- - Monday, June 11, 2012

Five years after being treated for breast cancer, “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts has a new health fight on her hands.

Ms. Roberts said Monday she was beginning chemotherapy treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a blood and bone-marrow disease once known as preleukemia. She is expected to get a bone-marrow transplant sometime this fall.

Her older sister, Sally Ann Roberts, an anchor for WWL-TV in New Orleans, is regarded as a perfect match to donate marrow and will be doing so.

“My doctors tell me I’m going to beat this, and I know it’s true,” Ms. Roberts, 51, said on the show Monday.

Ms. Roberts developed MDS as a result of her breast cancer treatment — a manner of transmission so unusual it affects only a few hundred people per year, said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s medical correspondent.

The prognosis for many MDS patients is dire, but that’s largely due to the disease primarily affecting people over age 60, Dr. Besser said. Between Ms. Roberts being young and healthy, and having already located a good donor in her sister, Dr. Besser said things look promising for her.

Ms. Roberts has contributed to “Good Morning America” since 1995, and was named co-anchor in 2005. The former Southeastern Louisiana basketball star worked at ESPN for 15 years.

She had blood tests that disclosed the MDS after feeling fatigued, or more fatigued than even someone who had to get up for a 7 a.m. show every weekday might expect, Dr. Besser said.

She learned of her diagnosis on the same day that “Good Morning America” beat “Today” for a week in the ratings for the first time in more than 16 years, Ms. Roberts said. On a day some of her bone marrow was extracted for testing, Ms. Roberts learned she had landed an interview with President Obama where the president revealed his support for gay marriage.

“The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the adversity of life,” she said.

First lady Michelle Obama, via Twitter, told Ms. Roberts that “Barack and I have you in our prayers. We believe in you and thank you for bringing awareness and hope to others.”

Ms. Roberts said she hopes that attention paid to her diagnosis will encourage people to donate bone marrow that might help someone else with the disease. For donors, it has become a relatively simple procedure, comparable to donating blood, Dr. Besser said.

Ms. Roberts will take some occasional days off from “Good Morning America” depending on her reaction to treatment. She probably will need to take a couple of months away from the show immediately after the bone-marrow transplants.

Behar adds Current show to duties on ‘The View’

Joy Behar is joining Current TV as the host of a prime-time talk show.

Ms. Behar’s nightly program on cable channel HLN ended in December. Current TV announced Monday that her new talk show will begin in September and will air at 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Next week, she will guest anchor former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s show while he is on vacation.

Ms. Behar remains on “The View,” the daytime ABC show where she has been a fixture since its debut 15 years ago.

The left-leaning Current cable network is co-founded by Al Gore. It has introduced a slate of several talk shows both in prime time and the morning in the past year.

Arquette has bar mitzvah during visit to Israel

David Arquette got more than he bargained for during his first trip to Israel.

The actor visited the country to shoot a segment for his travel show and ended up having a bar mitzvah ceremony, too.

The 40-year-old Mr. Arquette completed the Jewish rite of passage Monday in Jerusalem at the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews to pray.

Mr. Arquette, the ex-husband of former “Friends” star Courteney Cox, is the youngest of the five acting Arquette siblings: Rosanna, Richmond, Patricia and Alexis.

While their father became a Muslim, their mother was born Jewish, making the children Jewish under religious law.

Jewish boys typically celebrate their bar mitzvah at 13, the age when they are obligated to perform Jewish commandments.

While filming an episode in Jerusalem of his “Mile High” show, which airs on the Travel Channel, Mr. Arquette attended a ceremony and was then asked whether he would like to have one as well.

Dressed in an all-white outfit, Mr. Arquette read his first Torah portion ever and placed phylacteries on his head and tattooed arm in front of the Western Wall, the lone retaining wall left from the second Jewish Temple compound.

“He was very emotional, saying he was happy to be part of the chain of the Jewish people,” said Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, who conducted the ceremony. “I’m very pleased to see a man who is returning to his roots.”

Mr. Rabinowitz said Mr. Arquette was ashamed by his lack of Jewish knowledge. Born on a commune in Virginia, he had little to do with Judaism. His maternal grandmother was a refugee of the Nazi Holocaust of World War II, but his own mother turned away from religion.

‘Jersey Shore’s‘ Cortese faces disorderly conduct charge

A “Jersey Shore” cast member has been arrested in the New Jersey town where the MTV show is based.

Seaside Heights Police Chief Tommy Boyd told WNBC-TV in New York that Deena Cortese was arrested Sunday afternoon on a disorderly conduct charge. Chief Boyd said a borough officer saw Ms. Cortese “a little intoxicated” and standing in the middle of a street, slapping cars that were driving by.

Chief Boyd said Ms. Cortese was taken to police headquarters and later released on a summons.

The popular reality show just recently started shooting its new season in the Ocean County community.

• Compiled from Web and wire reports

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