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News 09/23/2007

In reality TV news: CBS's "Survivor: China" debuted Thursday with 15 million viewers. While that was enough eyeballs to win the night, the episode had the lowest ratings for a debut in series history. For those who missed the action, Steve "Chicken" Morris, a 47-year-old chicken farmer from Marion, VA, was the first castaway snuffed out. Also on Thursday, reality TV star Jason Wahler, known for his roles in the MTV shows "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" and "The Hills," and his rap mentor Bubba Sparxxx were eliminated on MTV's "Celebrity Rap Superstar."

Court officials in Las Vegas sent a formal apology to O.J. Simpson's lawyer after a "contract employee" illicitly snapped a photo of the Juice after his court hearing Wednesday. The court says the action was "abhorrent" and the issue has been "addressed." So far the photo has not surfaced online.

Salma Hayek and fiancé Francois Henri-Pinault welcomed daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault Friday, Hayek's first child and Henri-Pinault's third. "Mother and child are doing well," the actress and "Ugly Betty" producer's publicist said in a statement.

"E! News" and "Dancing with the Stars" personality Samantha Harris and husband Michael welcomed daughter Josselyn Sydney Hess at 1:49 a.m. on Sunday in Los Angeles. The new addition weighed in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces and measured 20 inches long. "Michael and I are ecstatic to have a little girl to welcome into our lives," Harris said. "We can't wait to introduce her to our family and friends in the morning!"

Starting Sept. 25, the first two seasons (and new third-season episodes, once they premiere) of CBS's "How I Met Your Mother" will be available for purchase on iTunes. The network is also offering a host of new Internet and mobile content from the show, including voicetones featuring Neil Patrick Harris' Barneyisms and the Bob Saget-narrated "How I Met Your Mother in 3 Minutes," the first two seasons condensed into an informative montage, and a "wedding album" of pictures from Marshall and Lily's nuptials and honeymoon on cbs.com.

In honor of overstuffed schedules and underfed coffers, Apple and FOX are offering a host of season/series premieres for free on iTunes for up to two weeks after their premieres on the network. Shows on the list include returing faves "Bones," "Prison Break," and "American Dad," and newbies "Back to You," "K-Ville," and "Kitchen Nightmares."

News 09/20/2007

In reality TV news: Jon Reep, a 35-year-old Hickory, NC native,  was revealed to be NBC's "Last Comic Standing 5," defeating St. Louis-born Lavell Crawford on Wednesday night. Also on Wednesday, Sara Mair, a 34-year-old cheese maker from Miami, FL, was eliminated on Bravo's "Top Chef 3."

Denise Richards went to court Wednesday to request an order of protection against Charlie Sheen to keep him away from their two daughters, three-year-old Sam and two-year-old Lola. The actress' lawyer said she feels Sheen "has significant personal issues which he has failed to address," hence her desire to make him keep his distance. "Clearly the mother of my children has no interest in responsible coparenting when it comes to my relationship with our girls," an angry Sheen said in response to his ex-wife's action. "A day of legal reckoning for her is fast approaching."

Zsa Zsa Gabor's lawsuit against her daughter, Francesca Hilton, over family money was dismissed Wednesday, the day trial was due to begin. Gabor and her ninth husband, Frederic Von Anhalt, claim Hilton forged her mother's signature in order to take out a loan on Gabor's $14 million Bel Air home and stole $2 million from the transaction. Gabor, who is currently recuperating from an operation on her legs, plans to file a revised lawsuit, her lawyer said.

TiVo on the fritz and you missed the latest episode of "Grey's Anatomy?" Don't panic. Disney-ABC Television and AOL have signed a deal to bring ABC's primetime lineup to AOL Video the day after original episodes air. Among the shows you can now choose to watch on your computer instead of your TV: "Brothers & Sisters," "Dancing with the Stars," "Dirty Sexy Money," and "Ugly Betty."

Talk radio host Cenk Uygur of Air America's morning show "The Young Turks" has accused Stephen Colbert of stealing his joke about how the Republican presidential candidates sounded like "Star Trek" Klingons while speaking about the value of honor. Uygur posted a clip on YouTube comparing his joke, which he told on Sept. 7, with Colbert's version, performed on "The Colbert Report" four days later. A spokeswoman for Colbert said he had no comment, but would probably address the issue on his show.

"Leave It to Beaver" star Ken Osmond is suing the Screen Actors Guild, claiming the union is sitting on $8.1 million it collected from foreign royalties and should distribute to actors. Osmond, who played troublemaker Eddie Haskell on the show, is seeking class-action status for the suit on behalf of at least 30,000 actors and others.

NBC's "The Singing Bee" has inspired a new set of board and computer games you can play in the privacy of your own home. The "Bee"-based games are expected to be in stores just in time for the holidays.

News 09/19/2007

In reality TV news: "Evil Dick" Donato, a 44-year-old bar manager from Los Angeles, CA, defeated his formerly estranged 21-year-old daughter Danielle by a 5 to 2 jury vote to win the $500,000 grand prize on CBS's "Big Brother 8" Tuesday night. Also on Tuesday, Lezlye Donahue, a 34-year-old Hurricane Katrina survivor from Metairie, LA, became the second contestant cut from NBC's "The Biggest Loser 4."

Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS Wednesday, alleging that the network made him a "scapegoat" for a discredited story about President Bush's National Guard service. In his suit, the former "CBS Evening News" anchor claims he fell victim to the network's "intentional mishandling" of the situation, clouding the final days of his career. He's seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. A CBS spokesman called Rather's allegations "old news" and said his claims lacked merit.

Robin Roberts said Wednesday on "Good Morning America" that she will begin chemotherapy Thursday after undergoing surgery for breast cancer last month. Roberts said she planned to show up at ABC in the morning to do her job as usual "and then head off for my chemotherapy."

O.J. Simpson appeared in court in Las Vegas Wednesday morning to be arraigned on eleven criminal counts, including first-degree criminal kidnapping, over an alleged casino-hotel room robbery last weekend. If convicted, Simpson could face life in prison. The judge set bail at $125,000 and ordered the fallen football player to surrender his passport.

News 09/18/2007

In reality TV news: Joe, 25-year-old medical web developer, was the sixth guy eliminated on VH1's "The Pick-Up Artist." The season finale airs next Monday.

Tracy Morgan admitted in Los Angeles court Tuesday to imbibing alcohol on Aug. 4, which is a violation of his probation on a DUI rap. The "30 Rock" star now must wear his SCRAM ankle bracelet for another 80 days and attend at least 10 additional AA meetings by Oct. 23. If he messes up again, he'll be slapped with 30 days in County Jail.

Vanessa Hudgens' former lawyer sued her Monday to collect $150,000 in legal fees he says he's owed from his days representing the teenager in connection with her songwriting and recording career. Brian Schall is alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

"General Hospital" star Kirsten Storms was charged Tuesday with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 percent stemming from her Sept. 7 traffic bust. The 23-year-old actress is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 2 in Van Nuys Superior Court.

Zsa Zsa Gabor was in recovery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Tuesday after undergoing surgery to treat infections in her legs. "The operation was successful, she's in recovery and in a couple of days she'll be OK," husband/embarrassment Frederic Von Anhalt told the Associated Press. The 90-year-old actress was partially paralyzed in a 2002 car accident that left her using a walker and wheelchair to get around.

Alicia Silverstone would rather go naked than eat meat. The actress will appear in her birthday suit in a new PETA television ad promoting vegetarianism set to debut Wednesday in Houston. Silverstone is shown emerging from a swimming pool while discussing the benefits of a meat-free diet (she covers her private parts with her arms.) "I wasn't always a vegetarian, but I've always loved animals," she said in a statement. "Physically, the effect has been amazing." The Texas metropolis was chosen for the ad because it regularly appears high on lists of cities with unhealthy eating habits, the animal rights group said.

O.J. Simpson was charged Tuesday with seven felonies, including kidnapping, in the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in a Las Vegas casino-hotel room. In all, Simpson is facing 11 criminal counts and could face life in prison if convicted. The fallen football star is currently being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

News 09/17/2007

NBC may be lagging in the ratings, but the Peacock Network came in second with 19 wins, including Outstanding Comedy Series for the critically beloved "30 Rock." The TV Academy sent "The Sopranos" off into that good night with a win for Outstanding Drama Series, the iconic HBO show's second win in that category and its third of the night. Creator David Chase also snagged a trophy for writing for the enigmatic finale "Made in America," and the episode "Kennedy and Heidi" won for directing. James Spader pocketed his third Lead Actor in a Drama Emmy for playing "The Practice" turned "Boston Legal" attorney Alan Shore. The TV Academy is also still liking Sally Field after all these years, bestowing the now-three-time winner with the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Walker family matriarch Nora on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters." Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert took it upon themselves to gift the Best Actor in a Comedy statue to former coworker and bud Steve Carell for his banner work on "The Office" after the actual winner, Carell's "Office" boss and current "Extras" star Ricky Gervais, was a no-show at the ceremony. And everyone loves "Ugly Betty's" America Ferrera, who now has a Lead Actress in a Comedy series Emmy to go along with her Golden Globe and SAG awards. HBO's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" came in second with six wins, including one for Outstanding Made-for-TV Movie. "Entourage's" Jeremy Piven scored his second win in a row for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy for playing über-agent Ari Gold. Jaime Pressly collected her first Emmy win for Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her role as Jason Lee's scheming ex-wife Joy on "My Name Is Earl." The second time was also the charm for "Lost's" Terry O'Quinn, who beat out fellow island oddball Michael Emerson...not to mention Emmy's recent aversion to 2005's Outstanding Drama winner...to win for Supporting Actor in a drama. Triumphing over adversity was Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama winner Katherine Heigl, who earlier in the evening had to correct the announcer who pronounced her name with a soft g. That was where the music died, though, because "The Amazing Race" won Outstanding Reality-Competition Program for the fifth year in a row. According to preliminary estimates, the Ryan Seacrest-hosted 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards averaged just 13.1 million viewers Sunday night, a record low for the already somewhat respect-deprived telecast. ABC's 2004 outing previously claimed the dubious honor of least-watched Emmys, with just 13.8 million viewers.

Brett Somers, the gravely voiced wiseacre to naughty Charles Nelson Reilly on TV's "Match Game," died last Saturday at her Connecticut home of stomach and colon cancer. She was 83.

MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann underwent an emergency appendectomy Friday...two days after his appendix burst, TV Week reports. The "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" host chalked the pain up to tummy troubles and went on to anchor the cable network's analysis of President Bush's latest Iraq war speech on Thursday. As of Monday afternoon Olbermann was still hospitalized, but hoping to return to the news desk later this week. Alison Stewart is filling in on "Countdown."

Mary Louise Parker has adopted a baby girl from Africa, People reports. The 43-year-old actress, who was nominated for two Emmys Sunday night, also has a three-year-old son, Will, with ex-boyfriend Billy Crudup.

TMZ has obtained an apparent audiotape of O.J. Simpson's alleged Las Vegas break-in. Simpson is heard launching into a profanity-laced tirade against the men he reportedly stole back his own sports memorabilia from, telling associates, "Don't let nobody out of this room," and yelling at the men, "You think you can steal my s--t and get away with it?" Well, it's not like they're trying to get away with murder. Simpson has since been booked on charges of robbery, burglary and assault and is being held without bail. A Nevada media judge has set a Wednesday hearing to cover the bond and possibly arraignment of Simpson, who is currently being held in the Clark County Detention Center.

David Duchovny is set to produce a live-action series for the ordinarily animated-centric Cartoon Network, along with "Even Stevens" creators Matt Dearborn and Robert Mora, per the Hollywood Reporter. The half-hour kids-oriented show will follow a junior high school student who turns his AV Club into a hard-hitting citywide newscast.

All news gathered from E! Online and other sources

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