‘Idol’ chooses G-rated voting line for contestant
New York — If you want a good time, vote for “American Idol.”
The Fox TV show — which has 13 finalists this season instead of the usual dozen — had to choose another voting line besides 1-866-IDOLS-13 because that number is owned by a phone sex operation, promising to connect listeners to a “nasty girl” for up to $3.99 a minute.
Ryan Seacrest dialed the number on his radio show Tuesday morning. Bemused and appalled, the “American Idol” host said it’s as if the show “tried to script some kind of joke.”
The show owns 1-866-IDOLS-01 to 1-866-IDOLS-12. Viewers were directed to 1-866-IDOLS-36 to vote for the final performer, Alexis Grace.
At the beginning of Tuesday’s episode, judge Simon Cowell announced that two singers — not just one — would be dismissed from the popular Fox singing competition tonight. He also later teased that an alteration in the “Idol” structure involving the show’s judges would be revealed today.
Nickelodeon stands by Chris Brown as nominee
New York — Nickelodeon said it has no plans to remove Chris Brown as a nominee for its annual Kids’ Choice Awards, despite the singer’s felony charges for allegedly beating up his girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown is nominated for favorite male singer and favorite song for “Kiss Kiss.” Rihanna, who police say was allegedly punched, bitten and choked by Brown in the early morning hours before last month’s Grammy Awards, is nominated for best song, too.
An online petition asking Nickelodeon to remove Brown and Rihanna as nominees had 4,655 signatures Tuesday.
“Like all our KCA nominees, Chris Brown was nominated by kids several months ago based on his body of work as a performer, and the kids who vote will ultimately decide who wins in the category,” Dan Martinsen, Nickelodeon spokesman, said.
The awards show is scheduled for March 28. It is usually Nick’s biggest event of the year for its youthful audience.
Brown isn’t the only nominee with a whiff of controversy. Michael Phelps, nominated as favorite male athlete, was photographed smoking from a marijuana pipe last fall.
Ashlee Simpson-Wentz to join ‘Melrose Place’
Los Angeles — Ashlee Simpson-Wentz is moving to Melrose Place.
The 24-year-old singer will join the cast of the CW’s “Melrose Place.”
Simpson-Wentz will be playing a small-town girl with a “shrewd sex kitten” within, Entertainment Weekly first reported on ew.com Monday.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of ‘Melrose Place’ and I look forward to being a part of its new generation of residents,” she said in a statement in People magazine.
Shriver says she won’t run for office in 2010
Fresno, Calif. — After decades in the public eye, California first lady Maria Shriver says she has no intention of running for public office in 2010.
The Democrat said she is too much of a free spirit to be tied to a desk job.
During a stop in Fresno on Tuesday to promote a tax program for low-income Californians, Shriver said she is focused for now on her latest projects, a best-selling book and an HBO special about Alzheimer’s disease. She did not expressly rule out a campaign for public office in the future, however.
“I’m not really comfortable in the office. I’m too much of a free spirit,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m trying to use my entire life experience from being in a public family, my experience as a reporter, and everything else in the work I’m doing right now.”
Shriver, a member of the Kennedy political dynasty, said she is not ready to endorse any of the candidates exploring campaigns to replace her husband, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will be termed out of office in January 2011.
Publisher pays big for Niffenegger novel
New York — In a time of cost-cutting in the publishing industry, wallets opened wide for a long-awaited second novel.
Audrey Niffenegger’s “Her Fearful Symmetry,” her first book since the million-selling “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” has been acquired by Scribner and will be published in September, spokesman Brian Belfiglio said Tuesday.
The advance was at least
$4 million, according to two publishing officials with knowledge of the negotiations. They declined to be named, saying they were not authorized to discuss financial details.
Virtually all of the major publishers had bid for the novel, the story of twin American girls who live near a cemetery in London. “Time Traveler’s Wife,” published by MacAdam/Cage, came out in 2003.
Scribner is an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
Octuplets mom ready for move, homecomings
Los Angeles — The Southern California woman who gave birth to octuplets two months ago told television talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw that she was getting ready to move into a new home that’ll be inspected before two babies are released from the hospital.
Nadya Suleman said on the “Dr. Phil” show aired Tuesday that she expected a social worker from the hospital to inspect the house near Los Angeles before any of the prematurely born babies are released.
“Four (babies) are ready to be released but they never send more than two at a time home,” Suleman said. The other four babies will need to remain hospitalized for an unknown amount of time, she added.
Suleman, 33, gave birth to the octuplets on Jan. 26.