- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Martha buys Emeril

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. is bringing in a new celebrity: popular TV chef Emeril Lagasse.

The New York-based media and merchandising company founded by domesticity maven Martha Stewart announced yesterday that it had bought the rights to the Emeril Lagasse franchise of cookbooks, television shows and kitchen products for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock at closing, Associated Press reports.

The final price could rise to up to $70 million if certain benchmarks are achieved, AP said.

The company did not acquire Emeril’s Homebase, which includes Mr. Lagasse’s 11 restaurants and corporate office.

Martha Stewart Living said the deal will “contribute immediately to our performance,” adding $8 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The acquired assets generated $14 million in revenue in 2007.

Mr. Lagasse joined the Food Network in 1993 and has hosted more than 1,600 shows. His programs “The Essence of Emeril” and “Emeril Live” reach more than 85 million homes daily.

Pink, racer hubby split

Pop star Pink and motocross racer Carey Hart have separated after two years of marriage, AP reports.

“This decision was made by best friends with a huge amount of love and respect for one another,” Pink’s representative, Michele Schweitzer, said yesterday.

Pink, a Pennsylvania native whose real name is Alecia Moore, met Mr. Hart, 32, at the 2001 X Games in Las Vegas and proposed to him four years later during a race in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. They were married Jan. 7, 2006, in Costa Rica.

The singer, 28, won a Grammy for best female rock vocal performance for her song “Trouble” in 2003. Her hits include “Get the Party Started,” “Stupid Girls” and “Don’t Let Me Get Me.”

Opera crisis averted

English National Opera singer Clive Bayley was midway through the first act of Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” when he started losing his voice.

Searching for a stand-in, the show’s directors grabbed understudy Paul Whelan from his seat in the audience.

Mr. Whelan had no time to change into costume. Instead, he sang from the side of the stage while Mr. Bayley mouthed the words during Saturday’s performance.

Mr. Whelan wasn’t scheduled to sing the role of the tutor, Raimondo, until next month and hadn’t rehearsed onstage, AP said.

Oscar ban for Hilton

We’ll always have Paris … just not at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony.

According to BostonGlobe.com, Paris Hilton reportedly has been banned from the 80th annual Academy Awards.

The hotel heiress — whose latest movie, “The Hottie and the Nottie,” grossed just $9,000 at the U.S. box office in its opening weekend — was devastated after being told she couldn’t attend the prestigious event.

“She cried hot, salty tears when she was banned from the Oscars,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying. “She’s desperate to be taken seriously as an actress and hoped she would be able to network with film executives.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.


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