Tuning in to TV: Lopez, Kardashian to co-host ‘The X Factor’

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Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian Odom are officially joining “The X Factor.”

After weeks of speculation, Fox announced Tuesday that the “Extra” host and the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” co-star will indeed host the second season of the talent competition. Mr. Lopez and Mrs. Odom will first appear as hosts during the show’s live broadcasts next month, the network said.

“The worst-kept secret in Hollywood is out,” said “The X Factor” creator and judge Simon Cowell in a statement. “Mario and Khloe are our hosts. They will debut on our first live show in November, and I couldn’t be happier.”

British television personality Steve Jones served as the sole host for the first season of the U.S. edition of the show.

The addition of Mr. Lopez and Mrs. Odom is the latest shift for the underperforming singing contest. Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joined Mr. Cowell and L.A. Reid on “The X Factor” judging panel at the start of the second season. The pair replaced Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.

“I’m very excited to be joining 'The X Factor' team,” said Mr. Lopez, who also has hosted MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” for the past seven seasons. “I love the show, and I’ve been a big fan of Simon Cowell and the judges for a long time. Khloe and I have been friends for years, and I know we’ll be a great team and have a blast.”

The current second season of “X Factor” is earning solid ratings for Fox, but NBC’s “The Voice” continues to perform better. Last week, 12.55 million people watched “The Voice,” while “The X Factor” was seen by 9.71 million, according to the Nielsen Co.

‘Bachelorette’ Maynard breaks off engagement

Televised dating might not be the right fit for Emily Maynard.

The single mom’s second turn on ABC’s “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” series has ended in a broken engagement.

After weeks of rumors, Ms. Maynard and Jef Holm confirmed their split to People.com on Tuesday. Ms. Maynard described it as “a very difficult and heartbreaking decision.”

Ms. Maynard competed on the 15th season of “The Bachelor” where she accepted Brad Womack’s proposal in the season finale. They, too, broke up a few months later.

Earlier this month, former “Bachelor” Ben Flajnik and fiancee, model Courtney Robertson, also broke up.

Two “Bachelor”-related couples are celebrating some good news, though. Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum’s televised wedding special will air on ABC in December, while Jason and Molly Mesnick are expecting their first child together.

HBO’s ‘Ethel’ turns lens on RFK’s widow

In the thick of the presidential campaign, a documentary about a political wife wouldn’t seem to offer respite from the clatter.

But that’s exactly what “Ethel,” an intimate, affectionate look at Ethel Kennedy by her youngest child, manages to do. It’s a heartfelt reminder of public service’s rewards and heaviest demands, elements that can be lost in the moment’s rough and tumble.

It also honors a rarely interviewed Kennedy wife who was eclipsed by her more glamorous sister-in-law and sister in tragedy, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

Debuting at 9 p.m. Thursday on HBO, “Ethel” offers the life and times of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow through the lens of accomplished filmmaker Rory Kennedy, born six months after her father’s 1968 assassination.

Her mother is a reluctant star but, with the help of siblings and a rich film and photo collection, Ms. Kennedy creates a portrait of a feisty, devout and socially concerned woman who carried — and carries — on despite the shattering loss.

“Ethel” weaves family memories with the major events of her husband’s political life, including the Cuban missile crisis that confronted his brother, President John F. Kennedy, and RFK as U.S. attorney general.

It also creates a charming portrait of Ethel Skakel as a girl who would rather handicap the ponies than study her schoolbooks and who raised her children to be game competitors, never whiners, and never shrinking violets.

But Mrs. Kennedy’s on-camera discomfort marks her as clearly out of step with the Facebook crowd. So why agree to the project?

“Because it was Rory who asked,” replied Mrs. Kennedy, 84, in an Associated Press interview in which she kept her answers short, pointed and invariably self-effacing.

Asked to assess the film, she replied, “How remarkable [Rory] is that she can pull something out of nothing. It’s not like I’ve ever done anything. It’s like I was just there.”

Rory Kennedy quickly jumped in.

“It’s consistent with how my mother speaks about herself. She has accomplished so much in her life and done extraordinary things,” she said. “But as you can see, she’s not comfortable giving herself credit for it.”

The film shows Mrs. Kennedy as an exemplary spouse, one who helped her husband overcome the self-doubt that came with being the smallest of his large, competitive family. As a mother, she encouraged her children to be involved in the world around them.

She held firmly to that standard even as a widow with a brood of 11 children (now diminished by the deaths of sons David and Michael).

Rory Kennedy recalled one moment that occurred when she, then a preteen, and her brother, Douglas, were at home in McLean watching televised coverage of arrests being made at Washington anti-apartheid protests.

“We walked in to the dining room and said, ‘Mummy, we want to get arrested in front of the South African Embassy,’” she recalled. “And Mummy, without missing a beat, said, ‘Great, let’s go down there right now.’ She took us down and we got arrested, and she couldn’t have been prouder.”

Mrs. Kennedy’s determination remains unflagging. While reluctant to discuss herself, she launches energetically into detailing efforts by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to improve conditions for New York farm workers.

One area that remains off limits in the film is her husband’s Los Angeles shooting by Sirhan Sirhan.

“Talk about something else,” she replies to her daughter’s question on the subject.

• Compiled from Web and wire reports

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