- - Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, will talk about her late father in an interview with Oprah Winfrey airing Sunday.

Paris Jackson, 14, will be featured on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the channel said Tuesday. Paris and Ms. Winfrey discuss how the teenager is faring three years after the 2009 death of her pop-star father.

“It never gets easier,” Paris said in a promotional spot aired by OWN, which also shows Ms. Winfrey asking if Michael Jackson wanted her to have “a quote ‘normal’ life.”

Paris and her brothers, Prince and Blanket, were closely sheltered during Jackson’s life but have been in the public eye since, appearing onstage at the Grammy Awards and on other TV shows.

“Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which also will include an interview with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, will air at 9 p.m. Sunday on OWN.

Reality show singer’s claim of war injury may be false

A singer who appeared on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent” and claimed he was injured during a grenade blast in Afghanistan has no military record of his combat injuries, the Minnesota National Guard said Tuesday.

Timothy Michael Poe appeared on the nationally televised show Monday. He told the judges he spent 14 years in the military, and suffered a broken back and brain injury when he was hit by a grenade in Afghanistan in 2009.

“I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded,” Mr. Poe said during a taped interview on the show. “There was a guy who come up with a rocket-propelled grenade. I saw it coming down, and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yelled ‘grenade’ and the blast had hit me.”

According to military records, Mr. Poe served with the Minnesota Army National Guard from December 2002 through May 2011, working as a supply specialist. Records show he was deployed in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007, to July 15, 2008, and then served in Afghanistan for about a month in 2009.

Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports,” Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement.

Lt. Col. Olson noted that Mr. Poe did not receive the Purple Heart, which is given to those who are injured in enemy combat. Mr. Poe didn’t claim he had received the award.

“We looked very closely at his record,” Lt. Col. Olson said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. “We did not find something to substantiate what he said.”

An NBC spokeswoman said the network and Mr. Poe had no comment.

Pelley marks first year as CBS News anchor

As Scott Pelley marks his first year as anchor of the “CBS Evening News,” he’s got his eye on the top of the mountain.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence that we’re going to bring this broadcast to No. 1,” said Mr. Pelley, whose first evening newscast was June 6, 2011.

That definitely would be an achievement for CBS News, where the division’s signature broadcast has been a consistent third behind NBC and ABC dating back to the late 1990s — through anchors Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, Katie Couric and now Mr. Pelley.

He still has a way to go, but the trend line is positive. According to the Associated Press, his newscast has averaged 6.03 million viewers a night during the past year, up from 5.72 million for the previous year, according to the Nielsen company. Ratings leader Brian Williams at NBC’s “Nightly News” has seen his average audience slip from 8.65 million to 8.49 million in the same period. ABC’s “World News,” anchored by Diane Sawyer, went from 7.68 million to 7.53 million.

Mr. Pelley said his first priority was to set a new tone for the newscast, wanting it to be a place where a viewer could tune in and feel connected to the most important stories in the world each day. It has concentrated heavily on jobs and the economy, and now the European economic crisis, said Patricia Shevlin, the broadcast’s executive producer.

Mr. Pelley said he believes the broadcast has improved in all facets and tapped into a reservoir of talent at CBS News.

“These folks needed a little bit of direction,” Mr. Pelley said. “They needed to know where we were headed and once we communicated that to them, they have performed magnificently.”

New series to give bunker to winning survivalist

The Spike television network is airing a competition this fall to award a fortified bunker to a family that believes the end of the world is near.


The network said Tuesday that its six-episode series called “Last Family on Earth” will feature survivalists competing to show how tough and resourceful they are. The winner gets an underground bunker in an undisclosed location.

Sharon Levy, executive vice president of original programming at Spike, said the series doesn’t necessarily coincide with the theory that the ancient Mayan civilization predicted the end of the world will arrive in December 2012.

Ms. Levy said polls show that many people believe that there will be some catastrophic event like an earthquake or epidemic that threatens civilization, and these are the people who will participate in the show.

“We don’t think there’s anything funny about that,” Ms. Levy said. “We think it’s a very interesting segment of the population that is very prepared, is highly intelligent. These are regular people.

“We’re taking it very seriously,” she said. “We know they’re taking it very seriously, and we think it’s going to be incredibly riveting.”

Viewers will also learn useful information about survival skills, she said.

Winners will be selected by a panel of survival experts, with viewers given a say through social media. The families involved and the judges haven’t been selected for the series, produced by reality TV maven Craig Piligian and Pilgrim Studios.

Although only six episodes have been ordered, Ms. Levy said there’s no reason that “Last Family on Earth” couldn’t last several seasons if it’s successful.

That will presume, of course, that the world doesn’t end in December.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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