Oprah’s jury delivers guilty verdict
Talk show maven Oprah Winfrey, who was one of 12 jurors who convicted a Chicago man of murder Wednesday, said her three days in the jury box was an eye-opening experience. “It’s a huge reality check; there’s a whole other world going on out there,” Winfrey, surrounded by other jurors, said in the Cook County Criminal Courts Building lobby. “When your life intersects with others in this way, it is forever changed.” The Associated Press reports the jury deliberated for less than three hours before convicting 27-year-old Dion Coleman of first-degree murder in the February 2002 shooting death of Walter Holley, 23. Coleman is scheduled to be sentenced next month and could face 45 years to life in prison. The otherwise routine trial received more intense interest because of Winfrey‘s involvement, something the media mogul tried to downplay. “This is not good for the victim’s family, ” she said of the media hype. “This is not about Oprah Winfrey. The fact is, a man has been murdered.” Winfrey, who was paid the standard $17.20 a day for her jury duty, said she plans to bring her experience as a juror on a murder trial to her TV show next week.
Trump board game hits stores
Donald Trump has unveiled his newest business venture: a new Parker Brothers board game. According to the AP, Trump, the Game can be played by up to four players who bid on real estate, buy big ticket items, including islands and office buildings, and make billion-dollar business deals. Players can also terminate their opponents using The Donald’s trademark words “You’re fired” from his hit TV reality show The Apprentice. Mark Blecher, senior vice president of marketing at Hasbro Games (the parent company of Parker Brothers), said the game “allows players to feel the power and make the deals.” Trump, the Game retails for $24.99.
Moore to publish book of soldiers’ letters
Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Wednesday that Michael Moore has two new books coming out this fall. The first book, The Official ‘Fahrenheit 9-11’ Reader, is a companion book to the scheduled DVD release of Moore‘s controversial documentary about President Bush, the terrorist attacks and the Iraq war. The other release, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?, is a collection of letters written to Moore from U.S. troops in Iraq. “Our goal is to have both books out before Election Day,” Simon & Schuster spokeswoman Victoria Meyer told the AP. His previous books include Stupid White Men and Dude, Where’s My Country?
The Contender loses round one in court
A California judge yesterday denied DreamWorks TV and Mark Burnett’s first bid to stop Fox Broadcasting Co. from premiering it’s boxing skein The Next Great Champ on Sept. 10. DreamWorks and Burnett claim Fox ripped off their own boxing reality show, The Contender, and tried to stop Champ from debuting as scheduled by arguing the show’s producers violated state boxing laws in a bid to beat them to the airwaves. But according to court papers, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Linda Lefkowitz did leave open the possibility of blocking the Champ in the near future by setting a Sept. 8 hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction against the show. The judge also ordered an expedite exchange of documents between the parties to the lawsuit, Reuters reports.
Celebs gearing up for fall sitcom appearances
Joan Rivers, who openly jokes about her own cosmetic surgery, will guest star as herself on the season finale of the FX drama series Nip/Tuck, set to air Oct. 5. In the episode, Rivers meets with the show’s plastic surgeons for an unusual cosmetic consultation. Newlyweds star and singer Nick Lachey, meanwhile, is set to play Alyssa Milano‘s love interest in an upcoming six-episode arc on the WB’s Charmed, which kicks off its new season Sept. 12. And last but not least, Jennifer Lopez will return to guest star as herself on the season premiere of NBC’s Will & Grace, set to air Sept. 16. In the episode, Lopez, who was recruited by Megan Mullally‘s character to sing at her Vegas marriage last season, returns to New York after her summer tour, where Sean Hayes‘ character served as a backup dancer.
Howard Stern gets animated series on Spike TV
Radio host Howard Stern will be appearing as a teenage cartoon character of himself in a new animated series tentatively titled Howard Stern: The High School Years. Reuters reports the male-oriented cable channel Spike TV has ordered 13 episodes of the show, which is based on Stern‘s teenage years growing up on New York’s Long Island. The network said Wednesday it has not yet determined whether Stern will lend his voice to his own character. A Spike TV spokesman said Stern is serving as executive producer of the series, and added the shock jock’s parents be major characters on the cartoon series. As of this week, episodes are still being written, with producers conducting animation tests. Howard Stern: The High School Years is aimed for launch in the summer of 2005.
Are the Black Crowes reuniting?
Singer Chris Robinson, who is married to actress Kate Hudson, has canceled plans for a fall tour with his band New Earth Mud, amid rumors he may reteam with younger brother Rich under the Black Crowes moniker. Billboard.com reports the warring siblings have recently met with former manager Pete Angelus to discuss a potential reunion. Fueling the reunion speculations is the recent reactivation of the Black Crowes’ Web site (http://www.blackcrowes.com), which had been largely dormant since the group announced a hiatus in 2002. Robinson and Hudson, who were married on December 31, 2000 in Colorado and have a 7-month-old son, have recently denied reports their three-year marriage is on the rocks.
Film composer Elmer Bernstein dies
Film composer Elmer Bernstein, who created themes for The Magnificent Seven, The Man With The Golden Arm and To Kill a Mockingbird, died in his sleep at his Ojai, Calif., home Wednesday at age 82, the AP reports. Bernstein, who earned 14 Academy Award nominations, an Oscar and an Emmy Award in his 70-year career, is survived by his wife, Eve, sons Peter and Gregory, daughters Emilie and Elizabeth, and five grandchildren. Among Bernstein‘s more notable efforts were the scores for Some Came Running, Birdman of Alcatraz, The Great Escape, Hawaii, The Great Santini, My Left Foot, A River Runs Through It, Devil in a Blue Dress and The Age of Innocence. He also composed several works for symphony orchestras, some 200 movies and 80 television shows. He won an Emmy Award in 1964 for The Making of The President: 1960 and an Oscar only once for the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie. A memorial service is pending.