Monday Sep 29, 2014

Wal-Mart: Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in crash

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and other people in a limousine struck from behind by a Wal-Mart truck on a highway in June are at least partly to blame for their injuries because they weren't wearing seatbelts, the company said in a court filing Monday....
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TV

Wal-Mart: Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in crash
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Wal-Mart: Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in crash

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and other people in a limousine struck from behind by a Wal-Mart truck on a highway in June are at least partly to blame for their injuries because they weren't wearing seatbelts, the company said in a court filing Monday. The filing was made in federal court in response to a lawsuit Morgan filed in July over the accident, which killed his friend James McNair, who was accompanying the former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" star back from a show in Delaware. Morgan spent several weeks in rehab with rib and leg injuries. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said in the filing that the passengers' injuries were caused "in whole or in part" by their "failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device," which it said constitutes unreasonable conduct. An attorney representing Morgan and the other plaintiffs called Wal-Mart's contentions "surprising and appalling." "It's disingenuous," attorney Benedict Morelli said. "It's not what they said they were going to do initially, which was take full responsibility. I'm very upset, not for myself but for the families I represent." The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and punitive and compensatory damages. It says the retail giant should have known that its truck driver had been awake for more than 24 hours before the crash and that his commute of 700 miles from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was "unreasonable." It also alleges the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said in an email that the company "continues to stand willing to work with Mr. Morgan and the other plaintiffs to resolve this matter." Passengers Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea and Millea's wife, Krista Millea, also are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Krista Millea was not in the limousine when the crash occurred but is a plaintiff because she has a related loss-of-services lawsuit stemming from the crash. Truck driver Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges in state court. A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash, a violation of New Jersey law. A report by federal transportation safety investigators said Roper was driving 65 mph in the minute before he slammed into the limo van. The speed limit on that stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction. Roper had been on the job about 13 1/2 hours at the time of the crash, the report concluded. Federal rules permit truck drivers to work up to 14 hours a day, with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Football commands highest TV ad prices
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Football commands highest TV ad prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Pro football pays the bills in prime-time television. NBC's "Sunday Night Football" charges $627,300 for a 30-second advertisement, more than any other program in prime-time broadcast television, according to a survey by Advertising Age. On its heels is CBS' new Thursday night football telecast, being shown this fall for the first time, at $483,333. Television's top-rated comedy, "The Big Bang Theory," is the scripted show with the priciest ads, at $344,827, Advertising Age said. Otherwise, ad prices don't always mesh with the Nielsen company's measurements of which programs get the biggest audience. That's because advertisers pay a premium to reach a younger audience For instance, CBS' "NCIS" is often television's most-watched scripted show each week, certainly the most popular drama. But with an ad price of $170,948, it didn't make the top 10 of Advertising Age's most expensive shows in which to buy commercial time. NBC's "The Black List," a hit in its second season, is the priciest drama with an ad price of $285,975. NBC's "The Voice" on Monday night gets $274,157 per 30-second spot. ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" is competitive with "The Voice" in viewership, but is penalized by advertisers for having an audience heavy with older women. The show is commanding an ad price of $118,606, Advertising Age said. "Modern Family" commands a higher ad price than any other ABC show, at $239,650, while "Sleepy Hollow" is tops at Fox, at $202,500, the magazine said. "American Idol" isn't included in the calculations because it doesn't start until January. Advertising Age bases its numbers on ad sales this spring. They can vary depending on sales taking place closer to airtime, and some advertisers get a discount if they buy a large volume of ads. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Littlefinger of 'Game of Thrones' to play antagonist in 'Maze Runner' sequel
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Littlefinger of 'Game of Thrones' to play antagonist in 'Maze Runner' sequel

Aidan Gillen, known for playing a notorious manipulator on "Game of Thrones," has been cast as Janson in "The Scorch Trials."Announced for a 2015 release last week, just after "The Maze Runner" opened on top of the worldwide box office, the sequel to the young-adult sci-fi feature is starting to put together its cast. In the first movie, the young protagonist Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up to find that he and a group of other teenage boys are trapped in a giant maze that shifts its shape each night. While he has no memory of his past or of the outside world, he frequently dreams about a strange organization called WKCD. "The Maze Runner" joins "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" in the dystopian young-adult movie genre that seems to be having its heyday in Hollywood. All are adapted from young-adult novels which, as a general rule, depict young protagonists and bleak societies devoid of any hope for future happiness. Published in 2008, "The Maze Runner" is the first book in James Dashner's eponymous trilogy, which also includes "The Scorch Trial" and "The Death Cure." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

J.J. Abrams wants William Shatner to return as Captain Kirk
Monday Sep 29, 2014
J.J. Abrams wants William Shatner to return as Captain Kirk

Thirty years after his last performance as the intergalactic hero, the actor has been contacted by the director of the last two "Star Trek" movies about playing Captain Kirk in the third installment.At Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, William Shatner confirmed the rumors that had been swirling for several days. The actor admitted that while J.J. Abrams did indeed reach out to him about reprising the role in "Star Trek 3," it remains to be seen how he might go about it. Chris Pine, who portrayed Kirk in the most recent film, is 34. Shatner is 83. "How do you get me 50 years later into the movie? How do you rationalize it? I know it's science fiction, but even I couldn't come up with an idea," Shatner told his fans at the event in Nashville. While speculating about Shatner's potential role, "Star Trek" fans are also awaiting official confirmation of the next movie's director, though all signs currently point to Roberto Orci. J.J. Abrams, who declined to direct the movie in order to focus on "Star Wars VII," remains involved as a producer. Paramount plans to release the new feature in 2016, in time for the 50th anniversary of the original TV series. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Mary Louise-Parker writing memoir
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Mary Louise-Parker writing memoir

NEW YORK (AP) — Mary Louise Parker, the award-winning star of "Weeds," is writing a book about the "significant men in her life." The book is called "Dear Mr. You," and Scribner announced Monday that it is scheduled for next fall. The 50-year-old Parker will tell her story through a series of letters. Her boyfriends have included actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup and singer Charlie Mars. Parker has starred in the films "Grand Canyon" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" and in a Broadway production of "Proof," for which she won a Tony. In 2006, she won a Golden Globe for best actress for her work in "Weeds," the Showtime series. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Movies

Mexican's 'Harry Potter' hoard is world's biggest
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Mexican's 'Harry Potter' hoard is world's biggest

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexico City man is in Hogwarts heaven after his collection of "Harry Potter" memorabilia was named the world's largest. Menahem Asher Silva Vargas has spent nearly 15 years hoarding all things related to British author J.K. Rowling's young-adult wizard-fantasy series, which spawned eight blockbuster films. His collection fills two rooms and counts everything from magic wands and toy figurines to Gryffindor scarves and replica Quidditch brooms. Guinness World Records officially recognized it Monday as the world No. 1, at 3,097 pieces. The old mark was 807. Silva Vargas said he began with no intent to amass a huge collection. But soon it was like being under a spell. He laughingly called his obsession both a blessing and a curse: "My salary, my bonuses ... it all ended up here." Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Littlefinger of 'Game of Thrones' to play antagonist in 'Maze Runner' sequel
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Littlefinger of 'Game of Thrones' to play antagonist in 'Maze Runner' sequel

Aidan Gillen, known for playing a notorious manipulator on "Game of Thrones," has been cast as Janson in "The Scorch Trials."Announced for a 2015 release last week, just after "The Maze Runner" opened on top of the worldwide box office, the sequel to the young-adult sci-fi feature is starting to put together its cast. In the first movie, the young protagonist Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up to find that he and a group of other teenage boys are trapped in a giant maze that shifts its shape each night. While he has no memory of his past or of the outside world, he frequently dreams about a strange organization called WKCD. "The Maze Runner" joins "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" in the dystopian young-adult movie genre that seems to be having its heyday in Hollywood. All are adapted from young-adult novels which, as a general rule, depict young protagonists and bleak societies devoid of any hope for future happiness. Published in 2008, "The Maze Runner" is the first book in James Dashner's eponymous trilogy, which also includes "The Scorch Trial" and "The Death Cure." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Daniel Radcliffe gets demonic in 'Horns'
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Daniel Radcliffe gets demonic in 'Horns'

Lionsgate unveiled a new teaser for French director Alexandre Aja's new feature starring the former Harry Potter star.Fire, snakes and a pitchfork set the tone in the new teaser for "Horns," in which Daniel Radcliffe transforms before the camera into a demon. Adapted from the novel by Joe Hill, "Horns" follows Ignatius, a young man who wakes up one morning, exactly one year after his girlfriend's death, to find he has grown horns. Although he is innocent and was never charged or tried, everyone around him still believes he killed his girlfriend. As he discovers the power that comes with his new appendages, he decides to search for the true killer. "Horns" is due for release in the US on October 29. Teaser: youtu.be/4xTmw8ZIKV4  Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

J.J. Abrams wants William Shatner to return as Captain Kirk
Monday Sep 29, 2014
J.J. Abrams wants William Shatner to return as Captain Kirk

Thirty years after his last performance as the intergalactic hero, the actor has been contacted by the director of the last two "Star Trek" movies about playing Captain Kirk in the third installment.At Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, William Shatner confirmed the rumors that had been swirling for several days. The actor admitted that while J.J. Abrams did indeed reach out to him about reprising the role in "Star Trek 3," it remains to be seen how he might go about it. Chris Pine, who portrayed Kirk in the most recent film, is 34. Shatner is 83. "How do you get me 50 years later into the movie? How do you rationalize it? I know it's science fiction, but even I couldn't come up with an idea," Shatner told his fans at the event in Nashville. While speculating about Shatner's potential role, "Star Trek" fans are also awaiting official confirmation of the next movie's director, though all signs currently point to Roberto Orci. J.J. Abrams, who declined to direct the movie in order to focus on "Star Wars VII," remains involved as a producer. Paramount plans to release the new feature in 2016, in time for the 50th anniversary of the original TV series. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Hateful Eight' books Colorado location, December date
Monday Sep 29, 2014
'Hateful Eight' books Colorado location, December date

Quentin Tarantino's next Western, "The Hateful Eight," moves closer to production with Colorado picked for its on-location shoot starting in December.Put on hold when the script was leaked in January 2014, "The Hateful Eight" is alive and kicking, with Colorado's Economic Development Commission confirming its status. Tarantino had suggested a 2015 release back in May, following an authorized, ticketed live read event in April. According to a report in the Denver Post, "The Hateful Eight" rolls into town with a $44m budget, $24m of which is allocated for its Colorado stint, with shooting to start on December 8 at the 900-acre Schmid Ranch, 10 miles west of Telluride. That will double for 1870s Wyoming, speculated destination for a host of film stars who have already been associated with the project, including Kurt Russell, Amber Tamblyn, Bruce Dern and Samuel L. Jackson. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Events

Women talk about sports on CBS Sports Network
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Women talk about sports on CBS Sports Network

CBS officials talked about an all-women sports show for more than a year, and now they're set to make television history. The network announced Tuesday that "We Need to Talk" will premiere Sept. 30 on CBS Sports Network. The weekly, hour-long, prime-time program on the cable channel will be the first of its kind. The panel will feature a core of CBS Sports announcers: Lesley Visser, Amy Trask, Tracy Wolfson, Dana Jacobson and Allie LaForce. Other contributors include Andrea Kremer and former athletes Laila Ali, Lisa Leslie, Dara Torres, Swin Cash and Summer Sanders. "I think it's long overdue," CBS Sports president David Berson said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "We're excited to be the home for it, and all these women have such meaningful roles already within CBS or in various other places. I know they're all excited." "CBS This Morning" co-hosts Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King will appear as guests. Visser, who started covering sports in 1974, considers the show "a cultural pivot point." "There are many shows that have a woman on, but not one that has a table filled with women," Visser said in a release. Trask was the first female chief executive officer in the NFL and worked for the Oakland Raiders for nearly 30 years. She noted each woman brings her own perspective and experience, ranging from the former athletes on the show to Wolfson as a sideline reporter, Visser as a Hall of Fame reporter and Kremer as a reporter for HBO's Real Sports. "We each view things uniquely as well," Trask told the AP. "I believe we will offer a different perspective than is currently available on television. We'll approach issues with our own different perspectives and that will make the show even richer." Visser recalled sports media credentials often said, 'No women or children in the press box.' "Forty years later we are accepted as members of the media, assistant coaches (San Antonio Spurs' Becky Hammon) college officials and executives," she said. "We have learned to love sports the same way boys and men do — not all of them played the game either. I'm proud to play for CBS." The show will be led by Emmy Award-winning coordinating producers Emilie Deutsch and Suzanne Smith, the only woman currently producing or directing NFL games. Amy Salmanson and Julie Keryc will produce with Smith directing. The show will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT, although on a relatively new network that's in just under half of U.S. homes with televisions. "It also underscores our commitment to this that we're putting it in such a marquee time slot," Berson said. Berson isn't worried about sports fans finding the show, and he said hopefully people will ask for the network if they don't have it. Ali, the daughter of boxing great Muhammad Ali, said in the release she's "honored to have a seat at the table for meaningful conversation with so many accomplished women in the sports world." Trask sees the show as innovative and creative, despite the long wait. "It's exciting that this is happening now," she said. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Children of a Lesser God' heads to Broadway
Monday Sep 29, 2014
'Children of a Lesser God' heads to Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — The romantic story "Children of a Lesser God," which has been a hit already onstage and on film, is heading back to Broadway. Producer Hal Luftig said Monday that a revival is in the works for the 2015-2016 Broadway season. Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon will direct. No cast was announced. "Children of a Lesser God," by Mark Medoff, follows the relationship between a deaf woman and a teacher at a school for the deaf. Medoff's other plays include "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?" ''In the Hands of Its Enemy" and "Stumps." He also wrote the HBO movie "Apology" and the film "City of Joy." Phyllis Frelich won a Tony in 1980 for her Broadway portrayal of Sarah Norman, the deaf woman at the heart of the play, which also won a Tony. "Children of a Lesser God" was later made into a movie, which won an Academy Award for deaf actress Marlee Matlin. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Mary Louise-Parker writing memoir
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Mary Louise-Parker writing memoir

NEW YORK (AP) — Mary Louise Parker, the award-winning star of "Weeds," is writing a book about the "significant men in her life." The book is called "Dear Mr. You," and Scribner announced Monday that it is scheduled for next fall. The 50-year-old Parker will tell her story through a series of letters. Her boyfriends have included actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup and singer Charlie Mars. Parker has starred in the films "Grand Canyon" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" and in a Broadway production of "Proof," for which she won a Tony. In 2006, she won a Golden Globe for best actress for her work in "Weeds," the Showtime series. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Russia backs social drama Leviathan for Oscar after Cannes win
Monday Sep 29, 2014
Russia backs social drama Leviathan for Oscar after Cannes win

Russia on Sunday put forward "Leviathan", a contemporary dark movie by director Andrei Zvyagintsev, as its nomination for the best foreign language film at the Oscars after it won a top prize at Cannes."We took the decision after a majority vote. 'Leviathan' is Russia's pick for the Oscars," film director Pavel Chukhrai, who sits on the Russian Oscar committee, told TASS news agency. Leviathan, a harrowing drama assailing abuse of power in today's Russia, won best screenplay at the Cannes film festival in May. But the film has run into trouble in Russia for its steady flow of swear words after a new law banned all obscenities in films shown in cinemas. It will go on wide release in November with the expletives beeped out. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky also offered subjective criticism of the film, saying: "It's talented but I don't like it." Nevertheless Zvyagintsev has won critical acclaim in Russia as well as internationally for his bleak, dense and meticulously composed films. His debut picture "The Return" won the Golden Lion top prize at the Venice film festival in 2003. His psychological drama about a dysfunctional family, "Elena", won prizes including Russia's prestigious Golden Eagle award for best film in 2012. The choice of Russia's Oscar nomination attracted controversy this year when director Andrei Konchalovsky refused to put his film "The Postman's White Nights" forward after it won the Silver Lion for best director at Venice. Konchalovsky said he made the decision because he opposes the predominance of Hollywood films in Russian cinemas and called the Oscars "over-rated". Russia's choice will be submitted to the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which announces its shortlist of the five selected foreign entries in January, ahead of its Oscars ceremony to take place on February 22, 2015. Russia last won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 1995, with Nikita Mikhalkov's period drama "Burnt by the Sun". Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Downton Abbey' star heads on US tour with band
Sunday Sep 28, 2014
'Downton Abbey' star heads on US tour with band

NEW YORK (AP) — "Downton Abbey" won't be the only place fans can see Elizabeth McGovern this winter: The show's star is heading on a tour with her folk-rock band in December. McGovern is the lead singer for Sadie and the Hotheads, which embarks on its first U.S. tour Dec. 4 in Washington. The 10-date tour wraps Dec. 14 in Hartford, Connecticut. McGovern plays the role of American heiress Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham, on the hit "Downton Abbey," which has its fifth season premiere on Jan. 4. The timing of the tour and the show's return is a coincidence, McGovern said. "It's a slightly funny experience for fans of the show to come hear the music because it's such a different world to the show itself," McGovern told The Associated Press on Sunday. "When we first started touring there would be a lot of people carrying 'Downtown Abbey' books ... and I could see a look of surprise on their faces because it isn't what you expect. I mean it's not a classical quartet of violins." The PBS series has earned the 53-year-old actress Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. Sadie and the Hotheads have performed in Europe. The seven-member group released their debut album in 2007 and dropped their third album, "Still Waiting," earlier this year. "It's an electric mix of songs in terms of musical genre," she said. McGovern received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for her role in the 1981 movie "Ragtime." She has appeared onstage in New York and London. "I think it's coming at the right time since we slowly built experience with each other," she said of performing in America. "I feel like we're more ready than we've ever been ... I go there with more confidence than I would have in the past." Their 2012 album, "How Not to Lose Things," featured guest vocals from Michelle Dockery, who plays McGovern's eldest daughter, Lady Mary Crawley, on "Downton Abbey." "There's a lot of her spirit in that album," McGovern said. McGovern said fans can expect "rich" and "textured" moments from the upcoming season of "Downton." Sadie and the Hotheads' tour will visit New York City; Newark, New Jersey; and Annapolis, Maryland. Most tickets go on sale Friday. ___ Online: http://www.sadieandthehotheads.com/ ___ Follow Mesfin Fekadu at twitter.com/MusicMesfin Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.