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Archive for Friday, February 19, 2010

People in the news

February 19, 2010

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Olympics are golden, topping ‘Idol’ in ratings

New York — Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White and Shani Davis are the true American idols.

With the trio leading a record haul of six medals for the Americans, NBC’s telecast of the Olympics clobbered Fox’s “American Idol” in television ratings Wednesday night.

During the hour that the two shows went head-to-head, the Olympics were seen by 30.1 million people while 18.4 million watched “American Idol,” the Nielsen Co. said.

It was the first time any show has beaten “American Idol” since May 2004, when a special Monday edition was topped by NBC’s “Fear Factor.” With the exception of one “Idol Gives Back” special in 2008, it was the least-seen episode of “American Idol” since 2003.

Even before the Olympics started, NBC was referring to the night as its “white hot Wednesday.” The network heavily promoted Vonn, White and Davis leading to the games, and each won a gold medal.

Still, it was a startling turnaround from just the night before, when “Idol” beat the Olympics by nearly 4 million viewers.

Simon Cowell thinks a woman will win ‘Idol’

Los Angeles — Simon Cowell believes a woman is likely to win his final season on “American Idol.”

The acerbic British judge told a teleconference Thursday he thinks one of the 12 women among the ninth season’s 24 semifinalists has a good shot to win the Fox singing contest.

“We’ve had a few years of guys winning the show, and I would say there is definitely a better chance of a girl winning the show this year, certainly, than last year,” Cowell said.

Whatever the gender, Cowell, who will leave at the end of the season to executive produce and judge an American edition of “The X Factor,” just wants to crown someone relevant.

“I’d love to find a Taylor Swift,” he said.

Drive seeks to draft Mellencamp for Senate

Indianapolis — An online effort to draft Hoosier rocker John Mellencamp to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Indiana’s Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is building up steam.

Twitter is abuzz with the rumor and three separate Facebook groups have been set up, with the largest boasting about 2,000 members.

Mellencamp is no stranger to politics. In 2008, he recorded a radio commercial supporting Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and requested that Republican candidate John McCain stop playing his songs, including “Our Country” and “Pink Houses,” at his rallies.

Mellencamp’s songs often have political or social themes. He is a co-founder of Farm Aid.

On Thursday, Mellencamp spokesman Bob Merlis said the musician “has no statement to offer.”

Bristol Palin seeks ex’s financial records

Anchorage, Alaska — Bristol Palin’s lawyer is seeking permission to subpoena media outlets such as Playgirl magazine and CNN to determine how much money Levi Johnston, the father of her child, has made to calculate an appropriate level of child support.

Attorney Thomas Van Flein filed a motion seeking permission to conduct out-of-state depositions and obtain financial records from the magazine, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Vanity Fair, the National Enquirer, Star magazine and Insider.

It could take a judge weeks to decide on the request by Palin, the teenage daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate.

Van Flein told The Associated Press on Thursday he didn’t expect any First Amendment issues with the request of the media companies.

“At this point, we do not expect a legal battle with any of the entities we are trying to subpoena since we’re not looking for confidential source information,” he said. “We’re merely looking for payment information.”

Johnston, 19, has said he wasn’t paid for many of the interviews.

Kathryn Grayson, star of musicals, dies

Los Angeles — Kathryn Grayson, whose beauty and lilting soprano voice brightened such popular MGM musicals of the 1940s and 1950s as “Anchors Aweigh,” “Show Boat” and “Kiss Me Kate,” has died at age 88.

Grayson died Wednesday at her Los Angeles home, the actress’ longtime secretary and companion, Sally Sherman, told The Associated Press.

“She just went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” Sherman said Thursday.

Grayson’s youthful ambition was to sing opera, but she wasn’t able to accomplish that dream until after her movie career ended. While still a teenager, she was placed under contract at MGM at a time when the studio was assembling a stable of musical talent that would dominate the era of great musicals.

She is survived by her daughter and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Sherman said no funeral service is planned.

Judge: Lohan complying with terms of probation

Beverly Hills, Calif. — A judge says Lindsay Lohan is in full compliance with the terms of her probation for a drunken driving and drug case.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel said Thursday that “everything looks good” with Lohan’s progress in a court-ordered drug and alcohol education program. Lohan has had trouble completing the program and had her probation extended last year.

Revel says Lohan still must complete the program by July. The 23-year-old was not in court Thursday and will not be required to appear for her next progress report on May 20.

The “Mean Girls” star pleaded guilty in August 2007 to two misdemeanor counts of being under the influence of cocaine and no contest to drunken driving and reckless driving charges.

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