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October 9, 2015

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Helen Mirren Replacing Bette Midler in HBO's Phil Spector Biopic

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jul 19th 2011 6:30AM
Helen MirrenHBO's untitled Phil Spector movie just got even starrier: An Oscar winner has taken over from an Oscar nominee (and winner of multiple Grammy Awards) in a pivotal role.

Last week production on the biopic was suspended after Bette Midler had to pull out on doctors' orders. Now it's been reported that her replacement is none other than 'The Queen' star, Helen Mirren.

Mirren will play Linda Kenney Baden, a defense attorney who represented disgraced music producer Phil Spector during his first trial for murdering Lana Clarkson.

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Turmoil at HBO's Phil Spector Biopic: Bette Midler Quits, Murder Victim's Friends Threaten Action

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jul 13th 2011 8:15AM
Al Pacino as Phil SpectorAl Pacino as Phil SpectorAlthough star Al Pacino has been spotted out and about in full Phil Spector garb (see right; thanks to 'Entertainment Weekly' for the heads up), HBO's Spector biopic has run into trouble after co-star Bette Midler quit.

Production was suspended Tuesday after she failed to turn up for filming, and Deadline reports that Midler had to pull out on doctors' orders after suffering a herniated disc.

David Mamet told the crew that HBO and the insurance company were looking at recasting the part, which has since been confirmed by the cable network.

Mamet wrote the film, which is being exec-produced by 'Rain Man' director Barry Levinson.

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Bette Midler Books HBO Role, Chris Hardwick Teams With BBC America and More TV News

by Chris Harnick, posted May 24th 2011 1:30PM
Bette MidlerBette Midler is heading to HBO for a role in the cable channel's new TV movie based on Phil Spector.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the legendary actress will play Linda Kenney Baden, a defense attorney for Spector during his first murder trial. Midler's last scripted TV role was in her sitcom, 'Bette,' in 2000.

'Arrested Development' star Jeffrey Tambor has also joined the cast as Bruce Cutler, a member of Spector's defense team. Al Pacino will play Spector.

Spector was convicted of second-degree murder after prosecutors argued that the record producer shot Lana Clarkson in 2003.

In other TV news ...

From 'Bitches' to 'Belles' to 'B'? ABC's new soap starring Leslie Bibb, Annie Potts and Kristin Chenoweth has gone through three name changes before even hitting air. Originally filmed as 'Good Christian Bitches,' the show was announced to the public as 'Good Christian Belles' and will now go by 'G.C.B.' [Variety]

HBO is launching a new reality series starring Freddie Roach. The new series will focus on boxing legend Roach and his Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood. Peter Berg will direct and executive produce the series. [HBO]

Actress Phyllis Avery has died. Avery starred in 'Meet Mr. McNulty' (later retitled 'The Ray Milland Show'), 'Rawhide' and 'Perry Mason.' She was 88. [THR]

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Bette Midler: Johnny Carson's Last 'Tonight' Is Career Highlight (VIDEO)

by Aimee Deeken, posted Dec 15th 2010 6:50AM
Bette Midler Talks Johnny Carson on 'Late Night'"It was the highlight of my performing career. It really was," Bette Midler told Jimmy Fallon of her appearance on Johnny Carson's last episode as host of 'The Tonight Show.' "I loved him, you know, I adored him ... He was so good to absolutely everybody that worked on his show," she said on 'Late Night' (weeknights, 12:37AM ET on NBC).

Midler and a few friends wrote a song for him ("You Made Me Watch You", a rework of 'You Made Me Love You'), part of which she performed on his desk. It was "a real tribute to him, because we all loved him and wanted to give him a good send-off." Fallon joked that he'd watched the episode "150,000 times" and called it "one of the greatest things I've ever seen ... You were funny but also touching."

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Bette Midler Falls Off the Couch -- While Hearing About Boxer David Haye's Sex Life (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Dec 6th 2010 4:15AM
Bette Midler Falls Off the Couch -- While Hearing About a Boxer's Sex Life Well, we all have our little routines. And on talk shows, this "routine" usually involves staying seated on the "guest's couch" while the other guests are talking. This wasn't the case on 'The Graham Norton Show' (Sat., 10PM ET on BBC America).

British boxer David Haye is the current WBA World Heavyweight Champion. He's fought 26 times and won 25 fights, including 23 knockouts. And during his time on the talk show, he managed to knock Bette Midler right out of her chair. David entered into a lengthy discussion of his pre-fight routine, with includes altering his diet ... and his sexual habits.

"You can have sex, but you can't ... 'unload'" Haye told host Graham Norton. It was at this point in the discussion that Ms. Milder simply couldn't take it anymore. She put her hand to her forehand, pretended to faint -- and collapsed to the side, falling off the couch.

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'Teen Mom' Subpoenaed, 'Biggest Loser' Production Halted, Another U.K. 'X-Factor' Scandal and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Nov 10th 2010 11:20AM
Amber PortwodIt appears that 'Teen Mom' star Amber Portwood will have to face more serious consequences than a stern talking-to by Dr. Drew for the physical altercations she got into with ex-fiance Gary Shirley during the latest season of the MTV show.

According to RadarOnline, an MTV attorney in Indianapolis was served with a subpoena requesting footage from 'Teen Mom' that depicts "all or potentially all physically violent encounters between Amber Portwood and Gary Shirley, in addition to any raw footage of the reunion shows in [which] Portwood and Shirley discuss any such violent encounters on the show 'Teen Mom,' either aired or unaired."

Mitch Carroll, spokesman for the police department in Portwood and Shirley's town of Anderson, Ind., told Radar that "MTV sent all the material ahead of time and once the subpoena was issued they said we could have access to the records."

In other TV news ...

Production on 'The Biggest Loser' was halted Monay due to a labor dispute. Union representatives allegedly showed up on set and led a crew walkout. Production has still not resumed. [Deadline]

Yet another scandal has rocked the U.K. version of Simon Cowell's 'X-Factor.' Fans are upset that one judge abstained from voting in this weekend's installment, which forced a fan favorite out of the competition. The judge's vote would've resulted in a tie, which means the fan vote would've determined who stayed. [Guardian]

'Battlestar Galactica' showrunner Ron Moore is planning an "ambitious" Coast Guard drama with NBC. The new action-adventure series follows the men and women aboard The McCulloch. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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Howie Mandel's Weird Anti-Germ Habits on 'Marriage Ref' (VIDEO)

by Aimee Deeken, posted May 14th 2010 6:32AM
Howie Mandel's Anti-Germ Habits on 'Marriage Ref'Being the germaphobe that he is, Howie Mandel got unnerved when Bette Midler touched him during their appearance on 'The Marriage Ref' (Thu., 10PM ET on NBC). But that was only the beginning of myriad disturbing insights into the lifestyle he and his wife maintain under his anti-germ regime.

"When do you throw out your socks?" asked host Tom Papa. Mandel replied, "I'll be honest with you, I'll wear them [only] once or twice."

He continued, "I wash my money ... I put all the money in the pockets, and then [my wife] puts the pants into the laundry, and then she gives me the money that's been laundered."

Who knew the term "money laundering" could actually be taken literally?

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TV Casting: Megan Mullally Returning to 'Parks and Recreation'

by Andrew Scott, posted Apr 23rd 2010 1:29PM
Megan MullallyEmmy winner Megan Mullally ('Will & Grace') will return to the NBC comedy 'Parks and Recreation,' reprising her role as Ron's (real-life husband Nick Offerman) ex-wife. "I'm doing one next week or the week after," she told the Ausiello Files, though no word on when the episode will air. For more on Mullally's return, check out her interview with TV Squad. [Ausiello Files]

More casting news after the jump.

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Kathy Griffin: The TV Squad Interview (full transcript)

by Nick Zaino, posted Jul 21st 2009 11:15AM
Kathy GriffinThis is the full version of my interview with Kathy Griffin, for those who clicked over from the "short" version. Again, Griffin started out by asking me a question.

So is this interview going to run anywhere or is this just for your personal collection?

It's going to run on TVSquad, AOL's TV blog.

You know what? I have an exciting announcement. By the way, I'm looking at it myself, I knew, but it was officially announced today. I am hosting the Shmemmys this year. Now if you recall, two years ago when I won a Creative Arts Emmy, I got in a little trouble for telling Jesus to suck it. And now, two years later, when The D-List has its highest ratings ever, they want me to host. And that is what I love about Hollywood.

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D-List premiere: what list is Griffin on now?

by Nick Zaino, posted Jun 8th 2009 5:18PM
Kathy GriffinFor four seasons on Bravo, Kathy Griffin has been trying to crawl her way off of what she called "The D-List," taking humiliating gigs and opening up a lot of her personal life to the cameras to try to get some attention. Truthfully, though, Griffin has been off of the D-List for quite some time, which makes tonight's season five premiere of My Life on the D-List (8 PM, Bravo) a bit puzzling. What list is she on now?

Griffin has now won two Emmys for the D-List, had a string of popular stand-up specials on Bravo, and her comedy album For Your Consideration, was nominated for a Grammy this year (she lost to George Carlin's It's Bad For Ya). And this season features appearances by Paris Hilton, Rosie O'Donnell, T.I., Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, and Christina Aguilera - quite a cast for someone supposedly fighting obscurity. Plus, her book Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, hits stores in September on Ballantine Books.

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Greatest 'Tonight Show' Moments

by AOL TV Staff, posted May 13th 2009 6:00AM
Hugh Grant The Tonight Show'The Tonight Show' has been a late-night institution for more than 50 years (yes, that's right -- half a century).

Jack Paar, who took over the reins from Steve Allen in '57, put the show on the map, with big-name guests and outspoken antics. Johnny Carson, who stepped in when Paar left, made the show appointment viewing for millions of fans and became one of the most beloved TV hosts of all time.

Now, with Jay Leno's last 'Tonight Show' airing Fri., May 29, and Conan O'Brien taking the desk while Leno makes the unprecedented move to prime time, to a 10 PM slot in the fall, we look back and count down the top 20 moments of 'The Tonight Show.'

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Thirteen big name movie stars who couldn't cut it on television - VIDEOS

by Richard Keller, posted Mar 2nd 2009 10:02AM

Faye Dunaway in a CBS sitcom? No, it's not an alternate universe. It actually happened.Movie actors are a unique bunch of characters in Hollywood. Adept at script memorization, method acting, and being snobby little princesses (the males included), they are somewhat limited in their performance venues. They can switch pretty easily and thrive in theater productions because most of them began their acting lives on the stage in front of adoring audiences. Decades ago they could also do radio pretty easily; most likely because they could read right from the script and no one listening would know any different.

Television? Well, that's a whole different loaf a bread! For some reason, big-named movie stars with their Oscars and Golden Globes just tank when they decide to jump to the small screen. Their failures could be due to the show they've decided to star in, who they play on the show, or the fact that they are catering to a different audience than film-goers. Whatever the reason, some of Hollywood's most famous film stars had some famously big television flops. Here are but a few of them to digest.

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Simon Cowell to shake up American Idol - I've got some ideas for him

by Jane Boursaw, posted Aug 25th 2008 10:20AM
Simon Cowell Wants to Shake up American IdolIt's sad when you can't remember who won the last American Idol. Oh yeah, David Cook. And we're avid fans around this house, too.

Simon Cowell probably remembers, but, apparently, he's as bored as the rest of us. In a TVGuide.com story, he says of Season 7, "I was a little bored ... I think [last season] the talent was great, and the ratings were great, I just think it could be more interesting and controversial."

That's why he plans to mix it up a little come January 2009, when he'll be taking a larger role in the show, perhaps compensating for executive producer Nigel Lythgoe stepping back to focus on his other show, So You Think You Can Dance.

Simon's not saying how he'll shake things up, but I have a few ideas:

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Bette Midler blasts MTV - VIDEO

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 6th 2008 6:01PM
Bette MidlerIf you've ever seen Bette Midler on stage in concert or on one of her TV specials -- when they used to really do musical specials that were more than just filmed concerts -- you know that The Divine Miss M knows how to put on quite a show. There are songs, dancers, hula skirts, motorized wheelchairs, weepy ballads, clackers, Soph jokes and ukuleles. And the music is all live!

Currently, Bette's encamped at Caesar's Palace doing The Showgirl Must Go On. Talking about state of today's divas and referred to The Buggles song "Video Killed the Radio Star" to take a broad shot as MTV. No, she wasn't turning all prudish and complaining about the morality of MTV. No way.

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Katie Couric has her own YouTube channel - VIDEO

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 17th 2008 1:02PM
Katie CouricLately, the only Katie Couric most people have been seeing is the one that's depicted in the picture to the right: serious, sober, possessing whatever gravitas she can muster in her role as anchor of the CBS Evening News. But where can you see the goofy Katie, the one that people came to know -- and some got sick of -- for fifteen years on the Today show?

Why, on YouTube, of course! In fact, Katie has her very own page on the leading video sharing site, where she posts extended Evening News interviews and behind-the-scene footage. The behind-the-scenes stuff is where you see Katie at her most impish, doing things like snapping Larry King's suspenders as he leads her to the set of his show, singing with Bette Midler, and meeting with mommy bloggers in her office (check out the huge Warhol-esque portrait of herself she has hanging near her desk!).

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