- - Monday, July 11, 2011

‘Big Brother’s‘ ‘Evel Dick’ leaves show unexpectedly

“Big Brother” contestant Richard Donato has cut short his return to the CBS reality series, according to the Associated Press.

The network said the season-eight winner known as “Evel Dick” exited unexpectedly Thursday because of a “personal matter.” The network said Mr. Donato’s exit will be addressed on Wednesday’s episode.

“Big Brother” gathers a group of people in a camera-filled house, with one contestant voted out by the others each week. The last contestant standing wins $500,000.

The 13th season premiered Thursday night.

This time, eight new players are joined by three pairs of returning contestants. Mr. Donato was paired with his estranged daughter, Danielle Donato, who was also a past contestant.

‘Survivor’s‘ Richard Hatch still wrangling over taxes

Reality TV star Richard Hatch has filed notice he’ll appeal a federal court decision upholding his nine-month prison sentence for failing to pay taxes on his $1 million “Survivor” winnings.

According to the Associated Press, Hatch filed the handwritten appeal notice June 29 in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I. He is representing himself.

Federal Judge William E. Smith on May 9 rejected Hatch’s request to vacate his prison sentence.

Hatch spent more than three years in prison for not paying taxes on the $1 million he won on the first season of “Survivor.” He was released in 2009 and was ordered to refile his 2000 and 2001 taxes and pay what he owed. A judge in March ruled that he never did and returned him to prison.

TNT plans ‘Dallas’ reboot, including Hagman’s J.R.

A new generation of “Dallas” is headed for the airwaves.

According to the Associated Press, TNT said it is moving ahead with an updated version of the prime-time soap that aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991. The network announced Friday that the 10-episode season will be broadcast next summer.

“Dallas” veteran Larry Hagman will be back at Southfork Ranch, as will his long-ago co-stars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy. Mr. Hagman will reprise his role as villainous oil baron J.R. Ewing. Miss Gray will again play J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen, and Mr. Duffy returns as J.R.’s younger brother, Bobby.

The new story focuses on the Ewing offspring as they clash over the future of the family dynasty. Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster and Brenda Strong are among the newcomers to the cast.

‘Letterman’ theater lobby trashed in break-in

New York police said a struggling actor on Sunday damaged the lobby of the Ed Sullivan Theater, where the “Late Show with David Letterman” tapes, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

James Whittemore, who had Broadway aspirations, according to the New York Post, was caught on camera kicking through the glass-panel doors and then using a velvet-rope stanchion to damage the box office.

He reportedly had been drinking several blocks away, then wandered over to the studio and fell asleep on the sidewalk at 5:30 a.m. When he woke up at about 7 a.m., he noticed his cellphone had been swiped and lost his temper, police said.

“The inside looked like it was a drunken bar brawl,” a law enforcement source told the Post.

Mr. Letterman’s show was to tape as usual Monday, CBS and Worldwide Pants said in a statement.

Mr. Whittemore has appeared in musical reviews in Atlantic City and Niagara Falls. He now works as a bartender.

He was charged with burglary and criminal mischief. The Post said he laughed after his arraignment hearing and was overheard saying: “[The media] are waiting for me. They know what I did, I’m known.”

‘Dick Van Dyke’ writer, Sam Denoff, dies at 83

Emmy-winning writer Sam Denoff, who wrote for TV’s “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and helped create the Marlo Thomas comedy “That Girl,” has died in Los Angeles at 83, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Denoff’s son Douglas told the Los Angeles Times that his father, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died Friday at home in Brentwood.

Mr. Denoff and writing partner Bill Persky had written for the Steve Allen and Andy Williams television shows as well as the series “McHale’s Navy” when they sold a script for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which ran on CBS from 1961 to 1966. Mr. Persky and Mr. Denoff went on to share two Emmys for that series.

Marlo Thomas wanted the duo to write a series for her, and “That Girl” was born. The ABC series ran from 1966 to 1971.

Maher brings Ann Coulter, Chaz Bono together on show

Leave it to Bill Maher to bring the most disparate group of panelists together on “Real Time With Bill Maher” and emerge with a thoughtful discussion. Friday night’s guests on the HBO talker represented a rainbow coalition of political ideologies: There was uber-conservative commentator Ann Coulter, the Nation’s D.C. editor Chris Hayes, royal historian Amanda Foreman and transgender advocate Chaz Bono.

Mr. Maher focused much of the discussion on himself, including a nod to Dr. Keith Ablow who diagnosed Mr. Maher as insane and hostile toward women on Fox News, and said Mr. Bono was “delusional” for thinking he was a man.

This led to Ms. Coulter’s declaration that she would never go to a psychiatrist because “like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin and everyone else [Mr. Maher] despise*, I do believe in God.” To which Mr. Bono calmly replied, “Believing in God and psychiatry, how are those two things opposed to each other?”

Mr. Bono continued, “I’ve gotten great use of therapy and I also believe in God. I don’t look at them as two mutually exclusive things. I need all the help I could get.”

The panel also talked about the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks’ now-tenuous position in the Murdoch media empire and the American justice system as seen through the rubric of the Casey Anthony trial.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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