News, Nov. 24: Newsman Dan Rather Resigns, Martha Stewart Offers Thanks From Jail, Ruben Studdard Hospitalized, More…

Rather resigns from anchorman post

In relation to his involvement in a pre-election scandal over a story smearing President Bush’s military service, veteran newsman Dan Rather said on Tuesday he will step down as the CBS television network’s top news anchor, Reuters reports, after 24 years of service. “I have decided to leave the CBS Evening News on Mar. 9, 2005,” Rather said in a statement. “I have been lucky and blessed over these years to have what is, to me, the best job in the world and to have it at CBS News.” CBS News said in September it had been deliberately misled over the authenticity of documents it aired in a story challenging Bush’s National Guard service, with Rather having to admit he and CBS was duped on how its source for the documents had obtained the papers. CBS said Rather, 73, will remain as a correspondent for its 60 Minutes news magazine and other assignments.

Stewart gives thanks…from jail

Serving out her five-month prison sentence for lying about a stock sale, Martha Stewart claims she still has a lot to be thankful for, Reuters reports. The homemaking guru issued this Thanksgiving message on her Web site: “As you would expect, the loss of freedom and the lack of privacy are extremely difficult. But I am safe, fit and healthy…in good spirits and making the best of this difficult situation,” she told her fans. “Visits from my friends, family and colleagues–together with your goodwill and best wishes–will get me through this chapter in my life. For this friendship and support, I am very grateful this Thanksgiving.”

Idol Ruben Studdard hospitalized

Ruben Studdard, the second winner of the Fox television reality show American Idol, has been hospitalized just as his new album hits the stores, AP reports. The 26-year-old Alabama native was in Birmingham Monday night when he fell ill. J Records spokeswoman Liz Morentin said exhaustion was to blame, although more tests were due to be performed. She said Studdard admitted himself to the hospital after feeling sick the last two weeks, adding the singer “will likely remain in the hospital through the end of the week. All promotion for his new album this week has been canceled.” Studdard‘s album, I Need an Angel, released Tuesday, is his follow-up to last year’s Soulful, which sold over 1 million copies.

Willis sues over movie-related injury

Bruce Willis filed a negligence lawsuit against Revolution Studios for pyrotechnic injuries he allegedly suffered during filming of the 2003 action film Tears of the Sun, The Associated Press reports. The lawsuit claims the actor was struck in the forehead by a “projectile” during the filming of a scene in which pyrotechnic devices known as squibs, that are intended to “simulate the appearance of bullets striking the ground,” were allegedly detonated incorrectly. Willis claims in the lawsuit to have endured “extreme mental, physical and emotional pain and suffering” since the accident. There were no details on the injuries, AP reports.

Jermaine Jackson gets a divorce

Citing irreconcilable differences, former Jackson 5 member and older brother of pop star Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, has filed for divorce from his wife, Alejandra, of nine years. The couple, who married in 1995, asks that their children, Jaafar, 8, and Jermajesty, 4, live with their mother.

The Osbournes offer reward for stolen gems

Ozzy Osbourne and his wife, Sharon, have asked the British public for help in recovering nearly $2 million worth of jewelry stolen from their English country estate just before dawn on Monday, Reuters reports. The couple made the plea in a televised police news conference Tuesday and provided photos and details about the seven items snatched, which included Sharon‘s diamond wedding bands, a 24-carat sapphire ring and a number of jewel-encrusted watches. The Osbournes offered a near-$190,000 reward for the return of the gems. “Everything we got we have worked our asses off for,” an emotional Sharon said. Ozzy added he probably shouldn’t have struggled with the intruder and that “in hindsight, it could have been a lot worse.”

Actor fined $309,600 in bootlegging case

Warner Bros. officials have obtained a $309,600 judgment against NYPD Blue‘s Carmine Caridi for allegedly making promotional screener copies of The Last Samurai and Mystic River available for bootlegging and unauthorized Internet trading. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio asked the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to enter a default judgment of $150,000 per film and $9,600 in attorney fees because Caridi has refused to respond to their civil suit for copyright infringement. Caridi, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and co-defendant Russell Sprague were caught because the DVD screeners were individually watermarked for each recipient.

CBS stays ahead in November sweeps

CBS kept a secure lead in the November sweeps, thanks to the best-ever performance of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, whose 100th episode drew more than 31 million viewers, and the season’s most-watched episode of Two and a Half Men. Here are the top 10 shows for the week, their networks and viewerships according to Nielsen Media Research figures: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 31.5 million; Desperate Housewives, ABC, 24.2 million; CSI: Miami, CBS, 22.5 million; Survivor: Vanuatu, CBS, 20.4 million; Without a Trace, CBS, 19.7 million; ER, NBC, 18.9 million; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC, 17.9 million; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 17.8 million; Lost, ABC, 17.6 million; Two and a Half Men, CBS, 17.5 million.

Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.