Source: O’Brien’s staff is sticking point in talks
Los Angeles — The sticking point in Conan O’Brien’s complex exit negotiations with NBC involves his TV staff, not Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, a person familiar with the talks said Tuesday.
Although discussions also focused on whether NBC would keep the rights to familiar O’Brien comedy bits including Triumph, O’Brien’s focus was ensuring severance deals for his “Tonight” staff and crew, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks were intended to be private.
O’Brien is “dug in on that,” the person said.
NBC fired back in a statement, saying “it was Conan’s decision to leave NBC that resulted in nearly 200 of his staffers being out of work.”
“We have already agreed to pay millions of dollars to compensate every one of them. This latest posturing is nothing more than a PR ploy,” the network said.
A spokesman for O’Brien declined to comment.
4th ‘Pirates’ to be filmed in Hawaii
Honolulu — Aloha, Captain Jack.
The fourth installment of Disney’s popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” series will be filmed in Hawaii, according an announcement Monday by Gov. Linda Lingle.
Johnny Depp will return to his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which will begin shooting this summer on Oahu and Kauai and be released in 2011. The film is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall.
Dennis Hopper, battling cancer, files for divorce
Los Angeles — Dennis Hopper, battling prostate cancer, wants out of his marriage.
The 73-year-old actor-director filed for divorce Thursday in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences with Victoria Duffy, his wife of nearly 14 years.
Hopper has been battling prostate cancer and in October canceled all travel plans to focus on treatment.
Hopper is seeking joint custody of the couple’s 6-year-old daughter and offering to pay spousal support to Duffy.
The “Easy Rider” star last year finished shooting the second season of “Crash,” a TV version of the Oscar-winning 2004 film that airs on the Starz network. Hopper also has several film projects in the works.
Jackson wants ‘Idol’ focus on talent
New York — It seems as if all the buzz about “American Idol” has been on the status of the judges and not the talent, and Randy Jackson says that needs to change.
“A lot is being made about us and what we do, how we judge, who’s on, who’s not on, what’s happening, all of that,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
“It’s really about those contestants, really. They’re going to go on because it’s them taking the rocket ship to try and get their fame started ... I mean, so much is being made about us or whatever.”
That’s because the changing faces of the judges have provided the biggest news.
Simon Cowell recently announced he’s leaving “Idol” for the U.K.-based competition series “The X Factor” and Paula Abdul left after her contract deal fell through.
Jackson, along with Kara DioGuardi, Cowell and various guest judges, kicked off the ninth season of “Idol” last week.