has since leaked to the Internet.
The rant was in retaliation for the producer purportedly insulting Chase at "Community's" wrap party -- this after the "Saturday Night Live" alum walked off the set during filming of a key scene in the season finale.
Confused yet? Here's a timeline on how the bad blood got started.
Word of a feud first surfaced on Reddit in a forum for fans revealing that Harmon publicly called out Chase with a "[expletive] you" speech in front of his wife and daughter for storming off before the production could finish up the third season's final episode.
Per Deadline, Chase left the bash as soon as the "Community" mastermind went off on him and subsequently left Harmon a scathing, profanity-filled phone message in which he blasted him for the ugly scolding and explained that he bailed on filming because of Harmon's failure to supply a script.
"You didn't give us a script to begin with so nobody knew what the [expletive] was going on," railed the actor. "I don't get talked to like that by anybody, certainly not in front of my wife and daughter."
Chevy, who plays moist towelette tycoon Pierce Hawthorne on the show about students at Colorado's fictional Greendale Community College, then suggested Harmon play the voice mail for anyone who agrees that what the producer did was good form. Alas, Harmon did just that and the tirade found its way to the Web.
He also addressed, if obliquely, the bad blood between them on his Twitter page.
In response to one follower who wrote, "Nothing warrants what you did to Chevy in front of his wife and daughter. Chevy may be a [expletive], but you're no better," Harmon tweeted : "Very brave and sensitive of you! Absolutely ingenious topic to pretend to know anything about with just the right audience."
Chevy, however, isn't the only "Community" member who has a beef with the boss, according to a show insider, who claims that actors didn't receive scripts in a timely manner.
The insider notes that Chevy hasn't exactly been a sweetheart on set, leading to inevitable friction between the two.
"Chevy doesn't remember his lines, so we have to make cue cards for him to read. Also if things aren't going well because the script is changing so constantly, Chevy gets mad and wants to go home -- and does go home," revealed the source.
Chase's diva antics and constant demands for more lines have also made it harder for the crew and nearly led to a physical confrontation between the actor and his showrunner.
"Basically, you're balancing two prickly people," adds the insider.
Reps for the funnyman, Harmon and NBC were unavailable for comment.
When asked about his future on "Community" recently, Chase -- whose reputation for being difficult on set dates back to his "SNL" days and who once feuded with shock jock Howard Stern--told the Huffington Post, "I probably won't be around that much longer."
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels will return in "Dumb and Dumber 2."
By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, NBC News
Remember that "Dumb & Dumber" prequel back in 2003, "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd"? Yeah, well, now that you remembered it, go ahead and forget about that. It starred Derek Richardson and Eric Christian Olsen instead of Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey and reviews were pretty lousy. (Wrote Peter Travers in Rolling Stone, "(Olsen) looks like Carrey being demonically possessed by Jerry Lewis.")
But you can wipe that one out of your memory banks (try Rekall, I hear they're good at this) now, because a real "Dumb and Dumber" follow-up, a true sequel, is on its way, with Carrey and Daniels returning in the main roles from the 1994 flick.
Peter Farrelly of writing/directing team The Farrelly Brothers told ComingSoon.net that the sequel will start filming in September. He was quick to distance himself from the prequel, saying "We did not do 'Dumb and Dumberer.' That was a studio thing."
He told the site that Daniels and the Farrellys were always on board, but it took a commitment from Jim Carrey to move things forward.
Daniels, of course, is anything but dumb in Aaron Sorkin's next project, "The Newsroom," in which he stars. The trailer for that HBO show made the Internet rounds Monday.
The news follows on the heels of Will Ferrell announcing that he'll make a sequel to his 2004 hit comedy "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."
Morrissey performs in Manchester, England, in 2004.
Smiths fans, be happy. And sad. A ton of remastered songs from the 1980s "mope rock" favorites are coming your way.
Rhino Records’ April 3 re-release of The Smiths catalog is sure to evoke mixed emotions among fans: first, elation that the catalog was recently remastered by guitarist Johnny Marr, and second, an overwhelming sense of melancholy upon hearing Morrissey’s pained vocals and woeful melodies again.
All of that, of course, was what made The Smiths unique back in the day and eventually turned them into legends, despite the fact that they never made much of an impression on the American charts. They were, however, highly influential. By going against the grain and producing gloomy guitar rock in the days when escapist synth pop ruled, the band helped set the stage for alternative rock. They’re also credited with helping to start Britpop, since the group made sure to mix its mope with a healthy dose of melody in many of its singles (“This Charming Man,” “William, It Was Really Nothing”).
The Smiths released four studio albums from 1984 to 1987. All of them are part of the re-release package, along with the live album “Rank” and the three collections of singles, B-sides and BBC sessions that once emanated from countless dorm rooms: “Hatful of Hollow,” “Louder Than Bombs” and “The World Won’t Listen.” If you’ve tried to find fresh copies of these albums but couldn’t it’s because several have gone out of print and “The World Won’t Listen” hasn’t even gotten an official U.S. CD release until now.
But be forewarned before taking this nostalgia trip. If you thought tracks like “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” “How Soon is Now,” or “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” came off as melancholy back in the Reagan Era, they’re a whole lot more wistful now that the once-trendy band -- and its core audience -- are both a quarter of a century older.
Talk about a reason to mope.
Check out a few Smiths classics below. And pick your head up and get over to Facebook to discuss the band.