- - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ABC News head outlines goals for his division

ABC News’ new advertising slogan is “See the whole picture,” and division President Ben Sherwood said Monday that reflects an effort to broaden his journalists’ definition of what they do.

Mr. Sherwood said his goal is to make ABC News one of the world’s premier providers of nonfiction content. While that doesn’t mean producing cheesy reality shows, Mr. Sherwood said his journalists need to have a more entrepreneurial eye about how they present information.

“We are journalists, we are storytellers, we are interested in the world,” Mr. Sherwood said. “We shouldn’t be interested in the way things have always been done.”

Mr. Sherwood has spoken little publicly during his year at the helm of ABC News, which is second behind NBC in ratings for its signature evening newscast. During that time “Good Morning America” and “Nightline” have improved in the ratings.

Those programs and “World News” have increased the amount of lifestyle and celebrity news they offer, leading to some criticism that ABC is emphasizing softer news at a time rivals at CBS have opted for a more meat-and-potatoes approach.

Mr. Sherwood told reporters Monday that he rejected labels such as “hard” or “soft” news and said that ABC’s yardstick is relevance to its viewers.

He cited ABC’s coverage of Bank of America’s dropped plans to charge a $5 monthly debit card fee as an example of a story that might not fit a traditional hard news agenda but is one that is important to viewers.

‘Mad Men’ star promises new episodes in March

“Mad Men” last aired a new episode in October 2010. But relief is in sight, according to star Jon Hamm.

Mr. Hamm revealed on a podcast last week that the premiere of the fifth season of the AMC network drama is March 25.

He also said he will direct that episode. He appeared on Friday’s edition of the podcast “Doug Loves Movies,” hosted by comedian Doug Benson.

AMC declined to confirm the date. The return of the show follows protracted negotiations after the fourth season between Lionsgate, the studio that produces it, and its creator-executive producer, Matthew Weiner.

Shelton, McEntire to re-team for Country Music Awards

Get ready for another dose of Blake Shelton as country’s hottest leading man joins Reba McEntire again this year as co-host of the Academy of Country Music Awards.

The 47th annual show will be held April 1 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Associated Press reports. Like Mr. Shelton, ACM’s Fan Jam also will return for a second year. This time, the Zac Brown Band will host the parallel event at the Mandalay Events Center.

The academy also announced Lionel Richie will host “ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends - A Lifetime of Hits,” its annual television special taped the day after the awards and aired later on CBS. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Kenny Rogers, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride and others will join Mr. Richie on the show.

The appearance will continue country music’s love affair with Mr. Richie, who is preparing to release a country duets album this spring called “Tuskegee.” Most of today’s top country stars have said recently Mr. Richie is an influence and his recent appearances at celebrity events have drawn crowds of star-struck celebrities.

Macy ‘Shameless’ over attention from new role

William H. Macy has earned critical acclaim for playing nerdy asexual characters in films such as “Fargo” and “Magnolia.” But he said his role as a conniving deadbeat dad on Showtime’s “Shameless” series is turning him into a sex symbol.

In a recent Associated Press interview, Mr. Macy said he was hit on by “two seriously good-looking women” while filming in Chicago. He was so surprised that he turned around to see if their attention was meant for someone else.

He said he couldn’t wait to tell his wife, “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman.

Mr. Macy said he thinks the appeal is partly his longer hair. But, he said, his character is a “rascal” who’s quite sexual.

Mr. Macy said he’s “always felt like Tom Cruise” but looks like Howdy Doody. He said he loves the attention.

‘SVU’ actress speaks out about being crime victim

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” actress Tamara Tunie spoke out Tuesday about being a real-life crime victim, saying her former business manager exploited her trust to steal more than $1 million she earned by working doggedly at a peak in her career.

Blasting Joseph Cilibrasi as a “menace to society” as he was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 years in prison, Miss Tunie said he insinuated himself into her life by joining in birthday parties, weddings and other family events, only to use that closeness to embezzle from her and leave a lasting hole in her family’s finances.

“Show business is fickle, and though I have been blessed with a healthy career, who knows how long that will last?” Miss Tunie told a Manhattan court. “As an African-American woman, roles are few and far between, and I cannot reasonably hope to replace what was stolen.”

Cilibrasi, 51, pleaded guilty in the fall to stealing from Miss Tunie and other clients, including screenwriter Janet Roach and Kansas City Symphony music director Michael Stern. Cilibrasi used some of the stolen cash to finance his own forays into entertainment, including investing in movies and Broadway shows and hiring a screenwriter to pen a script about a historic building, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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