Rosie O'Donnell is leaving The View for a second time. Her publicist, Cindi Berger, said the outspoken co-host of the ABC daytime chat show would depart next week to focus on her five children after the break-up of her marriage in November. O'Donnell, 52, returned to The View last summer. Her initial year-long stay ended in 2007. Whoopi Goldberg, Nicolle Wallace and Rosie Perez remain on the show, which was created by Barbara Walters in 1997. – AP
NBC probes news anchor’s Iraq lie
NBC News has assigned the head of its own investigative unit to look into statements the anchor Brian Williams made about his reporting in Iraq a dozen years ago, an episode that has ballooned into a full-blown credibility crisis for the network. Williams has apologised for falsely saying on the air that he was in a helicopter hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while in Iraq in 2003. He is the leading man at NBC’s news division, whose nightly newscast has topped its rivals in ratings for the better part of a decade. – AP
Sony boss steps down
Amy Pascal will step down as the co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and head of the film studio, nearly three months after the attack by hackers that revealed embarrassing emails written by her. One of the most powerful women in Hollywood, she will launch a major new production venture at the studio focused on movies, television and theatre, Sony Pictures said. After a career with Sony spanning nearly 20 years she came under fire for racist remarks about US president Barack Obama's presumed choice in movies that surfaced in leaked emails after the hacking. She also faced criticism for greenlighting the film that some say may have inspired the hacking: The Interview, a comedy about a plot to kill the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. – AP
Joke is on Pratt at award bash
Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt was teased about his early acting roles while being roasted at Harvard University as he received the Hasty Pudding Man of the Year award from America's oldest undergraduate drama troupe. Presenters joked that Pratt's portrayal of a minor character on The OC played a major role in the TV show's cancellation. They also bashed his role in the film Deep in the Valley, saying audiences asked for refunds after seeing it. Pratt described his day as "truly remarkable". His Parks and Recreation co-star Amy Poehler was honoured last month as Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year. – AP
Davis and Sarandon may reunite for Thelma & Louise anniversary
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon may be heading out on the road again – a quarter century after the release of their Oscar-winning film Thelma & Louise.
Davis says she and Sarandon are currently hashing out ways to mark 25th anniversary of the film about a girl’s road trip gone bad.
“There’s still so much affection for the movie and we loved it,” Davis says. “It seems like there should be some girl power celebrating going on.”
Davis and Sarandon, who still remain good friends, came up with the idea. Davis says now they’re talking over how to do it, focusing on a possible “live show or a tour.” She says they’re still trying to figure out “what’s possible” but says “people seem to like the idea”.
Davis is currently starring in her first season of ABC's Grey's Anatomy. She plays the hard-edged Dr Nicole Herman, who, along with being an ace surgeon, is suffering what she believes to be a fatal brain tumour. She is also prepping for her new Bentonville Film Festival which will push for more women and diversity in film. The competition, which kicks off on May 5 in the Arkansas city, says it's the first-ever film festival to offer winners guaranteed distribution.
The actress also founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a research-based organisation that promotes more diverse female characters in entertainment.
“There certainly are still great roles that come along that we see women in,” says Davis, “but we’re not seeing a wealth of female characters and we’re not seeing films that are populated by women.”
She says she hopes the Thelma & Louise anniversary will serve as a reminder "that it's possible to make a movie that's a cultural landmark starring women".
Davis says she enjoys her television gig but wouldn’t mind another juicy film role. “If it was a great part and it was shooting in China I’d be doing it. I’d find a way,” but adds, only if it is a really good role. “I’ve had such great parts and I’m a little fussy and haven’t run out of money yet so I like to wait until the really good things come along.” – AP
Screenwriter Stewart Stern dies aged 92
The screenwriter and two-time Academy Award nominee Stewart Stern, who's best known for writing the screenplay for Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause, has died. He was 92.
Stern died on Monday at a Seattle, Washington, hospital after a battle with cancer.
Stern was a Second World War veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He also wrote the scripts for The Last Movie, The Ugly American, Rachel, Rachel, and a handful of other films and television movies during a Hollywood career that spanned more than 50 years. Stern is the subject of an forthcoming documentary from the director Christopher McQuarrie.
He is survived by his wife. – AP
Journey guitarist sues San Franscico
The lead guitarist and founder of the iconic San Francisco rock band Journey sued the city on Friday over a US$240,000 (Dh882,000) fee to use a city landmark for his lavish wedding to a former reality television star.
Neal Schon married Real Housewives of DC star Michaele Salahi in December 2013 at the Palace of Fine Arts. For the reception, the couple rented an adjacent building that once housed the Exploratorium science museum.
Schon and his wife complain in their federal lawsuit that San Francisco officials unfairly jacked up the fee for the city’s permit six days before the wedding after learning the couple planned to broadcast the event as a pay-per-view television show. Schon called the last-minute fee hike “extortion” and unhappily paid for the permit so the wedding could proceed, according to the lawsuit.
Schon said he had initially agreed to pay the city $58,000. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office said the fee charged was appropriate. He acknowledged that the fee increased when officials learnt of the pay-per-view plan.
“The only thing unusual about the Schons’ wedding was that it evolved from small and secret to a live commercial broadcast, and the city’s fees evolved accordingly,” Matt Dorsey said. “There are no hard feelings on our part, and nothing about their lawsuit will diminish San Francisco’s affection for Journey.”
Journey are a popular band in the city, and their song Don't Stop Believin' became the unofficial theme song of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
Before starring in the 2010 season of “Housewives,” Salahi made headlines when she and her then-husband managed to crash a state dinner for India at the White House in 2009.
The Schons’ lawyers said they filed the lawsuit so others won’t go through the same experience with the city.
“City administrators are not supposed to make up what fees to charge people based on who they are, or because they agree to share their wedding – or anything else – on television,” said Rebecca Coll, one of Schon’s lawyers. “The Schons had a right to share their celebration with the world in real time without being penalised.”
Beyond the fee, the Schons complain that the city placed unfair restrictions on the festivities. The lawsuit alleges city officials banned the couple’s photographers from taking photos of the picturesque Palace rotunda on their wedding day.
The city also prohibited the couple from using one of the rooms in the adjacent building as they had planned. The city leases the building to a private school, which Schon had to pay $54,000 for a sublease. The theme of the reception was “royal, sexy, magic” and the couple had hoped to decorate three rooms using those themes.
The lawsuit alleges that city officials prohibited the couple from using the “sexy” theme after viewing its decor. Schon said city officials feared the room suggested “profane or pornographic thematic elements,” a charge Schon denies. “The room was tastefully decorated,” the lawsuit says. –AP