Stephanopoulos ABC’s new ‘GMA’ host
New York — ABC’s selection of George Stephanopoulos to replace Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” signals a desire by the network to toughen up the morning show during tough times.
The appointment of Stephanopoulos, the network’s chief Washington and political correspondent, was announced Thursday. He’ll begin on the second-place morning show on Monday, paired with current co-anchor Robin Roberts. Sawyer is becoming the “World News” anchor as Charles Gibson retires.
Even before the need for a new host came up, “Good Morning America” had been seeking to shift its pendulum more toward harder news, particularly in the show’s first 45 minutes, and add reports on health, consumer and legal issues, said David Westin, ABC News president. It reflects the nation’s serious mood during a time of high unemployment and two wars, he said.
“George offered me somebody who could absolutely execute that revised plan for ‘GMA’ and also be a representative to the world, to our viewers, that we’re altering the direction of our program,” Westin said.
Judge: Gosselin must stop unofficial events
Rockville, Md. — A Maryland judge ruled Thursday that Jon Gosselin must stop making media appearances and endorsements the TLC network claim violate his contract — like a Las Vegas pool party with bikini-clad women the celebrity dad recently hosted.
Montgomery County Circuit Judge Michael D. Mason granted TLC a preliminary injunction, pending the outcome of an April 19 trial.
Gosselin’s lawyer Mark Heller said he was confident Gosselin would eventually win the case and suggested TLC, owned by Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, should be anxious to settle so they can resume the reality show “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”
The show ended recently amid the legal dispute and the Gosselins’ pending divorce.
“Jon Gosselin holds the key to the ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8’ brand,” Heller said.
Gosselin’s lawyers claim the contract allows certain media appearances. The judge said they could ask him to modify his order, but that wasn’t his reading of the contract.
TLC Chief Operating Officer Edward Sabin testified that Gosselin has made many media appearances and endorsements that aren’t permitted in the contract.
Man pleads not guilty to stealing from Catwoman
Los Angeles — A Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty Thursday to stealing $25,000 in jewelry from actress Julie Newmar, who portrayed the first Catwoman on the 1960s “Batman” TV series.
Newmar, 76, spotted the pilfered jewelry for sale on eBay and alerted authorities. Robert Ouriel, 48, pleaded not guilty to grand theft Thursday, one day after Los Angeles prosecutors charged him.
Ouriel’s attorney, Jeff Rubenstein, said he expects his client will be vindicated.
“Mr. Ouriel wants to clear his name quickly and I believe this case will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction very soon,” Rubenstein said.
Ouriel was arrested last month and remains free on $50,000 bail. Prosecutors say he was an acquaintance of Newmar’s and allegedly sent the items to an Illinois pawn shop that listed them for sale online.
TV special on surprise pop star Boyle debuts
Los Angeles — Susan Boyle sings, and Simon Cowell and other celebrities sing her praises in a weekend TV special about the Cinderella story that has made her a best-selling recording artist.
All that’s lacking is a prince, but she says romance has to wait.
“Och, there’s no time for that now. I’m far too busy,” Boyle said. “There was a TV company that wanted to set me up with a man. Apparently he was a nice man, but I’ve got my living to do now. I don’t mind being friendly, but no marriage plans as yet.”
“I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story,” debuting at 7 p.m. CST Sunday on TV Guide Network, Sunflower Broadband channel 20, details her sudden burst of fame and includes performances by Boyle from her new CD and with Broadway star Elaine Paige, the London West End cast of “Les Miserables” and others.
Boyle, 48, stole the spotlight on “Britain’s Got Talent” last spring, although she lost out on winning the contest. She has had an at-times bumpy ride, including a brief hospitalization for exhaustion after the show’s season finale.
Actor Gene Barry, TV hero, stage star, dies
Los Angeles — Gene Barry, who played the well-dressed man of action in the television series “Bat Masterson,” “Burke’s Law” and “The Name of the Game,” has died. He was 90.
Barry’s son, Fredric James Barry, said the actor died of unknown causes Wednesday at a rest home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Woodland Hills.
Barry essentially played the same character in all three series: a fashionably dressed hero who bested the bad guys with either cunning or force. The series spanned from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Barry sang in such musicals as “Kismet” and “Destry Rides Again” and created the Broadway role of Georges, the gay night club owner in Jerry Herman’s hit musical “La Cage aux Folles.”