- - Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Video urges Kardashian to pay more in taxes

Kim Kardashian, can’t you pay more? Proponents of a proposed tax increase on millionaires in California are asking that question of the outsize personality, who has parlayed her reality TV celebrity status into fame and personal fortune.

According to the Associated Press, an online video from the Courage Campaign targets the star of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” as part of its campaign for a proposed November ballot initiative to raise taxes on the wealthiest Californians.

The video ad flashes images of Miss Kardashian enjoying the good life, proclaiming that “being on TV has changed my life, because you get lots of free stuff.”

It says Miss Kardashian made $12 million in 2010 but paid just 1 percentage point more in California income taxes than someone making $47,000 - 10.3 percent vs. 9.3 percent. The video ad, which is posted at www.taxkimk.com, urges Miss Kardashian to support the proposal for a tax increase.

“Not everyone was born a Kardashian, but we all need to pay our fair share,” it says.

A spokeswoman for Miss Kardashian, Pearl Servat, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Courage Campaign and the California Federation of Teachers are among the groups backing a so-called “millionaire’s tax” that would raise income tax rates by 3 percent to 5 percent for individuals who make more than $1 million a year.

Proponents say the tax would raise about $6 billion to help fund public schools and local services that have been hit hard during the recession, such as social services, programs for the elderly and public safety.

Trump announces new slate of ‘Apprentice’ hopefuls

Mob boss widow Victoria Gotti, singer Clay Aiken and former IndyCar champ Michael Andretti are on tap for the next edition of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Host Donald Trump announced the new batch of contenders on Wednesday’s “Today” show, the Associated Press reports. They also include “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Teresa Giudice, comedian Lisa Lampanelli, former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, rock star Dee Snider and “American Chopper” star Paul Teutul Sr.

Other contenders: radio host Adam Carolla, comedian Arsenio Hall, singer-actress Aubrey O’Day and magician Penn Jillette.

Rounding out the rivals are model Cheryl Tiegs, singer Debbie Gibson, “Star Trek” actor George Takei, singer Tia Carrere, actress-model Patricia Velasquez and “The Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno.

“Celebrity Apprentice” returns for its new season Feb. 12.

Wegmans reverses decision to pull ads featuring Baldwin

A New York-based supermarket chain has had a change of heart about grounding Alec Baldwin as a spokesman because of his antics aboard an American Airlines flight.

Wegmans Food Markets said Wednesday the company will continue running television ads featuring Mr. Baldwin after being inundated with “hundreds and hundreds of tweets, emails, and phone calls” in support of the actor.

“We regret ending the Alec Baldwin holiday commercials one week earlier than planned in response to a couple of dozen complaints,” Wegmans said. “We have decided to run the commercials again, effective immediately. Clearly, many more people support Alec.”

Wegmans revealed Tuesday it had pulled the ads after drawing customer criticism about Mr. Baldwin’s behavior. He was removed from a New York-bound flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 6 for refusing to turn off his cellphone.

The commercials, which were filmed for the 2010 holiday season, were supposed to run again for three weeks last month but were pulled a week early after Mr. Baldwin’s airline dust-up.

Mr. Baldwin was hired for the ads after he mentioned that his mother, who lives in the Syracuse, N.Y., area, is a loyal Wegmans customer.

Story of mankind planned on History channel

After its successful series on the history of America in 2010, television’s History channel is setting its sights even higher.

The network said Tuesday that a 12-hour miniseries, “Mankind the Story of All of Us,” will debut late this year. History, seen in more than 300 million homes worldwide, will offer different versions of the series in different parts of the world, the first time it has ever done that.

“America the Story of Us” hadn’t even concluded when History executives, impressed by its ratings, began talking about what to do next, said Nancy Dubuc, the network’s president and general manager.

“Rather than take a slice of the America story and do something more in depth on that, we decided to go bigger and broader,” she said.

The new series starts with the Big Bang and traces the development of humans on a planet where the vast majority of species go extinct, said Jane Root, the project’s executive producer.

Ms. Root described it as a “real action-adventure” project, one that encompasses astronomy, geology and other sciences along with history. It will make liberal use of computer-generated recreations in its storytelling, she said.

Netflix original series to debut in February

Online film and television show titan Netflix will make its original programming debut in February with “Lilyhammer,” a “fish-out-of-water story” about a New York mobster starting anew in Norway, Agence France-Presse reports.

Steven Van Zandt, a guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, stars as Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano, who enters a federal witness protection program after giving authorities information about his boss.

“I am very careful with my choices and this project was so exciting to me because of the wonderful writing, the rich characters and the fascinating culture of Norway,” Mr. Van Zandt said in a release.

“Netflix is the perfect home for such a unique show.”

The first episode of the show, which is set in Lillehammer, Norway, will be available for streaming online beginning Feb. 6 by Netflix subscribers in Canada, Latin America and the United States.

Mr. Van Zandt, 61, became an actor by playing Silvio Dante, a strip club owner, on the blockbuster HBO series “The Sopranos.”

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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