Archive for Saturday, August 30, 2008

People in the news

August 30, 2008

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Jennifer Aniston to return to NBC

New York - Jennifer Aniston will return home to NBC, the TV network where she became a breakout star on the hit sitcom "Friends."

She's currently filming a guest appearance on the network's "30 Rock," Aniston publicist Stephen Huvane confirmed Friday.

There were no immediate details on the role Aniston will play - as herself or a fictitious character - or the episode's planned air date.

The New York-based series, which begins its third season in October, stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin in a behind-the-scenes, sometimes self-directed spoof of a television network and the huge corporation that owns it. The show has won a modest but devoted following, and critical raves.

Awards include Golden Globes, a Peabody and last year's Emmy for outstanding comedy series.

With its show-biz slant, it has become a haven for guest appearances by big names from entertainment - even politics, including Al Gore.

Another of the six-member "Friends" troupe, David Schwimmer, had a "30 Rock" guest shot last season.

Since "Friends" concluded its highly successful 10-year run in 2004, Aniston has concentrated on films, including "Friends with Money," "The Break-Up."

Usher's performance to kick off NFL season

New York - Like the NFL teams beginning their new seasons, Usher is hoping to go all the way to the Super Bowl.

The R&B; singer will perform the season's kickoff concert on Thursday in New York's Columbus Circle along with Keith Urban and Natasha Bedingfield. The 3 p.m. concert will be held just before the season opener, when the Washington Redskins take on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Like the Redskins and Giants, Usher is aiming for the big game in February.

The game might be the destination of all football players, it's also one of the most sought-after gigs in music.

"I don't think it's too early to consider it," said Usher, speaking from Atlanta. "Certainly being associated with the organization makes that a lot more possible. There have been conversations for a lot of years about me being part of a performance at a Super Bowl."

He added: "I'm hoping that this leads, definitely, to that. This whole process is basically you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."

Usher thinks that he's sufficiently built up his "brand" over the past decade. Recent Super Bowl performers include Prince and Tom Petty.

Last year, Usher married Tameka Foster and the couple had a son, Usher Raymond V. The onset of family life has brought out a more mature side of Usher, whose 2008 album "Here I Stand" deals considerably with growing into adulthood.

At the kickoff concert, which will stream on NFL.com, Usher plans to perform "Here I Stand," "Changing Places" and "What's Your Name" with guest star will.i.am.

Michael Jackson at 50: The best 'yet to come'

New York - Michael Jackson marked a personal milestone Friday: his 50th birthday.

The 13-time Grammy winner, who has sold more than 750 million albums, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" that he's "looking forward to doing a lot of great things. : I think the best is yet to come in my true humble opinion."

Jackson talked to ABC by phone Thursday.

"People see some of the things I do and they say, 'Why don't you show this to the world? People don't know you do these things.' And maybe I will," he said.

Jackson said recording the blockbuster albums "Thriller" and "Off the Wall" were the happiest times of his life.

"That meant very much to me and seemed to be received so beautifully by the public and the world. You know, I enjoyed it very much," he said.

As for his birthday plans, "I'll just have a little cake with my children and we'll probably watch some cartoons," he said.

Jackson, a twice-divorced father of three, said he aims to provide a normal life for his children.

"I am letting them enjoy their childhood as much as possible. : I let them go to the arcade and go to the movies and do things. I think that comes naturally. I want them to get to do things I didn't get to do," he said.

Jackson was asked if he had received a membership card from AARP, which focuses on the needs and concerns of those 50 and older.

"Not that I know of!" he said, laughing.

Diddy halts private jet flights over fuel prices

Los Angeles - Fuel prices have grounded an unexpected frequent-flyer: Diddy.

Sean "Diddy" Combs complained about the "too high" price of gas and pleaded for free oil from his "Saudi Arabia brothers and sisters" in a YouTube video posted Wednesday.

The hip-hop mogul said he is now flying on commercial airlines instead of in private jets, which Combs said had previously cost him $200,000 and up for a roundtrip between New York and Los Angeles.

"I'm actually flying commercial," Diddy said before walking onto an airplane, sitting in a first-class seat and flashing his boarding pass to the camera. "That's how high gas prices are. I'm at the gate right now. This is really happening, proof gas prices are too high. Tell whoever the next president is we need to bring gas prices down."

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