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Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest Hurl Barbs

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 25 March 2008 06:31 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Gov. Arnold Kicks Clint Eastwood Off Parks Commission
2. Former New York Sen. Al D'Amato to Be TV Judge?
3. Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest Hurl Barbs
4. Lady O's Regal Legal Cases
5. Tyler Perry's Road Less Traveled

1. Gov. Arnold Kicks Clint Eastwood Off Parks Commission

Clint Eastwood, actor, director, and former mayor of Carmel, served on a California State Parks commission even before Arnold Schwarzenegger took over the Golden State's governor's office.

Schwarzenegger reappointed Eastwood to the position in 2004.

However, Schwarzenegger recently gave Eastwood a pink slip and dropped him from the commission.

Observers of California politics tend to believe that the change in personnel may have something to do with Eastwood's support for a 2006 lawsuit to block a Schwarzenegger-backed plan to build a toll road through a state park.

Eastwood shouldn't feel too bad, though. Another commission member who opposed the toll road was also canned: Schwarzenegger's brother-in-law Bobby Shriver.

Shriver told The Associated Press that he had hoped to carry on in his position and "continue to protect the park system from developers."

"It shows you how strong these developers were that were able to arm-wrestle the governor into firing us," Shriver said.

Only in California politics could a Terminator take out a Dirty Harry.

2. Former New York Sen. Al D'Amato to Be TV Judge?

Daytime TV court has become a big money business.

With Judge Judy Sheindlin commanding tens of millions of dollars for her small screen rulings, plenty of would-be TV jurists, including a prominent ex-politician, have been out knocking on doors of network execs.

Former New York Sen. Al D'Amato may get his own TV robe and gavel.

The pol, affectionately known as "Senator Pothole," has reps out talking to TV honchos about a "Judge Al"-type show.

In fact, a show that would air in fall 2009 has piqued the interest of TV syndicators, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Al has a lot of competition, though.

There are currently eleven television judges on the air, and two more are scheduled to take to the TV courtroom stage in fall 2008.

3. Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest Hurl Barbs

Famed "American Idol" Brit judge Simon Cowell has been trading barbs with host Ryan Seacrest, and each week the rhetoric seems to rise a notch.

Things have gotten so bad even Oprah Winfrey has taken note.

Cowell recently appeared on Oprah's daytime talk show, and she asked him about the on-air squabbling with Seacrest. Cowell explained that over the years his relationship with members of the show has changed.

"They used to be more groveling towards me," he said, adding, "As the show has gotten more successful, they got more confidence . . . and they probably dislike me more than seven years ago."

The "Idol" maker told Winfrey that there is no time to prepare a simulated fight prior to the show. "I see Paula maybe two seconds before the show starts. Ryan, it's the same thing," Cowell said.

He then went on to compare Seacrest to an annoying bug.

"Ryan has developed this — he's like a mosquito in your face," Cowell said. "It's like he's flying around, and you want to swat him but he can't be bothered. That's my relationship now with Ryan."

No one knows more about bugging people than the master mosquito himself.

4. Lady O's Regal Legal Cases

Lawsuits involving Oprah Winfrey are starting to clog up the courts.

One woman has brought legal action against Oprah's production company and daytime talk show, claiming that in their mad dash to be in the studio audience, overly excited fans of the show pushed her down the stairs.

Another female plaintiff from Boston alleges that it was she who years ago came up with a television reality show almost identical to "Oprah's Big Give."

In the first case, Orit Greenberg filed papers in an Illinois state court, which claimed that she went to Harpo Studios in December 2006 to be an audience member for Oprah's TV show; however, when audience members were purportedly told to go sit where they wished in the studio, a stampede resulted. Greenberg alleges that she was pushed down a flight of stairs by the rushing crowd. She says she has suffered "severe and permanent injuries" from the incident and is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

In the second suit, Darlene Tracy, a mother of four who is representing herself, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Boston, seeking to stop "Oprah's Big Give" from airing. Tracy claims that she created a reality show titled "The Philanthropist" in February 2005. The show purportedly featured contestants who were challenged to help the needy.

According to Tracy, she submitted the idea to the executive producer of Oprah's show, Ellen Rakieten, and claims that Rakieten and another producer wrote and requested additional details. After Tracy purportedly responded in early 2005 with a more complete package, she was allegedly informed that Oprah's company, Harpo Productions, was going to pass on the project.

In December 2006, ABC announced a new show, "Oprah's Big Give," which Tracy claims came from her idea.

A trial judge has dismissed the suit without explanation and Tracy has hired an attorney and filed an appeal.

We'll have to stay tuned to see if after the big appeal the "Big Give" will be forced to shell out the big bucks.

5. Tyler Perry's Road Less Traveled

Critics just can't figure Tyler Perry out.

He's talented, successful and beating Hollywood at its own game. The playwright, actor, director and filmmaker's work had been consistently slammed, so he decided not to give critics any early screenings of his films including his latest, "Meet the Browns," which took in $20 million its first weekend out.

Time magazine can't figure Perry out either. In an article featuring the African-American, the magazine apparently couldn't tolerate Perry's success.

"There could be one more explanation for the limited if ardent appeal of Perry's films: they're not very good. He casts some prime scene stealers — Cicely Tyson, Janet Jackson, Angela Bassett, Louis Gossett Jr., Jenifer Lewis, Maya Angelou — but rarely draws their best work from them," the magazine groused.

While speaking to an audience at one of his plays, Perry explained to the crowd why he turned down a TV opportunity.

"Did you know you can't say 'Jesus' in a sitcom?" Perry said. "They told me that, and I was like, You gotta be kiddin' me."

"If you don't want my God here, you don't want me here either. God has been too good to me to go and try to sell out to get some money. That's OK. I will sit in a corner and be broke with the Lord before I will sit there and have them give me millions and sell my soul. It ain't gonna happen," Perry said.

Meanwhile the public is showing Perry the love. His 2005 "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," which was produced for $5.5 million, raked in $50 million.

His 2006 contribution to cinema, "Madea's Family Reunion," which was produced for $6 million, pulled in $63 million.

And in 2007, his "Why Did I Get Married?" drew $55 million from the box office.

Perry is something rare in the movie business — professional, principled and perpetually successful. Guess to some folks that's really quite perplexing.

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Gov. Arnold Kicks Clint Eastwood Off Parks Commission2. Former New York Sen. Al D'Amato to Be TV Judge?3. Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest Hurl Barbs4. Lady O's Regal Legal Cases5. Tyler Perry's Road Less Traveled1. Gov. Arnold...
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 06:31 PM
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