News Roundup: Dec. 12

Top Story

After winning November’s primetime sweeps, CBS is still showing some impressive momentum. The Eye Network won the ratings race last week with crime drama CSI taking the top spot for the first time this season, attracting an estimated 24 million viewers.

In General

Today host Katie Couric has signed a deal with NBC that will pay her at least $13 million a year, according to As part of the deal, Couric will be given her own show to produce.

George Harrison‘s song “My Sweet Lord” is being re-released on January 14, 31 years after it topped the British charts. Proceeds from sales of the late Beatle‘s single will go to an undisclosed charity.

Universal Pictures and David Silverman, co-director of the megahit Monsters, Inc., are in talks to produce a new computer-animated film based on the Curious George books. Ron Howard (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) is rumored to be co-producing the project, according to Variety.

Margaret “Peggy” Salinger, daughter of reclusive author J.D. Salinger, is auctioning off 32 letters her father wrote to her over a 35-year period on Wednesday at Sotheby’s in New York. According to CNN, the letters reveal the elder Salinger‘s “lonely world surrounded only by the characters in his novels.”

Artisan Entertainment announced Tuesday that the studio is teaming up with comedy legends National Lampoon to produce a new film titled National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, a college romp starring Tara Reid (American Pie) and Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place).

In Courts

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released details on Tuesday about the Dec. 2 arrest of actor Gary Busey. Tiani Busey, his ex-wife, called authorities earlier that day, accusing the Oscar nominee of spousal abuse. Officers found bruises on her, arrested Busey and booked him for investigation. They were divorced in June 2000.

Martha Stewart‘s media company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, is being sued by Emmy-winning composer Edward Dzubak, claiming Stewart uses his work as her TV show’s theme music. Stewart’s company denies they lifted his composition.


As part of the 44th annual Grammy Awards in February, singer/songwriter Billy Joel will be honored at a special dinner for his continued support of AIDS and cancer research charities, reports USA Today.

The American Way, an organization that supports free speech, bestowed their Spirit of Liberty award upon Canadian rocker Neil Young on Tuesday for his advocacy of American civil rights.

On Wednesday, master flautist James Galway will be knighted by the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace.


The U.K.’s The Guardian newspaper reports that actress Rachel Gurney, who gained fame as the star of the ’70s British series Upstairs, Downstairs, died on Nov. 24.