Holly to Bolly: Arnold Schwarzenegger quits Celebrity Apprentice, Natalie Portman welcomes baby girl, and more

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Arnold Schwarzenegger on Celebrity Apprentice: I quit

Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that he's through with The New Celebrity Apprentice, and he's blaming US president Donald Trump for the television reality show's recent poor performance.

The former California governor said he wouldn’t mind working with NBC and producer Mark Burnett again “on a show that doesn’t have this baggage.”

Schwarzenegger replaced the president as host of the show, but Trump remained as an executive producer. The president taunted Schwarzenegger for the show’s recent poor performance in the ratings, even mocking him during an address at the National Prayer Breakfast.

The show, which wrapped up its 15th season last month, averaged fewer than 5 million viewers per episode. That was lower than any other incarnation except for a 2010 Trump-hosted edition without celebrities, and the most poorly-rated edition among the youthful viewers NBC cares most about, the Nielsen company said. — AP

Natalie Portman welcomes baby girl

A representative for the Oscar-winning actress said Friday that Portman and husband, Benjamin Millepied, welcomed daughter Amalia on Feb 22.

This is the second child for Portman and Millepied, who wed in 2012. Their son, Aleph, is 6.

Portman, 35, was celebrated during Hollywood's recent awards season for her starring role in Jackie. She was nominated for best actress at Sunday's Academy Awards, but she did not attend the ceremony.

Millepied, 39, is a dancer and choreographer who worked on the film Black Swan. He is the founder and director of LA Dance Project, a contemporary dance company that works with emerging and established artists.- AP

Oscars chief reassures members

Cheryl Boone Isaacs (pictured), president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the Oscars, has sought to reassure academy members in an email, following the much-publicised Best Picture award mistake at last Sunday's show, which briefly saw La La Land mistakenly awarded the Oscar over actual winner Moonlight. In the email, Boone Isaacs cheekily refers to the ceremony as "one of the best — and certainly most dramatic and talked about — Oscar ceremonies of all time."

Isaacs goes on to give a set of bullet-pointed items she says the academy — a group of about 6,000 people from the film industry who vote for the Oscars — should be proud of. They include the "impeccable and effortless hosting job by Jimmy Kimmel," the "electric opening number" from Justin Timberlake" and the tribute to Katherine Johnson, one of the real-life women who inspired Hidden Figures.

She then addresses the best-picture fiasco and PwC, the accounting firm that has taken responsibility for it.

“By now, thanks to the non-stop coverage the past few days, we all know that the wrong envelope and the problems that ensued were caused by the failure of PwC’s accountants to follow established protocols and their delay in immediately remedying the situation,” Isaacs said. “Rest assured changes will be implemented to ensure this never happens again.” - AP

‘Hotel with the worst view in the world’ opens its doors in Bethlehem

A Palestinian guesthouse packed with artwork of the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy unveiled itself Friday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, with a sneak peek of what the owner sarcastically called the “hotel with the worst view in the world.”

Wisam Salsaa, 42, said the nine-room establishment named “The Walled Off Hotel” will officially open on March 11, but he offered a handful of reporters a tour of the hotel looking directly at the West Bank separation barrier. The barrier, which Palestinians consider to be a land grab that stifles their movement, is heavily decorated by artists and Banksy has previously painted several murals on a walled segment of it.

The hotel, several of whose rooms look onto an Israeli security watchtower, is awash in the trademark satirical work of the mysterious artist. The highlight is room number three, known as “Banksy’s Room,” where guests sleep in a king-size bed underneath Banksy’s artwork showing a Palestinian and an Israeli in a pillow fight.

The hotel also features a presidential suite and a museum with the artist’s politically-charged work. It has the markings of a gentleman’s club from the English colonial period. The entrance to one small niche accommodates a life-size figure of Arthur James Balfour signing his 1917 letter that came to be known as the Balfour declaration, and was the basis for the international push for the creation of Israel.

Rooms will cost from $30 a night. — AP

Alec Baldwin to put Trump trolling on paper

Actor Alec Baldwin is taking his Saturday Night Live impersonation of US president Donald Trump from the screen to the pages of a satirical White House memoir due for release later this year, Penguin Press has announced.

The co-authored parody political narrative You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year As President, by Baldwin and real-life novelist and radio host Kurt Andersen, is set to hit bookstores on November 7, the publisher said.

Viewer ratings have soared for Saturday Night Live, NBC's long-running weekly comedy sketch show, since Baldwin started appearing as Trump in a series of skits mocking the billionaire reality TV star turned politician in October.

The parodies, in which Baldwin portrays Trump as a dim-witted commander-in-chief with a short attention span, an oversized-ego and a Twitter addiction, have become an SNL staple, while also drawing the real-life ire of the Republican president.

Trump criticised the NBC show in December, calling it “totally unwatchable” and a “hit-job.”

“He was elected because he was the most frank presidential candidate in history, a man always eager to tell the unvarnished truth about others’ flaws as well as his own excellence,” Penguin said of Trump in a statement announcing the parody memoir. “Now that refreshingly compulsive ... candour is applied to his time as leader of the free world.” - Reuters

Michael Jackson’s Never (selling) Land back on the market

Michael Jackson’s famed Neverland Ranch in California is back on the market at a much reduced price of $67 million and with no mention of the late pop star in the real estate listing.

The sprawling 2,700-acre (1,100-hectare) estate, which once featured a zoo and theme park rides, is being touted for suitability for wine-making, keeping horses and a “lifestyle of relaxation and entertaining on a grand scale.”

The estate, which was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch several years ago, was last offered for sale in May 2015 at $100 million but failed to sell. — Reuters

Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui: No Hollywood agenda

Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who played a minor role in the Oscar-nominated Lion, says he has no interest in doing small parts in international films just to be visible abroad.

Siddiqui appears for just a few minutes in Garth Davis’ film, which also saw British/Indian lead Dev Patel pick up a best actor BAFTA, and the awards attention doesn’t seem to have gone to the actors’ head: “I’ve no interest in doing small parts in international films just to be visible abroad,” he says.

"I'm very happy with the work that I am getting here in my own country. Of course, I'm open to offers from any part of the world — Why just Hollywood? — as long as the part is interesting. I don't see Lion as my international launch." - IANS