News, Sept. 21: Dangerfield in Coma After Heart Surgery, Culkin Officially Charged for Drug Possession, CBS Duped on Bush Memos, More…

Dangerfield in coma

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield slipped into a coma while recovering from heart surgery in recent weeks but “is starting to show signs of awareness,” his wife told Reuters on Monday. Dangerfield fell into a “light coma” a couple of weeks ago, but “after recent visits from his family and close friends, Rodney is starting to show signs of awareness, and we are all hopeful that he will regain full consciousness soon,” she said in a statement issued through his publicist, Kevin Sasaki. The 82-year-old performer, who was reported by his spokesman to have been hooked to a respirator in intensive care since undergoing a heart-valve replacement on Aug. 25, was able to breathe on his own for the past 24 hours, Reuters reports.

Culkin charged with drug possession

Prosecutors formally charged former child star Macaulay Culkin with two misdemeanor drug counts Monday in connection with a traffic stop in Oklahoma City, Okla., where police found marijuana and prescription drugs, The Associated Press reports. Police found just over a half ounce of marijuana and several Xanax tablets, prescription medication used to treat depression and panic disorders, in a rental car driven by Brett M. Tabisel, 22, of New York City. Tabisel had been pulled over for speeding and making an improper lane change, according to a police report. Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane told AP that his office would insist that the actor receive drug treatment as part of any plea agreement.

The Emmy Awards draw smallest audience

ABC’s telecast of the 56th annual Primetime Emmy Awards apparently was far less riveting than the shows it lauded, proving to be one of the least watched editions of the show in years. With only 14 million viewers tuning in, Sunday’s broadcast attracted the Emmys’ smallest audience since the show aired in 1990 on the then-fledgling Fox network, averaging just 12.3 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. CBS managed to surpass ABC for Sunday night in ratings with its primetime slate of 60 Minutes and drama reruns, according to Nielsen, as well as benefiting from the Miami Dolphins/Cincinnati Bengals football match up, which into prime time.

Dan Rather apologizes to viewers

CBS News anchor Dan Rather apologized to viewers Monday night, saying the network had been deceived over the authenticity of four documents it aired in a report challenging President Bush’s military service. “I want to say personally and directly I’m sorry,” Rather said. The network also aired an interview with retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, who admitted he had purposely misled CBS regarding the documents’ origins. Reuters reports CBS News released a statement saying it should not have used the document, adding it had launched an internal investigation of the matter. “Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in a report,” the network said.

TV producer Mark Burnett in talks with Martha Stewart

TV producer Mark Burnett, the reality guru behind Survivor and The Apprentice, is in talks with homemaking maven Martha Stewart, CNN/Money reports. But Burnett told the New York Daily News the show would be a reinvention of Martha Stewart Living and not about her time in prison. “The fundamental core will have to remain the same,” Burnett told the paper. “It has to be about Martha helping people–cooking, lifestyles, that kind of thing.” Last week, Stewart, who was sentenced in July to the 10 months for obstruction of justice related to her sale of shares of ImClone Systems stock, said she wanted to start serving her five months in federal prison now, to be followed by five months of house arrest.

Madonna wraps visit to Holy Land

Madonna completed her five-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land Sunday by calling for peace at a conference on Jewish mysticism in Tel Aviv, Israel. The pop star said the people she met during her trip share a common goal: “We want to put an end to chaos and suffering, but most of all we want to put an end to hatred with no reason.” Madonna, who has adopted the Hebrew name Esther, has become an avid Kabbalah devotee in recent years. The singer said she was not representing a religion but was there as “a student of Kabbalah.” On Sunday, Madonna and her husband, director Guy Ritchie, went to the Givat Shaul cemetery outside Jerusalem to visit the grave of Kabbalist sage Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, AP reports. Led by a rabbi, Madonna and her small entourage recited blessings over food and wine and circled his raised stone grave.