Tarantino, Lauper, Others Chosen for Hollywood Walk of Fame

Quentin Tarantino, Tracy Morgan, Steve Carell, LL Cool J, Kathy Bates, Bruno Mars and Cyndi Lauper are among the famous names to be added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced its selections for 2016 on Monday. Other names on the list include Kurt Russell, Michael Keaton, Gary Sinise, Itzhak Perlman, Rob Lowe and Kevin Hart. Individual ceremonies have not yet been scheduled.

Recipients of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are chosen by a committee based on applications submitted by fans or celebrity representatives. Entertainers are recognized in five categories: motion picture, television, radio, recording and live theater. Each recipient is responsible for their star’s $30,000 price tag.

The full list of 2016 recipients is available at http://www.walkoffame.com (AP)

Emerson College in Boston to Offer Major in Comedy

Emerson College in Boston will soon offer a degree in making people laugh.

The communications and arts school said Wednesday that starting in September 2016, it will become the first college to offer a four-year bachelor of fine arts in comedic arts degree. The degree will be grounded in the history and theory of comedy with practical learning and a focus on preparing students for careers in comedy performance, writing and production.

The degree is in response to what Emerson calls the “marked rise of comedy’s impact on American culture and its global influence.”

President Lee Pelton says “the new major will combine an academic focus with hands-on opportunities.”

Emerson’s alumni already famous in the comedy world include Jay Leno, Denis Leary, Steven Wright and producer Norman Lear. (AP)

Jim Morrison Poem Found in Paris Hotel Room Being Auctioned

A handwritten poem by Jim Morrison found among his possessions in the Paris hotel where he died in 1971 is being auctioned online.

It was written on the last page torn out of a notebook. “Last words, Last words out” and “I have drunk the drug of forgetfulness” are among the verses.

The double-sided document is the highlight of an online auction that went live Thursday.

Auctioneer Paddle8 says bidding is expected to reach $60,000 to $80,000 by the time it ends June 25.

Morrison was the lead singer of the 1960s rock group the Doors. The group’s hits included “Light My Fire” and “L.A. Woman.”

Paddle8 says the document is special for several reasons: It’s in Morrison’s own hand and was with him when he died at 27. (AP)

Josh Groban Added to a Packed Tony Awards Telecast

The Tony Awards show on Sunday will try to up the razzle-dazzle quotient by adding Josh Groban to 175 performers onstage at the same time.

All the musicals nominated — “On the 20th Century,” “The King and I,” “Fun Home,” “Something Rotten!” “An American in Paris,” “The Visit” and “On the Town” — will be featured, as well as some overlooked ones. They include “Gigi” with Vanessa Hudgens, “Finding Neverland” with Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer, and “It Shoulda Been You” with Tyne Daly.

The cast of “Jersey Boys” will perform “Oh What a Night” to celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary. Presenters will include Larry David, Jim Parsons and Bryan Cranston.

The Tonys will be handed out at Radio City Music Hall. Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming will host.

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Online: http://www.TonyAwards.com (AP)

Nielsen: 13.76 Million Viewers for Letterman’s Last Show

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Comic celebrities turned out for David Letterman’s late-night farewell — and so did his biggest audience in more than 21 years.

The Nielsen company said Thursday that 13.76 million viewers saw Letterman end his 33-year career as a late-night TV host with a final show Wednesday night. The last time Letterman had so many viewers was in February 1994, when his show aired after CBS’ telecast of the Winter Olympics.

More people watched Letterman than anything else in prime time on Wednesday night. Letterman’s final show started at 11:35 p.m. and lasted more than an hour as CBS let it run long.

Jay Leno’s farewell last February was seen by 14.6 million viewers.

Both exits take a back seat to the man who came before them. Johnny Carson’s signoff in 1992 drew more than 41.4 million viewers — more than Letterman and Leno combined. But in fairness, that was a time when most Americans were still getting TV off the air — not through the myriad options viewers have today. (AP)

David Letterman: An Appreciation

I have been dreading this day for months. The last ‘Late Show with David Letterman.’  With tonight’s departure, a piece of my youth will also forever be gone.

I started watching him in 1987. And not by choice. I didn’t have MTV. So I watched Friday Night Videos after Johnny Carson. And then NBC decided to move ‘Late Night’ to Fridays. So that moved my show up on hour to 1:30-3am.

While I hated in the beginning, I began to fall in love. Hard core too. He spoke to me, and a younger generation of viewers who didn’t – or couldn’t – identify with my parents’ perennial favorite, Carson.

I watched in utter delight him making lasagna with his mother, Dorothy and Martin Scorsese and his mother. Granted he was there to promote Goodfellas, but food messy food became the real headline.

I watched ‘dancing waters’ in front in his desk, him complain non-stop after his driver’s license was suspended due to speeding in late ’89, and had to be chauffeured every day to Rockefeller Center. He haaaaaaaaaaaated it.

One night an animal expert brought on a bird. But, somehow that bird got loose, and stayed in the rafters the rest of the show, and periodically would squawk in delight. Studio cameras would try to keep up with its squirrely movements.

I was in Switzerland when he taped his last show at NBC. Thinking ahead, I set my VCR to record it. Instead, my parents stayed up that night to watch it, to make sure it recorded for me. When I called, they told me he had pulled a giant clock off the wall. To this day, I have never seen that show; the tape sits somewhere in storage.

I was lucky enough to see live taping during my spring break in1997.

My mother and I were a little tired to see a show a second day in the row, after watching ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien,’ but we trudged ahead; we flew more than 3,000 miles, there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity.

It was early April, which meant his birthday was fast approaching. And what better gift to give a 50-year-old man that a genuine Mustang Ranch gift certificate? Too bad we spent our entire Q&A on a dumb question from a guy from New Jersey. So, I brought it back home, where it’s still in my current possession. Good twist of fate since the original brothel is no more.

I remember seeing Jean Claude Van Damme – for a second day in a row (!) – and Brad Garrett.

Over time I got older and started working. I replayed his Top Ten Lists during the morning show I produced, but slowly, I sometimes lost interest. He seemed to be out of touch with today’s comedy environment. And it finally hit me why – it’s because our current comedy shows are direct descendants of him, so in my eyes, there’s nothing new and innovative, just all mirror images of each other.

And that’s how David Letterman will be remembered – as an innovator and original thinker. He created the anti-talk show by wearing Velcro suits and dunking himself in massive bowls of milk, dropping watermelons from rooftops, and annoying ordinary people on outside streets.

Depending on what it was, my mother loved watching Stupid Pet Tricks. I loved remotes, and the short segment between the first guest and second, it ran around 1:00 – 1:08 am – isn’t that funny I remember that?

I don’t think many young people will understand his true importance, maybe when time passes…but for me, he will always hold a cheery place in my heart.

#thanksdave

PBS to Air Restored Version of ‘The Civil War’ in September

PBS says it will air a newly restored version of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” this fall, 25 years after the documentary’s debut.

The high-definition “Civil War” will air on five consecutive nights in September, PBS said Thursday.

Viewers will be able to see more details in the film’s images, according to Daniel J. White, who handled the restoration. In a statement, filmmaker Burns called the new version “truly remarkable.”

“The Civil War” proved a blockbuster when it debuted in September 1990, drawing an audience of nearly 39 million. It remains the highest-rated PBS series broadcast to date, according to the TV network.

The announcement of the film’s rebroadcast coincides with the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s April 14, 1865, assassination, and the end of the Civil War. (AP)

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