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Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2004

People

December 22, 2004

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Harry Potter to reappear July 16

New York (ap) -- Setting the stage for another round of midnight bookstore parties and marathon readings into the morning, the penultimate novel in J.K. Rowling's mega-selling series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," will go on sale 12:01 a.m. July 16, publishers said Tuesday.

Competition for sales began almost immediately, with Amazon.com and the superstore chains Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc. announcing 40 percent discounts on the book's $29.99 suggested retail price. By Tuesday, "Half-Blood Prince" was already No. 1 on Barnes & Noble.com's best seller list and was in the top 10 on Amazon.com.

The retail price is the same as for Potter V, even though Rowling has strongly hinted she will not approach the industrial-sized 870 pages of "Order of the Phoenix." In an earlier message on her Web site, she stated, "According to the plan for book six, it will be quite a bit shorter than 'Order of the Phoenix'. I am not going to swear on my children's lives that that is going to be the case, but I am 99% certain of it."

Clark remains in hospital

Burbank, Calif. -- TV personality-producer Dick Clark will spend Christmas, and perhaps New Year's Eve, in a hospital where he's recovering from a mild stroke, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Clark, who suffered the stroke Dec. 6, is out of the intensive care unit and "doing some rehab," said publicist Paul Shefrin.

He will remain hospitalized through Christmas, and will be watching his annual New Year's Eve television special either from his hospital bed or at home in Malibu, Shefrin said.

He said doctors hadn't given Clark, 75, a release date yet.

Clark has been a television New Year's Eve tradition for 32 years. Regis Philbin will fill in as host of ABC's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005" on Dec. 31 from New York's Times Square.

Alley ready to lose it

New York -- "Fat Actress" star Kirstie Alley has signed a deal to appear in ads for the Jenny Craig weight-management program.

Alley, who has said she wants to lose the weight that prompted her new Showtime series, will star in Jenny Craig Inc.'s 2005 advertising campaign. The TV commercials will begin airing Jan. 10, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company announced Monday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Alley's goal is to lose more than 50 pounds. She lost more than 15 pounds on the program 14 years ago, the company said, and kept it off for over 10 years.

The commercials will follow Alley's progress. The Emmy-winning actress, who starred in television's "Cheers" and "Veronica's Closet," also will keep a weekly blog on the company's Web site.

Her Showtime series premieres in March.

Film critics pick 'Sideways'

Knoxville, Tenn. -- "Sideways," a comedy about two friends on a wine-tasting road trip through California, was named best film of 2004 and Alexander Payne was named best director by the Southeastern Film Critics Assn.

The critics voted Jamie Foxx best actor for "Ray" and Annette Bening of "Being Julia" for best actress. Charlie Kaufman won best original screenplay for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

"Maria Full of Grace," directed by Joshua Marston, was named best foreign-language film, and the best documentary award went to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Following "Sideways" in the group's Top 10 list, announced Monday, were: "Million Dollar Baby," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Kinsey," "The Incredibles," "Finding Neverland," "Ray," "The Aviator," "Hotel Rwanda" and "Before Sunset."

The Southeastern Film Critics Assn. includes print, broadcast and Internet film critics from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Ashlee Simpson to tour

New York -- Ashlee Simpson, whose appearance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" went awry in a does-she-or-doesn't-she lip-synch moment, will go on the road next year in her first headlining tour.

The tour, scheduled to start Feb. 18 in Los Angeles, will include shows in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Dallas, Geffen Records announced last week.

Simpson, who released her debut album, "Autobiography," earlier this year, will host the West Coast portion of ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005" on Dec. 31. The 20-year-old singer also will perform at the Orange Bowl halftime show in Miami on Jan. 4.

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