Stephen King, John Grisham and James Patterson are among 900 of the world's most famous authors who have waded into an ongoing publishing dispute with bosses at book retailer Amazon. Hundreds of writers, also including blockbuster novelists Lee Child, Philip Pullman and Suzanne Collins, have signed an open letter informing readers about the row and urging Amazon to bring the dispute to an end.
In the letter, the group accuses Amazon executives of using "unusual tactics" in a bid to push through a deal with publishing house Hachette, alleging they have been boycotting the company's authors, refusing to apply discounts to their books and slowing delivery of works by Hachette's writers to customers.
The letter reads, "As writers - most of us not published by Hachette - we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation... Many of us have supported Amazon since it was a struggling start-up... We have made Amazon many millions of dollars and over the years... This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends...
"We call on Amazon to resolve its dispute with Hachette without further hurting authors and without blocking or otherwise delaying the sale of books to its customers."
Hachette boasts some of the publishing industry's biggest names on its roster, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, the writer behind the Twilight franchise.
Actress Sandra Bullock and pop superstar Justin Timberlake were the toast of the 2014 People Choice Awards after each taking home a handful of top honours. The Hollywood beauty claimed the first three prizes of Wednesday's (08Jan14) ceremony as she picked up the title for Favorite Movie Actress and was handed trophies for Favorite Comedic and Dramatic Movie Actress, too.
Her space disaster film, Gravity, was also named Favorite Dramatic Movie and her onscreen work with George Clooney landed her the Favorite Movie Duo award.
Timberlake was a triple threat at the Los Angeles ceremony, claiming Favorite Male Artist, R&B Artist and Favorite Album for The 20/20 Experience.
Robert Downey, Jr. was another big winner - he walked away as the Favorite Action Movie Star, while his superhero blockbuster Iron Man 3 was named Favorite Movie and Favorite Action Movie.
Newlywed Kaley Cuoco was given another couple of reasons to celebrate - she was handed the Favorite Comedic TV Actress honour for The Big Bang Theory, while the sitcom was also the winner of the Favorite Network TV Comedy category.
As she accepted her acting accolade, Cuoco, who wed tennis player Ryan Sweeting on New Year's Eve (31Dec13), gave a special shout out to her new husband, saying, "This is the second best thing that happened to me all year; the first was marrying you baby! I love you."
Meanwhile, Jennifer Hudson fought back tears as she was hailed the Favorite Humanitarian for her work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, the children's organisation she founded in 2008 to help underprivileged kids following the murder of her seven-year-old nephew.
She stepped onstage with her sister Julia to accept the award and paid tribute to her late mother and brother, who were also killed in the family tragedy, telling the crowd: "We wanna dedicate this to our mother, who taught us... that without family, you have nothing, and our brother, who was the most giving."
Awards co-hosts Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs kicked off the show with a skit straight from the diner of their hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls, featuring guest appearances by The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder, The Crazy Ones' Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christina Aguilera, Ian Ziering, The Big Bang Theory co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, and talk show host Arsenio Hall. Cuoco also made a cameo in the opening sketch, handing over the honour of presenting the prizegiving after joking that she was going to be busy on the night of the event.
Musical performances came from the likes of Brad Paisley and OneRepublic, and presenters included LL Cool J, Zac Efron, Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba and Malin Akerman.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Favorite Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Movie Actor - Johnny Depp
Favorite Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Movie Duo - Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (Gravity)
Favorite Action Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Action Movie Star - Robert Downey, Jr.
Favorite Comedic Movie - The Heat
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor - Adam Sandler
Favorite Comedic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Dramatic Movie - Gravity
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Family Movie - Despicable Me 2
Favorite Horror Movie - Carrie
Favorite Thriller Movie - Now You See Me
Favorite Network TV Comedy - The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Comedic TV Actor - Chris Colfer (Glee)
Favorite Comedic TV Actress - Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Favorite Network TV Drama - The Good Wife
Favorite Dramatic TV Actor - Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Favorite Dramatic TV Actress - Stana Katic (Castle)
Favorite Actor in a New TV Series - Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Actress in a New TV Series - Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones)
Favorite TV Crime Drama - Castle
Favorite Competition TV Show - The Voice
Favorite Cable TV Comedy - Psych
Favorite Cable TV Drama - The Walking Dead
Favorite Premium Cable TV Show - Homeland
Favorite Cable TV Actress - Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Favorite TV Anti-Hero - Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)
Favorite TV Bromance - Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins (Supernatural)
Favorite TV Gal Pals - Lea Michele and Naya Rivera (Glee)
Favorite On-screen Chemistry - Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show - Beauty and the Beast
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor - Ian Somerhalder
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress - Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast)
Favorite TV Movie/Miniseries - American Horror Story
Favorite Daytime TV Host - Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show)
Favorite New Talk Show Host - Queen Latifah (The Queen Latifah Show)
Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host - Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report)
Favorite Streaming Series - Orange Is the New Black
Favorite Series We Miss Most - Breaking Bad
Favorite New TV Comedy - Super Fun Night
Favorite New TV Drama - Reign
Favorite Male Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist - Demi Lovato
Favorite Breakout Artist - Ariana Grande
Favorite Pop Artist - Britney Spears
Favorite Country Artist - Taylor Swift
Favorite Country Music Icon - Tim McGraw
Favorite Hip Hop Artist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite R&B Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Band - One Direction
Favorite Alternative Band - Fall Out Boy
Favorite Song - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Album - Justin Timberlake (The 20/20 Experience)
Favorite Music Video - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Music Fan Following - Demi Lovato's Lovatics
Favourite Humanitarian - Jennifer Hudson.
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books have been named the best young adult novels in a new online poll. The seven-book series about a boy wizard was voted as the favourite by Entertainment Weekly readers in a month-long poll.
Rowling's beloved novels beat out 63 other acclaimed books, including Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.
Potter nabbed the top spot after it came head to head with John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in the final two.
Green's story of young cancer patients in love will be translated onto the big screen next year (14), with The Descendants star Shailene Woodley in the lead role.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Actor Stephen Collins' estranged wife Faye Grant is demanding spousal support from the former 7Th Heaven star amid allegations she has been left virtually penniless following their split last year (13). The 66 year old filed for divorce to end 27 years of marriage in May, 2012, and actress Grant claims she has been unable to find a job after giving up her screen dreams long ago to raise the couple's daughter Kate, who was born in 1989.
Grant, 56, reveals she became accustomed to a lavish lifestyle during their relationship and she has now filed court papers requesting financial help from her ex, who earned at least $1 million (£666,700) per year while they were together, reports TMZ.com.
She is asking for an unspecified amount of spousal support, in addition to half of Collins' bank account, which holds an estimated $6 million (£4 million) from various high-profile acting gigs, including earnings from 7th Heaven and more recent appearances on shows like Revolution, Devious Maids and Scandal.
Grant is also seeking half the value of two luxury properties he owns in Brentwood, California.
Comedians Stephen Fry and Ronnie Corbett and revered British talk show host Sir Michael Parkinson were among the mourners who turned out on Wednesday (11Sep13) to attend the funeral of legendary broadcaster Sir David Frost. The iconic newsman, who was portrayed by Michael Sheen in Oscar-nominated movie Frost/Nixon, passed away on 31 August (13), after suffering a heart attack on a cruise ship, and stars including Sir Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Russell Crowe and Joan Collins were some of the first to offer tributes following his death.
On Wednesday, friends and family members gathered at the Holy Trinity Church in Oxfordshire, England to bid a final farewell to the famed interviewer, and his close friend Fry later took to his Twitter.com blog to share his grief with fans.
He wrote, "David Frost's funeral - so sad. He was a wonderful father, husband and friend. The only people who didn't like him hadn't met him."
A public memorial service is expected to be held in the U.K. at a later date.
Revered British broadcaster Sir David Frost has died. The 74 year old passed away after suffering a suspected heart attack while on vacation aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship on Saturday night (31Aug13). The boat was en route from Southampton, England to Lisbon, Portugal.
A statement from his spokesperson reads, "His family are devastated and ask for privacy at this difficult time. A family funeral will be held in the near future and details of a memorial service will be announced in due course."
The U.K.'s Prime Minister David Cameron has led the tributes to the legendary newsman, stating, "My heart goes out to David Frost's family. He could be - and certainly was with me - both a friend and a fearsome interviewer."
Meanwhile, a number of celebrities have taken to Twitter to remember Frost, with actor Russell Crowe writing, "RIP David Frost. Met the man for the first time at the Ashes test at Lord's. What a legend."
Close friend Stephen Fry adds, "Oh heavens, David Frost dead? No!! I only spoke to him on Friday and he sounded so well. Excited about a house move, full of plans... how sad."
Another family friend, actress/author Joan Collins, adds, "My heart goes out to Carina, widow of David Frost - he was a brilliant broadcaster and a true life enhancer."
Frost, a noted interviewer and journalist, launched his media career in the 1960s, but actually started out in comedy, fronting satirical shows That Was The Week That Was and The Frost Report.
He moved into serious news with The Frost Programme, in which he interviewed a string of powerful people. In 1977 he became internationally famous for his revealing and candid interview with former U.S. President Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. The interview inspired the 2008 film Frost/Nixon, in which Michael Sheen played the broadcaster, while Frank Langella portrayed Nixon.
He was beloved in Britain for his longrunning panel show Through the Keyhole, which ran from 1987 to 2008. He also fronted Sunday news programme Breakfast with Frost for 12 years and most recently worked on a weekly show for Al Jazeera English.
He is survived by his wife Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard and their three sons.
Fifty Shades Of Grey writer E.L. James has been named the best paid author of 2013 ahead of industry veterans Stephen King, James Patterson and Dan Brown. The British writer has made a fortune from her 2011 erotic novel and its two sequels, which were originally written as fan fiction based on the Twilight teen vampire franchise.
She has now topped Forbes' magazine's list of the year's (13) best-paid authors with estimated earnings of $95 million (£63.3 million), which includes money from the sale of film rights as movie bosses prepare to adapt her books for the big screen.
James comes in ahead of veteran crime author Patterson, who is at number two with estimated pay of $91 million (£60.7 million) for the period between June, 2012 and June, 2013, and The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins ($55 million/£36.7 million).
Danielle Steel is at number five on the list, ahead of Dan Brown at nine and Stephen King at 10.
Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn has expressed her sadness following the death of her Private Benjamin co-star Eileen Brennan. The 80 year old passed away at her home in Burbank, California on Sunday (28Jul13) after a battle with bladder cancer, and the news has prompted an outpouring of grief among her famous friends and colleagues.
Hawn appeared opposite Brennan in 1980 comedy Private Benjamin and she was among the first to pay tribute to the late actress, writing in a post on her Twitter.com page, "We have lost my old friend Eileen Brennan. No one ever made me laugh more! Now I cry. Please keep singing darling on high. Rest."
Brennan also appeared in U.S. drama series 7th Heaven, and a number of her co-stars on the show have expressed their sadness publicly.
Beverley Mitchell writes in a post on Twitter, "So blessed to have worked with Eileen Brennan. She was incredible as Mrs. Bink. 7th Heaven she will be missed! Thank you for the memories," while Stephen Collins tweets, "RIP to the great Eileen Brennan, who graced 7th Heaven as the wonderfully strange Mrs. Bink. What a talent, what a career, what a life."
Actresses Elizabeth Banks and Eliza Dushku have also offered tributes to Brennan, along with Neil Patrick Harris, who writes, "Rest in peace, Eileen Brennan. Your performance of Mrs. Peacock in Clue was one of the funniest I've ever seen. You'll be quoted forever."
Revered British broadcaster Alan Whicker has died at the age of 87. The journalist and TV presenter passed away at his home in Jersey in the early hours of Friday morning (12Jul13) after a battle with bronchial pneumonia.
Whicker began his career in the 1940s and joined the BBC in 1957.
He is perhaps best known for his social-interest documentary series Whicker's World, which ran from 1959 to 1988 and earned him a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award in 1964. The star interviewed a number of famous faces including Peter Sellers, Joan Collins and Sir Christopher Lee.
In 2005, Whicker was handed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) medal for services to broadcasting.
British actor Stephen Fry was among the first to pay tribute to Whicker, writing in a post on his Twitter.com page, "Sad news about Alan Whicker," while Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp adds, "RIP Alan Whicker, inspirational, the man who introduced me to the world.... And so cool! Thank you!"