Grammys will stage 3-D tribute to Jackson
New York — Last year, as the Grammys were approaching, the show’s executive producer was in frequent talks with Michael Jackson to appear on the telecast to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Thriller.”
Ken Ehrlich, the Grammy telecast’s co-executive producer, had presented several ideas for performers, including Justin Timberlake and Usher, all of which excited Jackson. But in the end, he declined the show’s invitation.
“He just wasn’t ready for it,” Ehrlich said.
This year, Jackson will be a focal point of the show, with an unprecedented posthumous tribute. The Grammys will broadcast a 3-D clip the singer made for his hit “Earth Song,” a video that was to be integral to his comeback concerts in London in July 2009 — shows that never happened because of his June 25 death in Los Angeles.
Usher, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson will perform alongside the clip, which Ehrlich says will be the first time an awards show will feature 3-D.
Viewers can get free 3-D “Grammy” glasses from Target stores nationwide Sunday through Jan. 31, when the 52nd annual Grammy Awards will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS (7 p.m. CST). Ehrlich says TV viewers can see the clip without the glasses, but won’t see the 3-D effect.
Signs point to Friday farewell for O’Brien
Los Angeles — Conan O’Brien all but posted a farewell banner on this week’s “Tonight” shows as his exit negotiations with NBC neared their conclusion Wednesday.
In the late-night tradition of a star-studded goodbye, O’Brien’s guests today include such big names as Robin Williams and Barry Manilow. Tom Hanks was scheduled for Friday, as was Will Ferrell — the first guest O’Brien welcomed when he started last June as “Tonight” host.
And then there was this joke from his monologue Tuesday: “Hi, I’m Conan O’Brien, and I’m just three days away from the biggest drinking binge in history.”
It was yet another indication that he’s bracing for the bitter end of his brief tenure at “Tonight,” less than eight months after taking over as host from Jay Leno. The show previously had been scheduled for reruns next week.
Mom, husband say drugs didn’t kill Murphy
Los Angeles — A month after Brittany Murphy’s mysterious death, her mother and husband say they are convinced the actress died of natural causes, not drugs or an eating disorder.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sharon Murphy and Simon Monjack said that Murphy did not use drugs or alcohol and that they are awaiting a determination from coroner’s officials that will end speculation prescription medicine caused Murphy’s death on Dec. 20 at age 32.
Monjack said some of the prescription medications found in the couple’s Hollywood Hills home belonged to him.
Murphy had mitral valve prolapse, a common condition where a heart valve does not properly close, but doctors said the actress “would live a long and healthy life,” Monjack said.
“She had a fear of dying,” Sharon Murphy said. “She would not take too much caffeine. She wouldn’t even have a glass of champagne on New Year’s. She was just high on life, and people see that as something else I guess.”