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Tuning in to TV: WikiLeaks founder’s show ready to air on Russian TV

- - Sunday, April 15, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has finished shooting 12 episodes of "The World Tomorrow," his TV talk show that is set to debut this week on Russia's RT news network, formerly known as Russia Today, and online, the organization said Friday.

"The first episode will be aired on RT and released online on Tuesday, with other networks to follow," it said in a statement posted online, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, has been under house arrest, without charge, for almost 500 days," RT said. "Over the past two months, his temporary home in the English countryside has played host to a series of extraordinary conversations with some of the most interesting and controversial people alive."

The group described the show's guests as people who are "stamping their mark on the future: politicians, revolutionaries, intellectuals, artists and visionaries." It didn't mention specific names.

The show's goal is "to capture and present some of this revolutionary spirit to a global audience," Mr. Assange said. "My own work with WikiLeaks hasn't exactly made my life easier, but it has given us a platform to broadcast world-shifting ideas."

WikiLeaks promised a "frank and irreverent tone." Said Mr. Assange: "My conviction is that power can only be transformed if it is taken seriously - but ordinary people must resist the temptation to defer to the powerful."

A promotional video for the show hit YouTube on Friday, as reported by the Guardian. In it, Mr. Assange mentions his detainment before saying, "But that hasn't stopped us."

'American Idol' judges rescue bottom vote-getter

The "American Idol" judges didn't stutter: Jessica Sanchez "ain't going home."

The 16-year-old high school student from San Diego who powered through the Jazmine Sullivan ballad "Stuttering" on Wednesday, was revealed to have received the fewest viewer votes on Thursday, but the "Idol" judges unanimously decided to save Jessica before she could even finish her last-chance performance of Deborah Cox's "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here."

"Give me that mic," interrupted Jennifer Lopez. "This is crazy! Yes, we're using the save. You ain't going home."

Jessica, sometimes known as her sassy alter ego "Bebe Chez," had been deemed one of this season's front-runners, consistently impressing the panel with savvy-beyond-her-years takes on such tunes as Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" and Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams."

Elise Testone, the rockin' 28-year-old teacher from Charleston, S.C., who sizzled with Lady Gaga's "You and I," and 20-year-old student Joshua Ledet of Westlake, La., who earned a standing ovation from the panel for Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby," joined Jessica as the bottom three vote-getters, according to the Associated Press. It was the first time at the bottom for Jessica.

"This is a ridiculous bottom three, America," said Randy Jackson.

Three seasons ago, "Idol" producers introduced the ability for the show's judges to overturn viewers' votes one time before the top five finalists are selected. Rescuing the technically impressive singer means two contestants will be booted this week.

The other singers remaining in the competition are Hollie Cavanagh, 18, of McKinney, Texas; Colton Dixon, 20, of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Skylar Laine, 18, of Brandon, Miss.; and Phillip Phillips, 21 of Leesburg, Ga.

'Webster' dad Alex Karras joins lawsuit against NFL

To a generation of TV and film fans, Alex Karras will forever be the loving adoptive dad on the 1980s sitcom "Webster" or the big guy who punched a horse in 1974's "Blazing Saddles." Before his acting days, he was a football star, a three-time All-Pro defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s.

Now 76, and diagnosed with dementia, Mr. Karras is taking on the role of lead plaintiff: He and his wife, Susan Clark, are two of 119 people who filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, the latest complaint brought against the NFL by ex-players who say the league didn't do enough to protect them from head injuries.

"All through the time that I've been with him, he has suffered headaches and dizziness and high blood pressure and all kinds of things that are ... usually the result of multiple concussions," Ms. Clark said from Los Angeles in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

"This physical beating that he took as a football player has impacted his life, and therefore it has impacted his family life," Ms. Clark said. "He is interested in making the game of football safer and hoping that other families of retired players will have a healthier and happier retirement."

Ms. Clark, who played the wife of Mr. Karras' character on "Webster," said he was formally diagnosed with dementia about seven years ago, but symptoms first showed up more than a dozen years ago.

Mr. Karras and 69 other ex-players named in Thursday's suit are among more than 1,000 former NFL players suing the league, lawyers involved say. The cases say not enough was done to inform players about the dangers of concussions in the past, and not enough is done to take care of them today.

One of the lawyers representing Mr. Karras and more than 500 other former players in their cases against the NFL, Craig Mitnick, said: "The NFL not only misled players, and not only was negligent but, we believe, deliberately withheld information that could have protected these former players, and ... could have changed the way their lives were lived."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment Thursday. In the past, the NFL has said it did not intentionally seek to mislead players and has taken action to better protect players and to advance the science of concussion management and treatment.