News, Oct. 6: Readers Angry Over “L.A. Times” Schwarzenegger Coverage, Kilmer’s Comments Anger Senator, Witherspoon’s Brother on Probation, More…

Top Story: Readers Angry Over L.A. Times‘ Schwarzenegger Coverage

About 1,000 readers have canceled their subscriptions to the Los Angeles Times to protest the paper’s coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘s alleged sexual harassment of women, Reuters reports. Readers have complained that the paper singled out Schwarzenegger for critical coverage because of a liberal bias or ran its stories too close to Tuesday’s vote. The Times has detailed allegations by 15 women in three front-page stories against the actor since Thursday. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has both apologized and denied the sexual misconduct allegations while accusing The Times of working with incumbent Gov. Gray Davis in a campaign of “puke politics” aimed at derailing his candidacy.

Diana Ross’s Trial Postponed

Diana Ross‘s drunk driving trial has been moved to January 14. According to The Associated Press, the trial had originally been set for Sept. 9 and then Dec. 9, but the later date was a court calendar mistake since the Tucson, Ariz., city court isn’t holding trials that week. The 59-year-old singer was arrested last December in Tuscon after a woman reported seeing a car driving on the wrong side of the road. Police said Ross had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 percent. Ross, who has pleaded innocent to three drunk driving related charges, could receive jail time and a fine if convicted.

Kilmer’s Comments Anger N.M. Lawmaker

Wonderland star Val Kilmer, who has a ranch in the mountains south of Pecos, New Mexico, isn’t making any friends in the state senate. In an interview published in a recent edition of Rolling Stone magazine, Kilmer said he carries a gun in his car. “I live in the homicide capital of the Southwest,” Kilmer told the magazine. “Eighty percent of the people in my county are drunk. So driving home on the highway, especially with kids, it’s just a precaution.” State Sen. Phil Griego, whose district includes San Miguel County where Kilmer‘s ranch is, said Friday if the actor doesn’t like it he’s welcome to leave. “I don’t believe for a minute he meant any of it,” said John Hendry of the state tourism department to the AP. “I know him and I have a feeling that you had to be there [to understand Kilmer’s perhaps sardonic intent].”

Reese Witherspoon’s Brother Placed on Probation

Reese Witherspoon‘s 30-year-old brother has been placed on two years’ probation after pleading guilty to trespassing and attempted sexual battery, the AP reports. John Draper Witherspoon was arrested Oct. 5, 2002, after he entered an unlocked door at a neighbor’s home and attempted to undress a woman while she slept. The woman said Witherspoon kissed her on the neck and face, but that he left after she woke up. Witherspoon’s attorney, Ed Yarbrough, said his client doesn’t dispute the woman’s account, but was drunk at the time and doesn’t recall what he did. Witherspoon attends weekly meetings at Nashville’s Vanderbilt Institute for the Treatment of Addiction and will attend for at least two years as part of the plea bargain.

Last New 8 Simple Rules Airs Tuesday

ABC will air Tuesday the last of three new episodes of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter filmed by star John Ritter before his death. According to the AP, the show will then go into repeats for a few weeks, then return with Ritter‘s character having recently died. 8 Simple Rules… airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Rob Lowe Talks About West Wing Departure

Rob Lowe tells TV Guide in its Oct. 11 issue that he quit The West Wing because he felt slighted by show creator Aaron Sorkin over the size of his role and the money he was making. Lowe made $70,000 an episode while co-star Martin Sheen got a raise to $300,000 a show. “Why didn’t (Sorkin) know how much I loved him, how much I loved that show?” Lowe said. Lowe, who now stars and is executive producer of NBC’s new legal drama The Lyon’s Den, also recalls a meeting at which producers reprimanded him for an attendance record that showed he’d been late a total of 17 hours. “I was spied on. No other cast member had a meeting like that,” Lowe said.

Fox Searchlight To Hold Special Screenings

Fox Searchlight Pictures, the specialty arm of 20th Century Fox, will hold special theater screenings of In America as an answer to a recent ban placed on Oscars hopeful screeners, Reuters reports. Last week, the Motion Picture Association of America instituted a ban on sending DVDs of movies vying for the Oscars to Academy Award voters. In America, about an Irish immigrant family in New York, will begin playing in four theaters in Los Angeles starting Oct. 9. The theaters will be open to the public at regular ticket prices but free for Oscar voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Fox Searchlight said in a statement the special screenings will continue until the film debuts nationally Nov. 26.

Rings Fans Line Up for World Premiere

The Lord of the Rings fans are lining up to buy a seat in a Wellington, New Zealand, movie theater where the world premiere of the trilogy’s final installment, The Return of the King, will be screened in December. New Line Cinema said it would not return to the city’s Embassy Theater for the final world premiere unless the 79-year-old theater was improved. According to BBC News, the Embassy Theater Trust decided to fund part of the refurbishment efforts by selling sponsored seats, giving sponsors the right to a name plaque on their seat. More than 80 percent of the 748 sponsored seats have already been snapped up, some for as much as $1,104. Sponsoring a seat, however, doesn’t mean they get to sit in it for the premiere or even the first public screenings two weeks later. The Return of the King will be released worldwide release Dec. 17.