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'Big Bang Theory's' Parsons hopping back to Broadway

Jim Parsons seems to have gotten a big bang out of Broadway and wants to return.

The star of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" is set to star this summer in a Roundabout Theatre Co. revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy "Harvey" by Mary Chase, the Associated Press reports.

Performances of "Harvey" will begin May 18 at Studio 54 with an opening set for June 14. It runs through Aug. 5.

A two-time Emmy winner, Mr. Parsons made his Broadway debut in Larry Kramer's play "The Normal Heart" earlier this year.

He'll be joined in "Harvey" by Jessica Hecht and Charles Kimbrough. The play is about a man who gets into trouble over his friendship with a 6-foot-tall, invisible white rabbit named Harvey.

Missing woman's ex-fiance focus of investigation

The ex-fiance of a Florida mother who vanished shortly after appearing on "The People's Court" hired a criminal defense attorney on Tuesday with a tie to the Casey Anthony case and the Tiger Woods scandal.

Dale Smith hired attorney Mark NeJame a day after Orlando's police chief named Mr. Smith the primary focus of detectives' investigation into the disappearance of 33-year-old Michelle Parker, the Associated Press reports.

A spokeswoman for Mr. NeJame said the attorney has no immediate comment. Mr. NeJame was the attorney for Casey Anthony's parents for a time and also represented Mr. Woods after a late 2009 car accident outside the golfer's Florida home.

Miss Parker was last seen Nov. 17, the day the previously-taped episode aired featuring her and the 40-year-old Mr. Smith. Miss Parker and Mr. Smith were on the show to resolve a dispute over a $5,000 engagement ring. Mr. Smith had sued Miss Parker for the value of the ring.

They had been together off and on since 2006 before appearing on the television show and are the parents of 3-year-old twins. Miss Parker has an older child from another relationship.

The television judge said Miss Parker was responsible for paying Mr. Smith for half of the value of the ring. But she also told them their "fatal attraction" relationship wasn't working and that they should move on to other people.

China's government bans ads during TV dramas

China's government is prohibiting television stations from placing advertisements in the middle of TV dramas in a move meant to attract viewers and boost program quality, the Associated Press reports.

The ban, which was published Monday and takes effect Jan. 1, said no ads may appear in any drama series, whose episodes typically run 45 minutes.

The order is the latest in a series since the ruling Communist Party last month endorsed a program to raise the entertainment and ideological value of cultural offerings to better hold the attention of Chinese increasingly turning to the Internet for alternate viewpoints.

TV is the most popular, lucrative and, hence, tightly controlled of all media in China. The ad ban follows a directive last month to limit reality shows and other entertainment fare.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said eliminating ads from programs will "improve the level of public cultural services, protect people's basic cultural rights ... and leave the people satisfied."

While ad revenue is expected to shrink, broadcasting executives and analysts quoted by state media said the ban will force TV stations to air higher quality series to keep viewers from switching stations.

Manslaughter charge dropped in 'Idol' contestant's death

New Jersey prosecutors have dropped the most serious charges against a man who had been accused of killing a former "American Idol" contestant with his car, agreeing with his lawyer that even though he had confessed, there is no evidence he struck the woman.

Daniel Bark pleaded guilty under a plea agreement Monday to eluding police and drunken driving. Prosecutors dismissed aggravated manslaughter and other charges in the 2009 accident that killed Alexis Cohen of Allentown, Pa. Her profanity-laden rants when she was rejected by the show on two successive seasons were shown repeatedly.

The 25-year-old's body was found on a road in Seaside Heights, N.J.

Bark faces probation and nearly a year in jail when he's sentenced. His attorney, Michael Nolan, told the Asbury Park Press there's never been any physical evidence connecting Bark to Cohen's death.

"As we've said all along, there has never been any proof that he did do it," he said. "The sad part is, this girl was killed, and whoever killed that girl is still driving around out there."

Mr. Nolan said his client was pressured into confessing to something he didn't do. In court Monday, Bark said he had drunk about six beers at a nightclub before getting into his car and driving early on July 25, 2009. He acknowledged ignoring orders from two bicycle police officers to stop, instead driving away from them. He said he was afraid because of the beers he had consumed, and because he had a marijuana pipe in his car.

Bark acknowledged swerving and nearly striking the police officers before fleeing from them, and driving through several stop signs. He also conceded he was impaired by the beer, though he wouldn't submit to a test to determine his blood-alcohol level when he was pulled over by other police officers.

Premiere date announced for USA's 'Common Law'

USA Network has announced the series premiere date for rookie buddy cop series "Common Law" and the returns for two veteran dramas.

"Common Law," starring Michael Ealy and Warren Kole as two detectives who go to couples' therapy to solve their problems, will launch at 10 p.m. Jan. 26. Jack McGee and Sonya Walger co-star in the 12-episode series.

"White Collar" will premiere the second half of its third season on at 10 p.m. Jan. 17.

"Royal Pains" returns with six new episodes the following night, Jan. 18, at 10 p.m.

• Compiled from web and wire reports.

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