Dangerfield in coma
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield slipped into a coma while recovering from heart surgery in recent weeks but "is starting to show signs of awareness," his wife told Reuters on Monday. Dangerfield fell into a "light coma" a couple of weeks ago, but "after recent visits from his family and close friends, Rodney is starting to show signs of awareness, and we are all hopeful that he will regain full consciousness soon," she said in a statement issued through his publicist, Kevin Sasaki. The 82-year-old performer, who was reported by his spokesman to have been hooked to a respirator in intensive care since undergoing a heart-valve replacement on Aug. 25, was able to breathe on his own for the past 24 hours, Reuters reports.
Culkin charged with drug possession
Prosecutors formally charged former child star Macaulay Culkin with two misdemeanor drug counts Monday in connection with a traffic stop in Oklahoma City, Okla., where police found marijuana and prescription drugs, The Associated Press reports. Police found just over a half ounce of marijuana and several Xanax tablets, prescription medication used to treat depression and panic disorders, in a rental car driven by Brett M. Tabisel, 22, of New York City. Tabisel had been pulled over for speeding and making an improper lane change, according to a police report. Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane told AP that his office would insist that the actor receive drug treatment as part of any plea agreement.
The Emmy Awards draw smallest audience
ABC's telecast of the 56th annual Primetime Emmy Awards apparently was far less riveting than the shows it lauded, proving to be one of the least watched editions of the show in years. With only 14 million viewers tuning in, Sunday's broadcast attracted the Emmys' smallest audience since the show aired in 1990 on the then-fledgling Fox network, averaging just 12.3 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. CBS managed to surpass ABC for Sunday night in ratings with its primetime slate of 60 Minutes and drama reruns, according to Nielsen, as well as benefiting from the Miami Dolphins/Cincinnati Bengals football match up, which into prime time.
Dan Rather apologizes to viewers
CBS News anchor Dan Rather apologized to viewers Monday night, saying the network had been deceived over the authenticity of four documents it aired in a report challenging President Bush's military service. "I want to say personally and directly I'm sorry," Rather said. The network also aired an interview with retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, who admitted he had purposely misled CBS regarding the documents' origins. Reuters reports CBS News released a statement saying it should not have used the document, adding it had launched an internal investigation of the matter. "Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in a report," the network said.
TV producer Mark Burnett in talks with Martha Stewart
TV producer Mark Burnett, the reality guru behind Survivor and The Apprentice, is in talks with homemaking maven Martha Stewart, CNN/Money reports. But Burnett told the New York Daily News the show would be a reinvention of Martha Stewart Living and not about her time in prison. "The fundamental core will have to remain the same," Burnett told the paper. "It has to be about Martha helping people--cooking, lifestyles, that kind of thing." Last week, Stewart, who was sentenced in July to the 10 months for obstruction of justice related to her sale of shares of ImClone Systems stock, said she wanted to start serving her five months in federal prison now, to be followed by five months of house arrest.
Madonna wraps visit to Holy Land
Madonna completed her five-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land Sunday by calling for peace at a conference on Jewish mysticism in Tel Aviv, Israel. The pop star said the people she met during her trip share a common goal: "We want to put an end to chaos and suffering, but most of all we want to put an end to hatred with no reason." Madonna, who has adopted the Hebrew name Esther, has become an avid Kabbalah devotee in recent years. The singer said she was not representing a religion but was there as "a student of Kabbalah." On Sunday, Madonna and her husband, director Guy Ritchie, went to the Givat Shaul cemetery outside Jerusalem to visit the grave of Kabbalist sage Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, AP reports. Led by a rabbi, Madonna and her small entourage recited blessings over food and wine and circled his raised stone grave.
Macaulay Culkin arrested on drug charges
Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin was arrested Friday in Oklahoma City, Okla., on suspicion of possessing marijuana and a controlled substance, Reuters reports. According to the arrest report, an Oklahoma City police officer pulled over a car speeding on a highway in the city. Culkin, 24, was a passenger in the car driven by a man from New York. The officer asked Culkin and the driver, identified as Brett M. Tabisel, to step out of the car after he had given the officer permission to search the vehicle. The two said they were driving from New York to Los Angeles. The officer found the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and sleeping pills in plastic sandwich bags and 17.3 grams (0.6 ounce) of marijuana in a metal cigarette box. The two were reportedly cooperative with the search and quickly surrendered the drugs. According to the report, Culkin obtained the prescription drugs without a prescription. After spending about two hours in jail, Culkin was released Friday night on $4,000 bail, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department said. Culkin, who most recently starred in the film Saved!, did not talk to reporters when he left the jail, Reuters reports.
Edward Furlong busted in lobster ordeal
Actor Edward Furlong also did jail time last week. The Associated Press reports the Terminator 2 star was arrested Wednesday night in Florence, Ky., on a misdemeanor charge of alcohol intoxication in a public place. According to the police report, Furlong, an animal-rights supporter and vegetarian, was arrested after he and some friends removed lobsters from a tank at a grocery store. He argued with store managers, who then called police. According to his arrest citation, Furlong was unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol, the citation said. He spent about 1 1/2 hours in the Boone County jail before his release. The actor is in the area to shoot his latest film, Jimmy & Judy.
Jackson regrets paying off past molestation claims
During a break in his child molestation pretrial hearing Friday, Michael Jackson's attorney read off a statement aimed at rumors and leaks surrounding the case, including reports he paid off past molestation claims. "Many years ago, he did pay money rather than litigate two false allegations that he had harmed children," attorney Tom Mesereau said. "Mr. Jackson now regrets making these payments." Dressed in a white suit and flanked by family members, Jackson stood by as Mesereau read the statement. Mesereau said Jackson had been pressured to make payments by his advisers and by a music industry that "did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits," Reuters reports. Jackson was in court in Santa Maria, Calif., to watch the mother of his young accuser take the witness stand.
Toronto film fest hands out awards
Hotel Rwanda and Omagh won top honors Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival, which ran from Sept. 9-18. Hotel Rwanda, based on the true story of a hotel manager who saved hundreds of lives during the country's 1994 genocide, won the People's Choice award, which are voted on by regular moviegoers. Past People's Choice winners include the Oscar winners American Beauty, Life Is Beautiful, Shine and Chariots of Fire. The Discovery award, chosen by journalists who attended the festival, went to Omagh, about the relatives of victims of the 1998 bombing in Northern Ireland. Other prizewinners included the New Zealand film In My Father's Den, which won the Fipresci prize given by a jury to an emerging filmmaker. Canadian film prizes went to comedy It's All Gone Pete Tong and French-language horror La Peau Blanche (White Skin).
French director flips bill for free screening
French director Claude Lelouch, who held free screenings for his film Les Parisiens Friday after it was trashed by critics, told RTL radio in an interview he must now flip the bill for $182,700. "It'll cost me about a million francs ($182,700)," Lelouch said. "(Audiences in the) theaters were enthusiastic ... People loved it. And since (Friday), I am getting even more messages than before." Lelouch, whose 1966 film A Man and a Woman won Oscars for best foreign film and screenplay, said about 40,000 people had watched the film in 400 theaters. "It's been 40 years that I've let myself be criticized. I've shut my mouth for 40 years," he said of his move to try to drum up public support for the film by offering the free screening.
Papa Simpson starts new record label
Jessica Simpson's father and manager, Joe Simpson, is starting a record label. Reuters reports JT Records (named for Simpson and his wife, Tina), a joint venture with Geffen Records, calls for the new label to deliver at least two albums per year. Geffen will pay all costs, with profits split evenly between the two entities. JT's first act will be the male quintet Barefoot, whom Simpson describes as a cross between Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Third Eye Blind. The band is expected to release its debut next spring. Simpson, who also handles the careers of his two daughters, Jessica and Ashlee, says he was also courted by Warner Music Group (Simpson manages breaking artist Ryan Cabrera, whose music is distributed through WMG's E.V.L.A./Atlantic label) and Sony BMG (Jessica is on Sony BMG-owned Columbia).
Porn studios get first condom fines
The California Division of Occupational Health and Safety on Friday slapped fines on two Los Angeles-based porn production companies for allowing actors to perform without condoms, Reuters reports. Evasive Angles and TTB Productions were fined $30,560 each for making porn movies that it said exposed three actors to HIV infections. It was the first time the Cal/OSHA had taken regulatory action against the lucrative adult film industry in what is dubbed "Porn Valley" in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A. Last April, five actors tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, causing the porn industry shut down voluntarily for a month following the outbreak. Porn producers have resisted compulsory condom rules saying consumers do not want to watch safe sex. But Cal/OSHA said porn actors had the same legal right to a safe workplace as employees in more conventional businesses.