- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rather sues CBS

Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit yesterday against CBS, claiming that the network made him a “scapegoat” for a discredited story about President Bush’s National Guard service, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Rather, 75, whose final months were clouded by controversy over the report, says the complaint stems from “CBS’ intentional mishandling” of the aftermath of the story.

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, also names CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone, and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward.

Mr. Rather, the former anchorman of the “CBS Evening News,” is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

‘HMS’ star sued

Poor Vanessa Hudgens.

Tongues have been atwitter since a nude photo of the above-reproach star of Disney’s popular “High School Musical” surfaced a few weeks back, but now the teen actress is being sued for two years of unpaid lawyer’s fees.

According to AP, attorney Brian Schall filed a lawsuit Monday claiming Miss Hudgens agreed to pay him 5 percent of her earnings in exchange for his legal representation since October 2005. He contends that the 18-year-old star has earned more than $5 million since then but that she still owes him a balance of $150,000 in legal fees, the lawsuit states.

A message left with Miss Hudgens’ representative was not immediately returned, AP said.

Maid blasts Mel B

Apparently Britney Spears — who this week was ordered to undergo random drug and alcohol testing twice weekly and also attend parenting classes — isn’t the only celebrity whose mommy skills have come under scrutiny.

A former housekeeper for singer Melanie Brown (currently involved in a rumored $9 million child-support battle with her baby’s daddy, Eddie Murphy) says the former Spice Girl left her 2-month-old daughter with the cleaning lady while she went to Las Vegas to get hitched, the New York Daily News reports.

That’s the claim being made by Tonia Lamere, who says Miss Brown — aka Mel B — left young Angel Iris with her while she eloped to Sin City with Stephen Belafonte.

“One evening of baby-sitting turned into four days,” Miss Lamere told Star magazine. “The child was sick, there was no nanny, and when Mel called, she never even asked about the baby.”

However, Miss Brown’s representative says the whole story smells of green. “Melanie is a hands-on mother completely dedicated to the upbringing of her children and the well-being of her entire family,” she told the Daily News yesterday. “Any fictitious accusations to the contrary stem from greedy people looking to make a buck.”

A paramount asset?

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. head Jeffrey Katzenberg said yesterday that Viacom Inc. shouldn’t be nonchalant about the possibility of losing Steven Spielberg, according to AP.

The warning came a day after Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said his company was planning for Mr. Spielberg’s possible departure next year amid reports that the Academy Award-winning director was unhappy at Viacom’s Paramount Pictures.

Mr. Spielberg has been with Viacom since it bought his DreamWorks studio in 2005 for $1.6 billion and made it part of its Paramount Pictures unit. The deal called for Mr. Spielberg to stay until the end of 2008. Mr. Spielberg formed DreamWorks as an independent studio with partners David Geffen and Mr. Katzenberg in 1994.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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