- - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Craig Ferguson receives letter with white powder

Craig Ferguson managed to crack a few jokes on his talk show Tuesday after receiving an envelope filled with white powder that turned out to be harmless, the Associated Press reports.

“Today someone sent an envelope packed with white powder to the show. I offered to test it, but they said ‘no,’ ” Mr. Ferguson quipped during a studio taping of “The Late Late Show.”

The taping went on as scheduled after the show received a threatening letter sent to Mr. Ferguson. Police Detective Gus Villanueva declined to discuss the nature of the threat against the talk show host, saying only that it was sent from overseas.

Two people at CBS Television City, where the show is taped, were held in isolation temporarily after being exposed to the powder around 3 p.m. They were released after a hazardous materials team screened the powder and found it to be benign.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the agency was working with police to find out who sent the letter.

The brief scare appeared to have rattled Mr. Ferguson’s nerves.

“I was going to come out and talk about the earthquake, but I can’t do that now,” he said about the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck the East Coast. “The earthquake only scared millions of people on the East Coast, but the white powder did something much worse. It scared me.”

‘Glee’ cast tapes video for Fashion’s Night Out

Cast members from “Glee” have recorded a music video to David Bowie’s “Fashion” to promote Fashion’s Night Out, a Sept. 8 event sponsored by the fashion industry to encourage shopping.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, it begins with villain cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) saying, “I just love fashion.” Miss Lynch ends the clip by shouting into her megaphone, “Now get out and shop!”

The cast wears designs from Prada, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs and Dries Van Noten. The video will air Tuesday during a rerun of the Lady Gaga episode of the Fox show.

The music video was created by Trey Laird of New York City-based Laird & Partners, according to the New York Times, and commissioned by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour.

“When Anna and I talked this year, we liked the idea of a performance” as the focus of the campaign, Mr. Laird told the Times.

“As fashion becomes more of a pop-culture influence [it made sense to use the ‘Glee’ cast because the Fox hit is] such a pop-culture phenomenon.”

The video will be streamed on FashionsNightOut.com, Fox.com and Vogue.com, on signs in Times Square, and on taxi TV screens.

Co-creator Ryan Murphy, star Lea Michele and several other cast members will be in New York City on Sept. 8 to promote the event, Mr. Laird told the Times.

Al Sharpton to host weeknight show on MSNBC

After several weeks in a tryout role, the Rev. Al Sharpton officially has been named host of a weeknight hour on MSNBC, according to the Associated Press.

The program, now called “PoliticsNation,” will air at 6 p.m. and premiere Monday, the network announced Tuesday.

In his new role, the civil rights activist and minister will lead a lively and informed discussion of the day’s top headlines, MSNBC said.

Mr. Sharpton called the hosting job “a natural extension of my life work and growth.”

Besides his work as a community leader and religious figure, Mr. Sharpton already hosts a nationally syndicated radio show. He was a candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination that ultimately went to Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

The 6 p.m. hour serves as a lead-in to MSNBC’s weeknight slate that includes Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz. The network has done a swift reconfiguration in prime time since the abrupt departure of its marquee host, Keith Olbermann, in January. Mr. Olbermann took his show to Current TV.

‘Uncle Frank,’ a fixture on Kimmel show, dies

Frank Potenza, a former New York City police officer who turned to comedy as “Uncle Frank” on his nephew Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show, died early Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. He was 77.

A statement from ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” said Mr. Potenza was “beloved by his co-workers and considered an uncle to all.”

“His kindness and humor will be missed by everyone he touched,” the statement said. It did not include further details.

The show is on hiatus until Sept. 6, and ABC did not have any immediate information about an on-air tribute to Mr. Potenza.

The silver-haired Mr. Potenza had served as a police officer for two decades and as a private security guard before Mr. Kimmel asked him to join his fledgling show as a guard and cast member in 2003.

On “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the uniformed Mr. Potenza was paired in comedy bits with Guillermo Rodriguez, a real-life parking lot security guard for the show. The two men also joined with Veatrice Rice, another show security guard, in a clueless discussion about news events. Rice died in 2009.

ABC hidden-camera show is asked to get out of town

Officials in one well-to-do Connecticut town are asking an ABC hidden-camera show to hit the road, according to the Associated Press.

Greenwich officials told the Greenwich Time that the shooting of the show “What Would You Do?” is disruptive, saying they asked the crew to choose another location for taping.

The show sets up morally difficult situations and secretly films people’s reactions.

Town officials said having the show set up in front of stores has a negative impact on business. Greenwich police said one of the show’s scenes caused an alarmed resident to ask a store employee to call police.

The Associated Press left messages for an ABC representative.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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