- - Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ryan Seacrest in talks to replace Matt Lauer?

Ryan Seacrest’s name has resurfaced as a potential successor to “Today” anchor Matt Lauer, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The latest round of rumblings began with the Wall Street Journal, which reported that NBC executives, including “Today” executive producer Jim Bell, met with Mr. Seacrest this week to discuss the possibility of him joining NBC’s morning show. Multiple sources confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that the meeting did take place but described it as part of continued discussions with the “American Idol” host.

Mr. Lauer reportedly has flirted with the idea of leaving “Today” when his contract is up late next year.

Making the chatter that much more intense is the fact that Mr. Seacrest’s rich contract with E!, where he is lead anchor and managing editor of “E! News,” is up early next year, and his representative confirmed his negotiations with E! parent NBCUniversal are ongoing.

Alec Baldwin apologizes to passengers, not airline

Alec Baldwin issued an apology Wednesday to fellow passengers on an American Airlines flight that was delayed by his refusal to stop playing a cellphone game — but stopped short of apologizing to the airline or the flight attendant he later mocked on Twitter.

The “30 Rock” actor’s note, posted to the Huffington Post, instead lamented the state of modern air travel. Mr. Baldwin noted the financial struggles of airlines, saying the result is that air travel has devolved into an inelegant experience, akin to riding a bus.

Mr. Baldwin wrote that increased security on commercial airplanes post-9/11 has resulted in a “paramilitary” aura around air travel.

“September 11th was a horrific day in the airline industry, yet in the wake of that event, I believe carriers and airports have used that as an excuse to make the air travel experience as inelegant as possible,” he wrote.

Mr. Baldwin’s letter is the latest volley in a dust-up with American Airlines, with the airline taking to social media Wednesday to maintain that it was following federal regulations when it booted an “extremely vocal customer” from a flight for refusing to shut off his cellphone.

The company never cited the “30 Rock” TV star by name.

Mr. Baldwin took to Twitter after Tuesday’s incident at Los Angeles International Airport, saying he was asked to leave a New York-bound plane after a “flight attendant on American reamed me out” for playing a game on his cellphone.

American said Wednesday on Facebook that Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that cellphones and other electronic devices be turned off as soon as the airliner’s door has been closed. The company said Mr. Baldwin refused to comply.

The airline added that Mr. Baldwin was “extremely rude” to the flight crew, calling people “inappropriate names” and using offensive language.

Mr. Baldwin’s spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, said Wednesday it was the flight attendant who acted inappropriately. He said other people on the plane were violating the regulation and that Mr. Baldwin was singled out.

“The plane was already delayed half an hour at the gate when Alec was playing ‘Words With Friends,’ ” Mr. Hiltzik told the Associated Press. “Other passengers who tweeted flagrantly violated these rules without any repercussions — proving that they were obviously selectively enforced.”

Mr. Baldwin deactivated his Twitter account, and all of his previous tweets were removed. Mr. Hiltzik said that was because the actor was setting aside his Twitter activity to concentrate on “30 Rock.”

Kardashian mom to serve as Miss America judge

Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner is on a panel of seven judges who will pick next year’s Miss America during a pageant in January in Las Vegas.

Ms. Jenner, a star of cable reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” will join “Meet the Parents” actress Teri Polo and ABC’s lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer on the panel announced Wednesday.

Also judging the pageant will be “Dancing With the Stars” dancer Mark Ballas, “The Bachelor” executive producer Mike Fleiss, “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” host Chris Powell and Raul de Molina, a former photographer and host of Univision entertainment news show “El Gordo y la Flaca.”

The pageant’s finals are scheduled for Jan. 14 at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and will air live on ABC. The pageant will be hosted by “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, who is at the start of a two-year deal hosting the competition.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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