- - Thursday, June 14, 2012

HBO apologized Thursday amid outrage for featuring a severed head resembling former President George W. Bush in a scene in its fantasy drama “Game of Thrones.”

“We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste,” the cable network said, blaming executive producers of the series for an “inadvertent careless mistake.”

“We are sorry this happened.”

The likeness of the presidential noggin appears for just a second with others impaled atop a row of stakes in an episode in the first season aired last year.

The show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, recently drew attention to the head in a commentary for the DVD.

“It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever heads we had lying around,” the creators said on the DVD.

“We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can’t afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk,” the duo said in their apology. “After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush.

“We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.”

HBO said the scene would be removed from future DVD production.

Judge to hear arguments on ABC airing ‘Glass House’

A federal judge has set a hearing on a motion by CBS to block the premiere of the upcoming ABC reality series “The Glass House” on the basis that it copies elements and secrets from the long-running CBS show “Big Brother.”

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess scheduled arguments for Friday morning.

“Glass House” is scheduled to premiere Monday night.

CBS wants the show knocked from the airwaves. It claims the series violates “Big Brother” copyrights and that several of its former staffers now working with ABC have violated nondisclosure agreements.

Both shows will feature contestants who are constantly videotaped, although ABC claims its series greatly emphasizes audience participation and popularity to determine events on the show.

CBS said Kenny Rosen, a former “Big Brother” producer who is now one of the top producers on “Glass House,” has acknowledged that he instructed a staffer to copy an important manual used on the CBS show.

ABC has denied wrongdoing and urged Judge Feess to reject the motion.

Lawless proudly lawless over oil rig protest

Xena: Warrior Princess” actress Lucy Lawless said she has “no regrets” about boarding and preventing an oil-drilling ship from leaving a New Zealand dock.

She pleaded guilty Thursday to trespass charges in connection with the protest.

“For the first time in my life, I put my body and reputation on the line to stand up for my beliefs and do the right thing,” she said in an interview with the Associated Press after her appearance in court. “I hope I’ve encouraged other people to do the same.”

In February, the 44-year-old native New Zealander and six other Greenpeace activists climbed a drilling tower on the vessel Noble Discoverer, which was docked in New Zealand and bound for the Arctic, to protest oil exploration in the Arctic. Miss Lawless spent four days atop the 174-foot tower, where she camped and blogged about her experiences.

She and seven other Greenpeace activists — including one who helped from the ground — pleaded guilty at Auckland District Court to charges of unlawfully being on a ship. She is scheduled to be sentenced in September and faces a maximum three years in jail after prosecutors reduced a more serious charge of burglary.

‘Live With Kelly’ viewers can win chance to co-host

With no permanent co-host named for “Live With Kelly,” the nationally syndicated talk show has launched its latest promotion, “Live’s Coast-to-Coast Co-Host Search,” a contest aiming to find viewers to serve as co-hosts for a day.

“Viewers can submit video entries, online or by mail, of up to 60 seconds in length, demonstrating why they should have a chance to co-host with Kelly,” according to an announcement this week. “Participants are encouraged to be creative and show off their best hosting techniques.”

The deadline is June 29, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Five finalists will be flown to New York the week of July 16 to compete for the chance to co-host alongside Miss Ripa on July 24.

On July 16, all five finalists will be on the show. The next day, one will be eliminated. Each day after that, another one will be eliminated from the competition, which will be a series of games, stunts and other things a host might have to do on the show.

Sources close to the show say the contest is definitely not a backdoor way to seek a permanent co-host. That process continues.

• Compiled from Web and wire reports

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