KATHY LEE RETURNS TO MORNING TV
Kathy Lee Gifford will return to morning television as co-host of the fourth hour of NBC's Today show, the network confirmed today (Monday). Appearing on the show this morning (which featured highlights from her years with Regis Philbin on the syndicated ABC morning program Live With Regis and Kathy Lee), Gifford said that she was persuaded to return to the morning grind by Hoda Kotb, with whom she'll be sharing hosting duties on Today beginning April 7. "It couldn't be worse timing in some ways," she quipped. "I'm literally, what, eight years older, ten pounds heavier, a half an inch shorter -- and just in time for HD television. It makes no sense."
HOLY HANNAH -- IT'S MILEY AGAIN!
Miley Cyrus added two new trophies to her prodigious collection Saturday as the Hanna Montana star was voted favorite TV actress and favorite female singer at the Kids Choice Awards, broadcast by Nickelodeon channel. The show, which originated at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, attracted more than 10,000 fans, mostly teen and preteen girls. Drake Bell also was a double winner, for favorite TV actor and favorite TV show, Drake and Josh. Ryan Seacrest accepted the award for best reality show for American Idol. The award for favorite movie went to Alvin and the Chipmunks, which was accepted by Jason Lee. Host Jack Black said that 88 million votes were cast online this year versus about 40 million last year.
JUDGE PREVENTS MALONE'S ATTEMPT TO OUST DILLER
Barry Diller has won his legal battle against John Malone. Diller, head of InterActive Corp., had provoked the anger of his one time friend Malone, head of Liberty Media, when he announced that he would split IAC into five publicly traded companies in an effort to boost their individual value. Malone opposed Diller's move, arguing that it would dilute his own interest in the company. In his 79-page ruling, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Stephen Lamb concluded that Malone "does not have a right to consent to the proposed spin-off." He also held that Malone "failed to demonstrate that Diller has breached or threatened to breach any contractual duty he owes to Liberty."
BASKETBALL GAME SHOWN IN THEATERS -- IN 3-D
For the first time, a basketball game has been televised in high-definition 3-D to a theater audience. The game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks was transmitted live via satellite from the American Airlines Center in Dallas to Landmark Entertainment Group's Magnolia Theater in Dallas. Both the Mavericks and the theater are owned by former Internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban. About 300 invited guests wearing 3D glasses watched the game on a 42-foot screen. In a statement, Andrew Stucker, director of Sony Electronics' digital cinema systems group, said, "Our 4K projection technology again proved that it is the perfect complement for alternate content, taking the movie-theater experience to a new level and transforming an audience from viewers into virtual participants. Even courtside seats couldn't deliver this type of action and excitement."
FILMS TO BE PRODUCED EXCLUSIVELY FOR XBOX
Thinking outside the Xbox, Microsoft is planning to make available to subscribers to its Xbox Live service short scripted shows from established Hollywood producers created exclusively for the Xbox 360 consoles. Since most of the consoles are connected to TV sets rather than to computers, the films would compete directly with currently available on-demand TV shows. Heading up the Xbox production company, Microsoft said, will be veteran Hollywood producer Peter Safran. Safran told today's (Monday) New York Times that he plans to seek out top directors and writers for his projects but expects to eschew high-priced screenwriters and actors.
ANTI-KORAN FILM REMOVED BY ANOTHER INTERNET PROVIDER
Saying that it was a "sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else," LiveLeak.com has shut down the Dutch website showing the anti-Koran film Fitna. The film claims that the Muslim holy book instigates terrorism and discrimination worldwide. LiveLeak said that after the 15-minute film began showing, it received threats that it believed "could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff." The film, made by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, had earlier been rejected by Dutch television stations after Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said that airing it could lead to "hurt feelings" among Muslims living in the Netherlands. Earlier in the week, U.S.-based website Network Solutions said that it would also refuse to allow the film on its servers because it believed that it violated its "acceptable use" policies. Numerous copies of the movie have nevertheless been posted on YouTube.