- - Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A year ago, not many people had heard of Lena Dunham.

This year, in a sign of her stunningly swift path to major fame, the young creator and star of HBO’s “Girls” was one of the top draws of the weekend’s New Yorker Festival, the annual gathering where fans of the magazine flock to hear their favorite authors, actors, directors, artists and politicians interviewed, of course, by their favorite New Yorker writers.

Miss Dunham, 26, whose appearance sold out in the first 20 minutes after tickets went on sale this year, was interviewed by New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum on Sunday, just as word of her seven-figure book deal was emerging, an essay collection to be published by Random House.

The actress also was nominated for multiple Emmys last month. She didn’t win, but she did get a hug from comedian Louis C.K. at the ceremony, and she revealed in an awe-struck voice Sunday that he had said to her, “What you are doing is important.”

“I dressed as you for Halloween,” she replied, according to Miss Dunham’s account. “You’re too much,” he shot back.

Astronaut Aldrin to appear on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The second man to walk on the moon is stepping foot into CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.”

Buzz Aldrin has booked a cameo on the comedy, CBS announced. Mr. Aldrin, who in 1969 was aboard the first manned lunar landing flight on Apollo 11, will appear in the Oct. 25 episode, “The Holographic Excitation,” when the gang celebrates Halloween, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Mr. Aldrin becomes the show’s second astronaut to guest-star, joining Mike Massimino, who plays himself and recurs as a member of Howard’s (Simon Helberg) shuttle crew.

The retired astronaut joins a long roster of guest stars to board the Chuck Lorre sitcom. Last season, the series welcomed Leonard Nimoy for a guest turn where he voiced a Spock action figure, as well as Stephen Hawking, who also played himself.

“Star Trek’s” LeVar Burton and Wil Wheaton will return to “Big Bang Theory” for the Nov. 8 episode. The show airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Executive changes in store for NBC’s ‘Rock Center’

NBC News is replacing the top executive at Brian Williams’ “Rock Center” newsmagazine and is making a handful of other changes.

NBC said Tuesday that Rome Hartman, the show’s inaugural executive producer, will be replaced by Alex Wallace, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Wallace is a senior vice president at NBC News and has been NBC News President Steve Capus’ chief deputy. In the short term, Mr. Hartman will work on elections coverage.

“Rock Center” has scored some journalistic coups in its first year, including Bob Costas’ interview with Jerry Sandusky, but has struggled to find an audience.

Mr. Capus said Antoine Sanfuentes, currently the Washington bureau chief, will fill Mr. Wallace’s deputy role and Ken Strickland will be Washington bureau chief.

Fourth season of ‘Louie’ delayed until spring 2014

FX network said it is delaying the return of its hit comedy “Louie” until spring 2014.

According to The Associated Press, the network said Tuesday that it had granted the request of the series’ Emmy-winning star, Louis C.K., for what he called “a little breathing room.” Along with performing in the show, he serves as producer, writer and editor, and also created it.

“Louie” recently concluded its third season. Until the extended hiatus was announced, its return for a fourth season was expected next summer.

During a teleconference, Louis C.K. said he gets “irritated” when he is not working but that he sought a break from the show “to feel hungry” again.

In the meantime, he won’t be idle. This fall, he is continuing a live stand-up tour.

‘Webster’s‘ Alex Karras given days to live

Alex Karras’ condition has deteriorated, and the NFL team for which he played is extending its sympathies.

The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News reported that the former All-Pro defensive lineman and actor has been given only a few days to live because of kidney failure.

“The entire Detroit Lions family is deeply saddened to learn of the news regarding the condition of one of our all-time greats, Alex Karras,” Lions President Tom Lewand said in a statement released by the team late Monday. “Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex.”

Mr. Karras, 77, has been suffering from dementia. He is among the many former NFL players suing the league regarding the treatment of head injuries. Detroit drafted him 10th overall out of Iowa in 1958, and he was a standout for 12 seasons.

Mr. Karras may be even better known for his work as an actor, including as a lovable father in the 1980s sitcom “Webster.” He also played the role of Mongo in the 1974 comedy classic “Blazing Saddles,” in which he said, “Mongo only pawn in game of life,” and punched out a horse.

His wife recently said his quality of life has been made worse because of head injuries sustained during his playing career.

Susan Clark said this year that her husband couldn’t drive after loving to get behind the wheel and that he no longer could remember recipes for some of his favorite Italian and Greek dishes he used to cook.

Miss Clark, who played the wife of Mr. Karras’ character on “Webster,” has said his dementia was formally diagnosed several years ago but that he has had symptoms for more than a dozen years. She and Mr. Karras were among those who filed suit nearly six months ago in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

“This physical beating that he took as a football player has impacted his life, and therefore it has impacted his family life,” Miss Clark said this year. “He is interested in making the game of football safer and hoping that other families of retired players will have a healthier and happier retirement.”

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