- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2008

Payback time

Former “Quincy, M.E.” star Jack Klugman sued NBC Universal Friday, claiming the studio is lying about the show’s profits and owes him money.

Mr. Klugman, 85, played the crime-busting Dr. R. Quincy on the show from 1976 to 1983. His 1976 contract with NBC entitles him and his company, Sweater Productions, to 25 percent of the show’s “net profits,” according to the suit filed in Superior Court. Mr. Klugman claims his copy of the contract was lost when his agent died, and NBC has refused to provide a copy.

The lawsuit aims to force NBC to divulge the contract and award Mr. Klugman attorneys’ fees. It also asks the court to clarify the terms of the agreement.

“I recently heard that they made $250 million and it’s still on TV in Germany. I don’t want their money. I want my money,” Mr. Klugman told the Associated Press. “I worked my tail off. I got up at 4 in the morning and stayed at the studio. I did rewrite, I edited.”

NBC provided Mr. Klugman with an accounting statement showing the series had lost $66 million through 2006, according to the suit. Mr. Klugman said he believes NBC is lying.

Stone on Bush

Oliver Stone’s film about George W. Bush is expected to begin shooting within a month with a goal toward being released before the president leaves office in January.

A person close to the film, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because plans were still being formalized, said Mr. Stone’s “W.” will begin filming in late April in Shreveport, La. The Academy Award-winning director only began shopping his script for financing in January, but has quickly captured the interest of investors and Hollywood.

Mr. Stone has said that the film, which will focus on the life and presidency of Mr. Bush, won’t be an anti-Bush polemic, but, as he told Daily Variety, “a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from being an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?”

Expected to play the president is Josh Brolin, who played another Texan in the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men.” Expected to portray first lady Laura Bush is Elizabeth Banks, whose credits include “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

“W.” will be Mr. Stone’s third film dealing with presidential matters, following “Nixon” and “JFK.” The filmmaker has been an outspoken critic of the administration’s decision to invade Iraq.

Madonna and child

Madonna wants the media to leave Britney Spears alone.

“They need to step off,” she told the “Yo on E!” satellite radio show. “For real. … Let’s go save her.”

Madonna, 49, said her daughter, Lourdes, 11, feels the same way.

“She knows Britney, [but] she doesn’t really watch TV or read gossip stuff,” the pop star said in the interview. “I think she sort of gets the drift of what’s going on, and I think she feels very protective of Britney.”

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

Ricky consoles

Ricky Martin met with victims of sexual exploitation Saturday during a visit to Cambodia to promote the fight against human trafficking.

Mr. Martin held infants and listened to rape victims during his visit to a shelter in the northwestern city of Siem Reap, home of the famed Angkor temples. The pop star also held the 3-month-old daughter of a 22-year-old woman who was sold by her father to a brothel and is now HIV-positive. The woman broke down in tears as she urged Mr. Martin to keep fighting against human trafficking.

“I’m not going to stop,” Mr. Martin said, pounding his fist on his knee as he sat on a tiled floor. “All of you are my heroes. You are a gift of my life.”

Mr. Martin, who arrived in the country Wednesday, met with Interior Minister Sar Kheng and visited various projects run by non-governmental organizations fighting child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Mr. Martin learned of Cambodia’s child trafficking problems in February during a three-day U.N. conference in Vienna. He joined Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak and other dignitaries in calling for action.

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