Top Story: Miramax Gets Fahrenheit Back From Disney
After an undoubtedly few tense weeks, Miramax Films and Walt Disney Co. have finally reached a deal regarding Oscar-winning Michael Moore‘s controversial new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Reuters reports. Disney–who has refused to distribute Fahrenheit, which chronicles America’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks and links the Bush family to Osama bin Laden–will let Miramax acquire the rights to the film, giving Miramax’s co-chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein freedom to look for another distributor. Miramax spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said the Weinsteins are providing a “term sheet” to Disney based on a similar deal for a previous, controversial Miramax film, Kevin Smith‘s Dogma, and that the brothers “look forward to promptly completing this transaction,” Reuters reports.
La Toya Ousted From American Idol
Outrage rocked Wednesday night’s episode of American Idol once again as one of the favorites, La Toya London, was voted off the Fox TV talent competition. Many had predicted London and fellow contestant Fantasia Barrino would be going head-to-head in the finals, but the two singers actually received the lowest viewer votes. As the crowd jeered in reaction to her elimination, the judges also voiced their discontent for the viewers’ picks. “I think America got this one wrong this week,” Paula Abdul stated. The finalists have now been whittled down to three, including Barrino, Diana DeGarmo and Jasmine Trias–whom many assumed would be the one to get the boot.
Anderson Waves American Flag
Actress Pamela Anderson, a native of Canada, became an American citizen Wednesday after being sworn in during a brief ceremony in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. “I felt it was important to become a U.S. citizen in order to vote in the United States,” Anderson said in a written statement. “U.S. citizenship will allow me, in the future, to petition to bring my children’s grandparents down to the United States to care for them once they become older. I have no intention of giving up my citizenship in Canada and am very proud to be a Canadian.”
Shriver Launches Calif. Jewelry Line
California’s first lady Maria Shriver is launching a line of jewelry featuring the state’s landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood Sign and Yosemite National Park, with a portion of the proceeds to go to the California State Protocol Fund, The Associated Press reports. The collection ranges in price from $18 to $170 and includes sterling silver bracelets, key chains, money clips and cufflinks. About 25 percent of the price of each piece goes to the fund. The California State Protocol Fund is set up so that the cost of hosting foreign dignitaries, promoting international trade and cross-cultural activities is paid for by private donations, AP reports.
Schwarzenegger Endorses Calif. School Degrees
Meanwhile, Shriver‘s hubby, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is now putting his John Hancock on degrees handed out to graduates from California’s two largest university systems. AP reports students expressed mixed reactions. “It kind of makes the diploma seem like a bit of a joke that an action hero has signed and validated it,” Bridget O’Brien, who graduated in December from the University of California, Los Angeles, told AP. “I got a B.A. in geography, but I think my diploma is B.S.” Devin Theobald, who graduates this week from Humboldt State University, however, said the signature has symbolic value to him because Schwarzenegger rose from roots as an Austrian immigrant to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and California’s governor.
Brokaw Signs 10-Year Deal With NBC
Tom Brokaw may be stepping down as anchor of NBC Nightly News in December, but viewers won’t get to miss him. Reuters reports the veteran TV journalist has signed a 10-year contract that will keep him with the network as a documentary producer and host through 2014. He will also contribute to NBC’s coverage of major news events as an analyst. Brokaw, 64, announced last month he was stepping down as anchor for NBC’s evening newscast Dec. 1, 2004 and would be replaced by anchor and managing editor by Brian Williams.
California Porn Film Moratorium Lifted
The California porn industry has lifted a self-imposed moratorium Wednesday on filming in Los Angeles–a month earlier than expected, Reuters reports. Sharon Mitchell, director of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, which runs an HIV-screening program for the industry, said about half of the 50 porn actors under quarantine had been cleared after testing negative three times in 45 days. In all, five actors have tested positive for HIV in the biggest outbreak of the AIDS virus in Southern California’s multibillion-dollar adult film industry since 1998.
Rumsfeld’s Press Conference Set to Music
Two San Francisco musicians have set Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Feb. 12, 2002, briefing on the situation in Iraq to chamber music. Rumsfeld’s famous explanation to the state of world affairs, “As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns,” is being sung by soprano Elender Wall on the self-published CD, The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld and Other Fresh American Songs. But the song hasn’t ruffled Rumsfeld’s feathers. He told the AP, “Someone gave me a copy of this thing, and here is this woman with a wonderful voice singing my press conference. Now, if that doesn’t tell you something about the state of the world!”
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.