This Week In History… One Year Ago – Week of January 8, 2010. Pop Culture.

Week of January 8, 2010

Police have identified the body of a woman found in a burning trash bin in North Miami earlier this week. Playboy model Paula Sladewski, 26, went missing after traveling from California to go to the Lady Gaga concert at the Fontainbleau on New Year’s Eve with her boyfriend. Some time over the weekend, the couple got into an argument, according to the Miami New Times, and Sladewski, a native of Michigan, stormed off never to be seen alive again. The body was found on NE 130th just off Archer Road on Sunday in an empty bin.

College football- Alabama rules! That defense knocked Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the BCS title game early Thursday night, then made a big play to save the win late and restore glory to Bear Bryant’s football factory with a 37-21 victory for the Crimson Tide’s first national title since 1992. “We back,” said Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, the offensive MVP.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the investigation of a bomb plot against New York City. FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko says Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay were arrested early Friday in New York. The FBI says the arrests were part of “an ongoing investigation.” The charges were not immediately detailed.

President Barack Obama on Saturday renewed his pitch for final congressional passage of a U.S. healthcare overhaul and promised Americans they will begin reaping the benefits soon after he signs a bill into law. As Obama’s fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate struggle to merge their healthcare bills into one, the president used his weekly radio address to try to ease lingering public doubts over his top legislative priority. The president stepped back into the center of the healthcare debate after being preoccupied for much of his first week back from vacation in Hawaii with fallout over the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner.
A man believed to have breached security to bid his girlfriend goodbye, triggering the shutdown of a busy Newark Airport terminal that led to snarled flights worldwide, was arrested in New Jersey and faces a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $500, punishment a senator says should be much harsher. Haisong Jiang, 28, of Piscataway was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. Friday at his home, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. He was questioned at the airport by Port Authority police, who arrested him, and released shortly after midnight.

A powerful offshore earthquake rattled communities in far northern California, cutting power to thousands of customers, causing minor damage to homes and businesses and forcing many people to seek treatment for cuts and bruises from falling debris. The 6.5 magnitude temblor hit at about 4:27 p.m. PST Saturday and was centered in the Pacific about 22 miles west of Ferndale, but was felt as far south as Capitola in central California and as far north as central Oregon, the U.S. Geological Survey said. In Eureka, about 240 miles north of San Francisco, residents of an apartment building were evacuated, and an office building and two other commercial structures were declared unsafe for occupancy, according to Humboldt County spokesman Phil Smith-Hanes.

Prominent Democrats defended Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after a new book revealed racial remarks he made about Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. In a private conversation reported in the book, Reid described Obama as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

A nuclear physics professor who publicly backed Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the disputed June presidential election was killed Tuesday when a remote-controlled bomb rigged to a motorcycle blew up outside his home. State media identified the victim as Masoud Ali Mohammadi, 50, a professor at Tehran University, which has been at the center of recent protests by student opposition supporters. Before the election, pro-reform Web sites published Ali Mohammadi’s name among a list of 240 Tehran University teachers who supported Mousavi.
An earthquake hit the impoverished country of Haiti. A hospital and other buildings collapsed and people were screaming for help.
The earthquake had a magnitude of 7 and was centered about 10 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed a short time later by two powerful aftershocks of magnitude 5.9 and 5.5. The death toll could be tens of thousands and beyond.

U.S. officials are laying out a massive military response to the Haiti earthquake, saying that ships, helicopters, transport planes and a 2,000-member Marine unit are either on the way or likely to begin moving soon. Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of U.S. Southern Command, said Wednesday that one of the U.S. Navy’s large amphibious ships will likely head to Haiti with a Marine expeditionary unit aboard. Fraser said other U.S. military forces are on alert, including a brigade, which includes about 3,500 troops.

Sarah Palin is joining Fox News where she’ll be a commentator.

Simon Cowell is leaving “American Idol” after this next season. He’s producing X-Factor” – a hit in Britain which is coming to Fox-TV – in which, he’ll also appear.

Mark McGwire finally came clean, admitting he used steroids when he broke Baseball’s Home run record in 1998. McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade. “I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said in a statement. “It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

Miley Cyrus is leaving “Hannah Montana” as enough episodes will be shot until her contract expires in 2011.

Jay Leno is back at 11:35p – but will Conan follow? Leno’s prime time show ends in early February. But wait, O’Brien says he’s rejecting NBC’s attempt to move “The Tonight Show” ” to a post-midnight slot to accommodate Jay Leno’s return to late-night. In a statement Tuesday, O’Brien says that NBC has given him a scant seven months to try to establish himself as host of “Tonight.”

Backstreet Boy AJ Mclean is making it official. McLean, 32, proposed to his girlfriend Rochelle Deanna Karidis while performing solo in Las Vegas.

The economic slump has prices for Super Bowl commercial time falling for only the second time in its history, but it is still the most expensive on television. TNS Media Intelligence saidthat 30-second commercials during next month’s Super Bowl on CBS are selling for between $2.5 million and $2.8 million. That’s a drop from last year, when ads averaged $3 million on NBC.

“American Idol” season 9 begins – with auditions in Boston. Victoria Beckham was this season’s first guest judge (Ellen Degeneres won’t appear until the Hollywood rounds). As always – Simon Cowell had the most quips.

R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass, who was one of the most electric and successful figures in music until a car crash 28 years ago left him in a wheelchair, has died of colon cancer. He was 59. Pendergrass died in suburban Philadelphia, where he had been hospitalized for months. The singer’s son, Teddy Pendergrass II, said his father underwent colon cancer surgery eight months ago and had “a difficult recovery.”

George Clooney is the latest celebrity to plead for help in raising funds for the Haitian earthquake relief effort — the actor will host a U.S. telethon later this month. The Up in the Air star has reportedly partnered with MTV to host the show next Friday. Clooney is urging his famous pals to appear on the telethon to aid in fundraising. The actor’s pal Brad Pitt and partner Angelina Jolie have already donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders and Haitian singer Wyclef Jean has also urged support for earthquake survivors through his Yele Haiti charity. Stars including Ben Stiller, Jessica Alba, Shakira, Oprah Winfrey and Chris Martin have also called for people to lend their support to those left homeless after Tuesday’s disaster.

Hot hits this week –
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Tik Tok – Ke$ha
Replay – Iyaz
Empire of the State – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
Sexy Chick – David Guetta and Akon
Down – Jay Sean fea. Lil’ Wayne
Fireflies – Owl City
Watcha Say – Jason Derulo
Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
BedRock – Young Money fea. Lloyd
Do You Remember – Jean Sean fea. Sean Paul, Lil John
Meet Me Halfway – Black Eyed Peas
Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
Hard – Rihanna fea. Jeezy
3 – Britney Spears
Drop The World – Lil’ Wayne fea. Eminem
Forever – Drake fea. Lil’ Wayne Kanye West, Eminem
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Two Is Better Than One – Boys Like Girls fea. Taylor Swift
How Low – Ludacris
Sweet Dreams – Beyonce
Evacuate the Dance Floor – Cascada
Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Use Somebody – Kings of Leon
One Time – Justin Bieber
Hey, Soul Sister – Train

At the movies this week:
Avatar
Sherlock Holmes
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Speakquel
Daybreakers
It’s Complicated
Leapyear
The Blind Side
Up In The Air
Youth In Revolt
The Princess And the Frog

Mr. Pop Culture Report – April 29…

Lady Gaga makes the Time top 100 most influential people (past year) – a list that just came out.  Besides Gaga, a number of musicians made the list, including Taylor Swift, Prince and Elton John.

And…

Lady Gaga’s former boyfriend, producer and business partner, is suing the pop star for $30.5 million, claiming he was pushed away after their failed romance. Songwriter-producer Rob Fusari’s lawsuit contends he transformed Stefani Germanotta into “Lady Gaga” and switched her rock riffs with dance beats to make her songs commercial hits. ” Lady Gaga, one of the world’s hottest recording acts, won two Grammys this year for her debut album.

Renewing one’s wedding vows is typically a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey prefer to do it a little more frequently than that — like every year! “I encourage everybody to do it. If you are happy and in love, celebrate it!” Cannon, 29, said Friday on his New York radio show, confirming that he and his pop-star wife, 40, will renew their vows — for a second time — to celebrate their second wedding anniversary.

Blasts Leno – In his first interview since quitting NBC in January, Conan O’Brien says that if the situation had been reversed, he would have gone “someplace else” rather than do what Leno had done. “He (Leno) went and took that show back and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed, I know — I know me, I wouldn’t have done that,” O’Brien told “60 Minutes” in an interview to be broadcast on CBS on Sunday.

And – last year at this time – Can you believe It?…

Hugh Jackman has left his mark in Hollywood. The Australian actor had his hand and footprints cast in cement on Tuesday, in front of Hollywood’s historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Elton John bids farewell to the Las Vegas Strip after five years and 241 shows at Caesars Palace — but said it won’t necessarily be a long, long time before he returns.

Top movies this week in 2009 –

Obsessed

17 Again

Fighting

The Soloist

Earth

Monsters vs. Aliens

State of Play

Hannah Montana The Movie

Fast & Furious

High Voltage

I Love You, Man

Mr. Pop Culture Report – March 31…

Screwed Is The Word According To Leno - In an interview – Jay Leno summed up the recent NBC debacle -  “Conan got screwed. I got screwed,” Leno said. “This is TV. The reason show business pays a lot of money is so when you get screwed you’ve got something left over.” I think Conan will come back and he’ll be strong,” Leno said. “And we’ll all compete against one another. It should be me against Letterman, against Conan, against, and then you see who wins,” he said.

Miley slammed by critics in her first movie made outside her “Hannah Montana” character as it opened in U.S. theaters on Wednesday, but “The Last Song” was still expected to perform well at box offices. The weepy romantic drama, written by best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, was deemed melodramatic and formulaic and claimed only a seven percent approval rating on reviews aggregator rotten tomatoes. Cyrus, 17, who has said she wants to make a career in movies after five years playing Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana”, was widely savaged for her performance as a surly teen sent to spend the summer with her estranged father.

Last week, Wikipedia crashed and if you’ve tried to visit YouTube this evening, chances are good you were served with an error page. This comes a week after another “Tube” outage – but not to worry  A  redesigned YouTube is on its way, according to a post on YouTube’s official weblog. The site is changing its video pages to introduce several new features, including a playlist interface and revamped rating system, which favors a “like/dislike” rating system over a star ranking. It’s a change they first introduced two months ago to some users, and are now rolling out to all users worldwide.

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 2000 -

Al Gore and George W. Bush win in the Illinois primary.

On his own – Vladimir V. Putin defeats 10 other candidates and is elected as President of Russia.

Pepsi-Cola is teaming up with Yahoo. In the deal – Pepsi will place Yahoo’s logo on 1.5 billion bottles of Pepsi soft drinks as well as on television and radio spots and on in-store displays. Yahoo will provide computerized systems that enable consumers who buy 20-ounce Pepsi and Mountain dew bottles to instantly redeem points printed inside bottle tops.

At the movies –

Erin Brockovich

Final Destination

Romeo Must Die

Here on Earth

American Beauty

The Cider House Rules

The Whole Nine Yards

Mission to Mars

My Dog Skip

Mr. Pop Culture Report – March 12

A Georgia man who posted a video of himself on the Internet holding a sign that said  “Elton John” must die” has been arrested for making terroristic threats. Neal Horsley, 65, was arrested in Carrollton, about 50 miles west of Atlanta, said Atlanta Police Sgt. In the video posted Feb. 28 on YouTube, Horsley held the sign in front of a building where he said John has a condo. John’s publicist, Fran Curtis, confirmed that John has an Atlanta apartment but declined further comment.

Thursday – You don’t see much of Jerry Seinfeld on his own new NBC show, “The Marriage Ref,” which he lets someone else host. But the 55-year-old comedian co-hosted “Live” with Kelly Rippa. Guest was Donald Trump.

CBS announces that it will provide 3-D coverage of the NCAA Final Four to 100 movie theaters nationwide in a move to bring this new form of sports broadcast to the masses.

Leno Ratings – The Nielsen Co. says Jay Leno averaged 5.6 million viewers last week, his first back at NBC’s “The Tonight Show” following hisill-fated prime time show. Letterman had 3.7 million at CBS. Leno took advantage of curiosity over his return and a strong lineup of guests, including Olympic stars and Sarah Palin. It was a half-million more than he averaged his last season at “Tonight.” But the second week finds the  late-night contenders at a close race – with Leno averaging 4.3 million viewers and Letterman at 4 million.

Government Reaches Further Into Your Pocket – Vertex, a company that calculates sales tax for Internet sellers, reports that the average general sales tax rate nationwide reached 8.629% at the end of 2009, the highest since the  company started tracking data in 1982. That was up a nickel on a taxable $100 purchase from a year earlier and up nearly 40 cents for the decade.

Television news this week in 1986 –

HBO will show “Comic Relief,” a March 29 benefit for America’s poor and homeless. The show will originate from the Universal Amphitheater in Hollywood and will be hosted by Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. Among the comedians and actors scheduled to participate – Peewee Herman, Michael J. Fox. Buddy Hackett, Joe Piscopo, Carl and Rob Reinder, Martin Mull, David Steinberg. Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard, Howie Mandel, Gilda Radner and Weird Al Yankovic.

The Movie Channel announces its new “VCR Theater” – aimed at those who can videotape movies while they’re asleep. But, do the studios like the taping of their movies? The home entertainment software business is a $12-billion-a-year business.  An 800 number will be on display for the three-hour event.

More cable – Dabney Coleman is back – The Arts & Entertainment Network just picked up all 27 episodes of  “Buffalo Bill” – the NBC series that ran in 1984.

Don’t miss the Easter Seal Telethon (Sat – March 8) – hosted by Pat Boone and Donna Mills.

Top Pop Culture – Today – March 4 & This Week In 1959… Mr. Pop Culture Report

Today Is Good For Meredith – “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira has signed a new deal with NBC that keeps her in the co-anchor seat alongside Matt Lauer until the end of 2011. The fact that Vieira re-upped with ‘Today’ isn’t surprising (she has settled in quite nicely over there), though it is a little surprising that she only signed on for one more year. I don’t know what type of contract Lauer has with the show. (TVS)

NBC removes Conan O’Brien Messages on Leno Board – . The Conan fans not only posted messages about Conan (that they wanted Jay “to see”), they also posted pictures of Conan like the one on the right (both bearded and clean-shaven versions). I’m going to side with NBC here. Hey, you’re bound to see that stuff online and there’s a history of people doing things like this to get their point across, but it’s their forum and they can do whatever they want with it, especially if it’s overrun with messages and photos from fans of someone who doesn’t even have a show on the network anymore. Of course, this doesn’t excuse NBC from the other “let’s delete Conan” stuff they pulled, including taking down all of his ‘Tonight Show’ clips from the site and the dumping of Conan Collectibles from the NBC online store. (TVS).

Marie’s Back - Singer Marie Osmond is preparing to return to the spotlight in Las Vegas- just one day after she lays her tragic son to rest. Osmond was left devastated when her 18-year-old adopted son Michael Blosil was found dead outside his Los Angeles apartment building in an apparent suicide last month. She and her brother Donny subsequently called off a string of concert dates as part of their Donny & Marie in Las Vegas‎ residency to be with family after the tragedy.

Apple’s Astounding App -  Those fine folks at Apple are now offering an app that causes your text messages to disappear. If Tiger Woods had this last year he’d still be married and shaving with Gillette. Ironically, the app is called TigerText. It allows users to set a time limit on how long their text messages remain. This can be anywhere from days to sixty seconds. (Ken Levine)

Seven & Eight Are The New Six – More than 100 people, many of them dressed in black, are expected to gather around a coffin Thursday to say goodbye to an old friend. The deceased? Internet Explorer 6. The aging Web browser, survived by its descendants Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8, is being eulogized at a tongue-in-cheek “funeral” hosted by Aten Design Group, a design firm in Denver, Colorado. Google Docs and Google Sites discontinued support for the browser Monday, and YouTube will follow suit March 13.

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1959:

Passing - Lou Costello (left) (52) of a heart attack – three days before his 53rd birthday. His former partner, Bud Abbot said of his friend: “My heart is broken. I’ve lost the best pal anyone ever had. I’m not making sense. But, I’m trying to compose myself.”

Verve Records demands a judicial order be nullified, ordering them to pay singer Ricky Nelson $31,064.47 in royalties for three records he made in 1957. Verve says it was taken by surprise and didn’t have time to object to the approval order. Nelson had already jumped to rival Imperial Records by the end of 1957. Under the settlement, Imperial Records and MCA Artists are to pay Verve $22 thousand for termination of services.

Perry Como signs a television contract for $25 million over two years – the largest in TV history. Under the deal, Como will star in 66 color-TV shows sponsored by Kraft Foods Co. The shows will be produced by Como’s production company Roncom. The sum includes all productions costs plus paying guest stars. It was not disclosed just how much Como will get out of the contract.

Golden Globe awards go to Rock Hudson and Deborah Kerr as film favorites. Best acting (for movies) went to David Niven, Susan Hayward, Danny Kay, Rosalind Russell, Burl Ives and Hermione Gigold. Best acting TV – Ann Southern, Loretta Young, Paul Coates, Red Skelton, William Orr and Ed Sullivan. Picture of the year: “The Defiant Ones” …  Best Musical – “Gigi” … Best Comedy – “Auntie Mame.”

Comedian Bob Hope flies to New York to consult a doctor in order to save his right eye. Hope has a blood clot in the eye vein and clouding of the cornea. The situation became serious the first week of February when he had to cancel a Miami benefit appearance. Hope will visit with Dr Algernon Reese of Columbia

Hot Pop Today – March 3 & This Week In 1997… Mr. Pop Culture Report

Hurt Hurting -  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces that “Hurt Locker” producer Nicolas Chartier will not be allowed to attend the March 7 awards show because of an e-mail that has been deemed in violation of the Academy’s campaigning standards. “Chartier had recently disseminated an e-mail to certain Academy voters and other film industry figures in which he solicited votes for his own picture and disparaged one of the other contending films,” the Academy said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Apple Doesn’t Google - Apple has filed a lawsuit against Google phone manufacturer HTC, claiming many of the company’s popular smartphones infringe on patents related to the iPhone. Apple alleges HTC violates as many as 20 patents, including multi-touch support, screen rotation and “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” “Apple is seeking treble damages for willful infringement, punitive damages, interest, and attorney’s fees in addition to a permanent injunction barring HTC from making, using, importing and selling devices that infringe on Apple’s patents.”

Let’s Go To Google, Kansas – Mayor Bill Benton of Topeka, Kansas, In a formal proclamation Monday, Bunten announced his city will be known as “Google” — Google, Kansas. Only for a month!  “It’s just fun. We’re having a good time of it,” he said of the unofficial name change, which will last through the end of March. “There’s a lot of good things that are going on in our city.”

Stern’s Latest Rant - Howard Stern, appearing on CBS’ “The Early Show,” called Jay Leno a “lapdog” and a “thief” who steals bits from him and David Letterman. “Jay Leno pushed Johnny Carson out of The Tonight Show.” Stern toned down the uncensored commentary for CBS, framing his loathing for Leno another way: “Just the mere mention of Jay Leno’s name makes me want to vomit.”  Leno, he said, is “the kind of showbiz animal that will not let go.” Stern said Leno should have walked when NBC decided to move him to 10 p.m. – the way Letterman did when the network picked Leno to take over “Tonight” instead of him. “Jay should’ve dusted himself off and gone to another network and beat [Conan].”

Speaking of Leno’s show – Appearing on the “Tonight” show – Sarah Palin poked fun at some of her favorite things including herself. Palin said the White House health care plan reminds her of acrobatic flips done by snowboard champion Shaun White. And she joked that it’s so cold in Alaska it’s “5 degrees below Congress’ approval rating.” Palin told Leno’s audience she planned to speak at a gun-rights convention: “Be there or else,” she warned them. She said Alaska is different from California. In Los Angeles, “when people have a frozen look on their face, I find out it’s Botox.” And she’s happy she’s not vice president. “I would not know what to do with all that free time,” she quipped.

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1997…

The Dallas Morning news reports that Timothy J. McVeigh told his defense team that he alone drove the Ryder truck in the Oklahoma City bombing and decided on a daytime attack to ensure a “body count.”

Howard Stern is in Los Angeles for the premiere of “Private Parts.” He’ll do his radio show and reportedly, tickets to the premiere, which Stern will attend along with his radio crew – are going for $1000. He’ll also do the Tonight show on Friday night. He’s been plugging the movie for months on his radio show – to the extent that – some are just sick of the plugs. Howard can plug himself to death – for sure. But, the movie is getting decent reviews.

Brandy, LL Cool J and Gladys Knight host the 11th annual Soul Train Music Awards this week.

Don’t miss Tina Turner’s “Wild Dreams” tour.

The soundtrack for “Private Parts” starring Howard Stern is #1 this week.

Six month guessing game – The talk of the industry – seems to be the impending “coming out” episode of “Ellen” – in which Ellen tells us she’s a lesbian. The episode tapes this week and will air April 30.

Passing – David Doyle – Bosley on “Charlie’s Angels.” He was 67.

Top Movies This Week In 1997 –

The Empire Strikes Back

Donnie Brasco

Star Wars: Special edition

Booty Call

Absolute Power                                          

Dante’s Peak

Vegas Vacation

Fools Rush In

Marvin’s Room

Rosewood

Top Pop Culture Stories – February 24… Mr. Pop Culture Report

Bryant Is Back - Kobe Bryant returned to lineup after missing five games with an ankle injury and made a 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds left to lift the LA Lakers to 99-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Bryant led the Lakers with 32 points, including his team’s final nine points. His 3-pointer with 54 seconds left tied the game at 96-all. His game-winner came off an inbounds play 4 seconds after his layup attempt was blocked by Rudy Gay. (Fox)

Sex and the New Scent – “Sex and The City” fans can finally smell like Carrie Bradshaw! Sarah Jessica Parker debuts a new scent, SJP NYC, based on her beloved character. “I like the idea of creating a fragrance of everyone. I thought a lot about the idea of like when Carrie Bradshaw walks down a street,” said Ms. Parker.

De-Ready DeGeneres – Ellen DeGeneres gets a first taste of judging on a live “American Idol”  Tuesday night as the Top 12 girls got their first chance to compete for the public vote. Ellen and Simon served as bookends on the judges’ table, with Randy and Kara at center. Making a play on Cowell’s remarks about them not getting along – Ms. Degeneres remarked that “We had a little problem and I felt like it’s safer over here,” of her seat next to Randy. “The problem is, Simon wants me and he’s got a thing for me and I get it Simon. I get it, and it’s not going to happen.”

Fool’s Gold At the Winter Games – A bad call by his coach costs (Dutch) Sven Kramer a gold medal in speed skating. Far ahead of the crowd, he stopped to talk to his coach, but was sent back – in the wrong position – to the inner instead of the outer track – and was disqualified!! OOOCH!! (see video).

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1996…

Television news – Temperamental Roseanne Arnold dumps three of her show’s writers for helping her ex – Tom on his upcoming movie.

“The Late Shift” – an HBO movie about the battle between Jay Leno and Dave Letterman – drew 2.3 million homes – airing on Saturday night this week. (

After four years – “Picket Fences” will end production, although CBS has not officially canceled the series. “Nash Bridges” starring Don Johnson will air in the spot vacated by Picket Fences on Friday night beginning March 29.

On Saturday Night Live this week – Elle Macpherson hosts with musical guest Sting.

From Lee N – Who was the only band ever thrown off the “Tonight” show?

Mr. Pop History – This one’s easy. It was the Australian band “The Vine” back in December of 2002. Why you ask? From the Mr. Pop archives:

Rowdy Australian band – “The Vines” are jettisoned from the Jay Leno “Tonight” Show after lead singer Craig Nichols began trashing the group’s equipment during a sound check, just before the show’s taping. He went into a tantrum – throwing around things – and then they were asked to leave.

vines

Jay Leno Staying At NBC And His Time Will Be Prime

Everyone thought Leno was leaving NBC in May. Split. Gone. NBC says no, not only is he staying, he’s getting a prime time talkshow slot. No more timeshifting TiVo to see Leno.

The show, to premiere next fall, is expected to be announced today after the network closed a deal with the host late Monday, according to two NBC executives with knowledge of the agreement.

It achieves two objectives: preventing Leno from landing at ABC, Fox or Sony, which were expected to woo the host when his contract expires next year, and patching the network’s woeful prime-time schedule, down 13% this fall to a distant fourth place.

The new show will be similar to the Tonight Show format but with more elaborate sketches and taped segments. And though giving Leno a prime-time slot protects O’Brien from competing directly with him on another network, it risks draining audience and top-notch guest bookings from the future Tonight host.