News, Mar. 2: Dick Clark Sued for Age Discrimination, Robert Blake Hires Lawyer No. 4, Fake Movie Critic Lawsuit May Go to Court, More…

Top Story: Septuagenarian Sues Dick Clark for Age Discrimination

Ralph Andrews, a 76-year-old game show producer, sued Dick Clark‘s production company Monday for age discrimination, claiming he was “embarrassed, humiliated and aggravated” when he was passed up for a job, Reuters reports. Andrews claims in his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that Clark, 74, sent him a letter in May of 2003 saying he was too old for a job with his production company. “People our age are considered dinosaurs. The business is being run by ‘the next generation,’ Clark allegedly wrote. “I’ve known Dick for 40 years. He misled me to believe he would happily give me a job doing what I do best–creating, developing or producing television shows,” Andrews said in a statement. “If Dick’s not too old then why am I?” A representative for Dick Clark Productions declined to comment, Reuters reports.

Blake Hires Lawyer No. 4

Robert Blake, charged with killing his wife three years ago, has hired his fourth lawyer since the case began, attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach, to represent him, The Associated Press reports. Schwartzbach, 59, has practiced criminal law for more than 35 years. “I’m convinced of Robert Blake‘s innocence. I’m confident he’s going to be acquitted at trial,” Schwartzbach said outside court. Blake‘s first two attorneys resigned after clashing with the actor over conducting media interviews and a third attorney stepped down Feb. 5, on the eve of Blake‘s original trial date, because of “irreconcilable differences” with his client. The trial is now scheduled to begin Sept. 9, AP reports.

Phony Movie Critic Brouhaha May Go To Court

Remember David Manning, the fake movie critic invented by Sony Pictures whose positive comments about crummy films were used in ads to promote them? Well, the class-action lawsuit moviegoers filed against the studio, whose faux critic paid high compliments to such films as Hollow Man and The Animal in ads that ran in U.S. newspapers in 2000 and 2001, might actually reach a jury. A California appeals court ruled on Thursday that suit could actually go to trial, Reuters reports, saying, “Although the films themselves enjoy full First Amendment protection, Sony’s film advertisements do not.” Still, Justice Reuben Ortega called the lawsuit “a farce” and “the most frivolous case with which I have ever had to deal.”

Oscar is Lord of the Ratings

Although the 76th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night held few, if any, surprises, the show saw its highest ratings in four years, drawing in 43.5 million viewers, Reuters reports. It was a 31 percent jump for last year’s record low of 33.1 million.

McCartney Goes Back to the Drawing Board

After the success of his animated short Rupert and the Frog Song 20 years ago, former Beatle Paul McCartney will draw again, creating a new short Tropical Island Hum, AP reports. “In animation, it’s good to have a bit of a childlike quality about yourself and I certainly have. It’s just something that is in me,” said McCartney, announcing the imminent DVD release of the new short film. McCartney‘s Rupert cartoon was the best-selling children’s video of 1984. It was accompanied by the chart hit “We All Stand Together.”

Lowe is Dr. Vegas, Baby!

Rob Lowe, whose NBC series The Lyon’s Den was axed earlier in the season, is trying his hand on the small screen again with the CBS drama pilot Dr. Vegas. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the West Wing alum plays an in-house physician at a Las Vegas casino.

Time Warner Seals Deal With Music Division

Time Warner Inc. has sold its Warner Music division to an investor group led by Universal media conglomerate chief Edgar Bronfman for a cool $2.6 billion, AP reports. In a statement announcing the completion of the purchase from Time Warner, Bronfman said the company would “move quickly” to implement a strategy to meet its business challenges. Stepping down were Atlantic Records co-chairman Val Azzoli, president Ron Shapiro and Elektra Records chief executive Sylvia Rhone.

Role Call: Timberlake Investigates Reporter Role, Disney Fantasizes Over Narnia Chronicles

Justin Timberlake is set to tackle his first feature film role alongside Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman and LL Cool J in Edison. AP reports Timberlake will play a reporter who uncovers an elite team of corrupt police…Walt Disney Studios has set its sights on adapting all seven books in the C.S. Lewis’ children fantasy classic The Chronicles of Narnia, beginning with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Variety reports the studio will co-produce with Philip Anschutz’s Walden Media with shooting expected to begin in late June or early July in New Zealand and Czechoslovakia for a Christmas 2005 release. No cast or director has been attached as yet.