- - Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jane Lynch on Brett Ratner: ‘I wasn’t offended’

As a veteran comedian, Jane Lynch knows what it feels like to have a joke fail spectacularly. She also knows how often jokes can offend people.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the “Glee” star spoke with E! at Saturday’s anniversary fete for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, where she came to the defense of director Brett Ratner over his recent use of a gay slur.

“I feel bad for him,” Ms. Lynch said. “I wasn’t offended. I’m OK.”

Mr. Ratner stepped down as producer of the upcoming Oscar ceremony last week. Ms. Lynch acknowledged that as mean-spirited as the word can sound, Mr. Ratner was just making an attempt at a joke.

“I think humor is such a personal thing and you put a microphone in somebody’s face,” she said, “they’re going to say something that offends somebody.”

Ms. Lynch is among a small crop of Hollywood types to say anything in Mr. Ratner’s defense. She joins his friend and “Tower Heist” collaborator Eddie Murphy, who showed his support by bowing out of the Oscars alongside him, and Howard Stern, who defended him on the radio, calling the backlash an act of hypocrisy.

HBO, Sports Illustrated team up for sports series

HBO will team with Sports Illustrated and Endgame Entertainment to produce a sports documentary series, the Associated Press reports.

“Sport in America: Our Defining Stories” is a multipart series scheduled to air in 2013. Sports Illustrated will run editorial packages in conjunction with the programs.

The production company Playground also will work on the series. Endgame Entertainment’s James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo will be co-directors. Mr. Stern, Mr. Del Deo, Playground’s Colin Callender and SI’s Terry McDonell will serve as executive producers.

Glenn Beck’s online network inks deal for animated series

Glenn Beck’s new Internet-only network is getting animated, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

GBTV, which the conservative firebrand launched as he was exiting Fox News in June, has signed a deal to develop an animated comedy series with Icebox, a production company founded in 1999 by a group of TV writers including Jon Collier (“The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill”) and Howard Gordon (“24,” “Homeland”).

The two outlets are in the brainstorming phase. The end product will join a slate of original programming that includes “Liberty Tree House,” “Mercury Theater” and the comedy news show “The B.S. of A,” along with Mr. Beck’s two-hour show, which is broadcast live weekdays from 5-7 p.m. Additionally, a source close to the company said GBTV is in conversations with several companies about licensing content to air on the network.

“The team at Icebox has developed and produced shows for some of the most renowned and acclaimed networks on television and we are excited that GBTV will be home to one of their next projects. We look forward to working with Howard, [Icebox managing director] Tal [Vigderson] and Jon on bringing an entertaining animated show to GBTV,” said GBTV’s president of programming, Joel Cheatwood.

As of mid-September, when Mr. Beck launched his Web show, GBTV had more than 230,000 paying subscribers.

Anna Kournikova quits as ‘Biggest Loser’ trainer

Anna Kournikova will not be returning for the next season of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Miss Kournikova was hired by NBC to host and act as trainer on season 12 of the reality weight-loss series, following Jillian Michaels’ exit from the show.

Although it seemed like a great idea at the time - Miss Kournikova is attractive, camera-friendly and a major athlete - staffers reportedly have clashed with her, and some of the contestants found her brash. A source on the show reportedly called Miss Kournikova “a nightmare.”

Miss Kournikova and her representatives confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that she is leaving the show and issued a statement: “I enjoyed my time on the ‘Biggest Loser’ ranch. Although I will not be returning as a full-time trainer on season 13, I will always be a part of the ‘Biggest Loser’ family and my commitment to bettering lives through health and fitness will continue.”

Driver wants countersuit by actor Fox thrown out

An Ohio private bus driver who claims she was punched by Matthew Fox is asking that the actor’s lawsuit against her be tossed out.

The former star of the TV show “Lost” slapped Heather Bormann with a countersuit this month after she sued him in Cleveland for at least $75,000 in damages. Mr. Fox also demanded a jury trial.

According to the Associated Press, Ms. Bormann’s attorney filed a motion Monday seeking to have Mr. Fox’s lawsuit dismissed, calling it frivolous.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Bormann claimed that Mr. Fox struck her in the breast, groin, arm and legs after she stopped him from boarding her chartered party bus on Aug. 28.

Prosecutors declined to file charges in the case.

Mr. Fox’s attorney said Tuesday that he hadn’t seen the motion and couldn’t comment.

Trial requested over rights to Golden Globes

The organizers of the Golden Globe Awards are asking a federal judge to schedule a trial to decide who owns broadcast rights in January when final preparations for the glitzy awards gala will be under way.

According to the Associated Press, the request for a trial during the first week of January is opposed by the show’s longtime producer, Dick Clark Productions. In court filings, attorneys for the producer say holding the trial in early January will disrupt the Jan. 15 broadcast of the awards ceremony.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association said the early date is necessary to ensure that broadcasters have adequate time to bid for rights to shows in 2013 and beyond.

The association and producers have been locked in a lawsuit for months over who owns broadcast rights to the show.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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