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Archive for Thursday, December 3, 2009

People in the news

December 3, 2009

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Beyonce leads Grammy nominations with 10

Los Angeles — Beyonce has enough Grammy nominations for her and Sasha Fierce.

The omnipresent diva garnered the most Grammy nominations on Thursday with 10 nods, including nominations for album of the year for “I Am ... Sasha Fierce,” song of the year for her anthem “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and record of the year for “Halo.”

Country crossover sensation Taylor Swift wasn’t far behind Beyonce, getting eight nominations, including album of the year for her multiplatinum sophomore disc “Fearless”; song and record of the year for her hit, “You Belong With Me.”

Another diva was also nominated in all three categories: Lady Gaga. The eccentric entertainer, who had five nominations overall, garnered a best album mention for her debut CD, “The Fame,” while her “Poker Face” got nominations for record and song of the year.

Other nominees for album of the year included the Black Eyed Peas “The E.N.D.” and Dave Matthews Band’s “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King.”

The Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell and Kanye West got six nominations each, while Jay-Z and DJ David Guetta got five.

Boyle makes chart history with No. 1 debut

New York — Move over Beyonce. Step aside Taylor Swift. There’s a new queen of pop, and her name is Susan Boyle.

The British talent contestant-turned-singing sensation sold just over 700,000 copies of her debut album, “I Dreamed a Dream,” debuting at No. 1. Her record label, Columbia Records, says that not only gives her the best first week sales of 2009, but also the best-selling album debut by a woman in the Billboard SoundScan era.

It’s been a whirlwind year for the 47-year-old Boyle, who became an instant star when she appeared on “Britain’s Got Talent.”

Meredith Baxter reveals she is a lesbian

New York — Meredith Baxter, who played mother Elyse Keaton on the 1980s TV series “Family Ties,” has revealed that she is a lesbian.

“I am a lesbian, and it was a later-in-life recognition of that fact,” the 62-year-old actress said in an interview Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

Baxter said she has been in a relationship with her girlfriend, a general contractor, for four years.

“Some people are saying, were you living a lie? And, you know, the truth is, not at all. This has only been in the past seven years,” she said.

Baxter has been married three times, including to David Birney, her co-star on the ’70s TV series “Bridget Loves Bernie.” She is the mother of five children.

Baxter said she is “extraordinarily happy” and the support from her family and friends was immediate and unqualified.

Muppets take Web with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

New York — Much like the Muppets took Manhattan, they have taken the Web.

Since debuting last week, the Muppet parody of the classic music video of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been viewed more than 8.6 million times on YouTube. It’s an exceptional hit for the first video posted on a new YouTube channel by the Muppets Studio, the Walt Disney Company subsidiary formed in 2004 after the Jim Henson Company sold the franchise.

A Twitter feed has also been launched. (It’s mostly promotional; Kermit isn’t blogging.) And a Facebook page has been started.

Muppets Studio general manager Lylle Breier said the online push for the Muppets was designed to help reboot the franchise and quickly get new content to fans.

“When the Muppets came into real popularity was the ’70s. What was popular in the ’70s? Variety shows — that’s what ‘The Muppet Show’ was,” said Breier. “What’s the Web? It’s a giant variety show. That’s why the Muppets fit so perfectly. Parody has always been at the heart of what the Muppets do.”

Breier said the Muppets singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” had long been an idea on the back burner, but the project only recently came together.

Stevie Wonder named Messenger of Peace

United Nations — The U.N. chief is naming blind pop star Stevie Wonder a United Nations Messenger of Peace to focus on helping people with disabilities.

U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said his designation as a U.N. peace envoy will be officially announced today by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

She said the singer-songwriter, who has won 25 Grammy awards, is being recognized for his philanthropic work with the U.S. President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and Junior Blind of America.

Wonder will be the 11th U.N. Messenger of Peace, joining a list of notable figures including Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, actor Michael Douglas, primate expert Jane Goodall and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Comcast, NBC deal will face antitrust review

Washington — Comcast Corp. will likely have to accept substantial conditions if the cable TV provider wants to win regulatory approval for control of NBC Universal’s broadcast network, cable channels and movie studios.

Although federal regulators probably won’t block a deal outright on anticompetitive grounds, they could prohibit Comcast, for instance, from denying rival subscription-TV services such as DirecTV access to NBC channels and other popular programming.

Under a deal expected to be announced today, Comcast would control the Peacock network and about two dozen cable channels such as Bravo, CNBC and SyFy along with the cable lines to roughly a quarter of all U.S. households that pay for TV.

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