Next Oscars show will Rock
Hollywood -- Thanks to the pop culture sensibilities of its 70-year-old producer, the Academy Awards is turning hipper, as comedian Chris Rock was named Thursday as the host of next year's Oscars.
In selecting Rock as the master of ceremonies for the 77th annual awards show, producer Gil Cates continued a push to make the Oscars more relevant to the young male viewers who have been tuning out the ceremonies.
The often-profane Rock, 39, replaces veteran comedian Billy Crystal, who was host of this year's broadcast and has served in that capacity for seven other Academy Awards shows.
ABC will broadcast the Oscars on Feb. 27.
Clapton gets up to speed
Dijon, France -- Eric Clapton won't be driving in France for a while. Police said they clocked the rock star speeding down a highway at 134 mph and suspended his license.
Radar caught Clapton whizzing down a highway Tuesday in his Porsche 911 Turbo at 53 mph above the speed limit, police said. He was stopped near the town of Merceuil, south of Beaune, near Dijon and some 190 miles east of Paris.
Police confiscated Clapton's British driver's license, suspending his right to drive in France.
Clapton, 59, took the bad news well, agreeing to a photo session with police.
After paying a $922 fine, he then rolled away in his Porsche -- this time in the passenger seat with his secretary behind the wheel, police said Thursday.
Kidman prefers brunette
Paris -- Blondes may have more fun, but Nicole Kidman says she'd rather have been born a brunette.
In an interview with French magazine Paris Match, the Oscar-winning actress also said she didn't see herself pursuing her film career indefinitely. And she revealed that her 2001 divorce from Tom Cruise changed her criteria for selecting roles.
"Since my divorce, I lean, consciously or not, toward characters who are strong women taking control of their destiny, personal and professional," the weekly quoted Kidman as saying.
Kidman, envied for her golden curls and porcelain skin, said she thought a darker complexion would have left her less susceptible to skin cancer.
Beatles, Cirque to hit Vegas
Las Vegas -- The Beatles are teaming with Cirque du Soleil to create a theatrical production that will replace the legendary Siegfried & Roy act at The Mirage hotel-casino.
It is the first major theatrical partnership for The Beatles, whose musical archive has been carefully guarded for decades, said Neil Aspinall, managing director of the band's Apple Corps label.
The remaining members of the group, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, will help shape the production but will not appear in it. Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, respective widows of late members John Lennon and George Harrison, also will collaborate.
The deal for the joint venture was reached this week. The yet-untitled show is expected to cost more than $100 million and should be ready in about 20 months.