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News Roundup: Hollywood legend Jack Valenti dies

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Jack Valenti, father of ratings system, dies
Jack Valenti, the legendary creator of the movie ratings system and longtime head of the Motion Picture Association of America, died Thursday (April 26) at his Washington, D.C., home. He was 85. For 38 years Valenti was Hollywood’s lobbyist, bringing the MPAA increasing clout from the very start of his tenure in the late 1960s. By 1968 he had fathered the industry’s self-policing ratings system, which today, basically intact despite heavy criticism, labels movies as G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. His death comes just more than a month before the planned publication of his memoir, which is said to explore his life as a World War II pilot, a confidant of Lyndon B. Johnson, and an entertainment-industry policymaker, and is titled This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood. (Los Angeles Times)

New Line taps Latifah for All of Me remake
Queen Latifah will star in and executive produce New Line’s remake of the 1984 Steve Martin-Lilly Tomlin comedy All of Me. Adam Shankman and Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot will produce with Ira Posansky. All of Me is Latifah’s third project with Shankman, following Bringing Down the House at Disney and Hairspray, which New Line releases this July. The original story was about a dying spoiled heiress (Tomlin) whose soul mistakenly ends up in the body of a lawyer (Martin). She controls the right side of his body while he controls the left, which causes friction, comedy, and eventually, a caring relationship. The remake is expected to see the movie set in the world of politics, with a female liberal activist finding her soul caught in the body of a conservative. The project is currently out to writers and no director has been attached. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC says Baldwin will honor his contract on 30 Rock
Following the leak of an angry voice mail he left for his daughter, Alec Baldwin has announced that he wants out of his contract on NBC’s hit freshman comedy 30 Rock to focus on ”parental alienation,” but NBC says that the show’s star will stay on. The actor made his announcement on a taped segment of The View, scheduled to air Friday (April 27). ”If I never acted again I couldn’t care less,” Baldwin said. He added, ”I’ve had enough of [acting], quite frankly, to last me a lifetime, especially in the modern tabloid world and… there’s a bigger thing I want to do, there’s a more important thing I want to do.” NBC responded with a statement, saying, ”Alec Baldwin remains an important part of 30 Rock. We look forward to having him continue his role in the show.” Baldwin made his announcement just after NBC announced it was renewing the critically-acclaimed series for a second season, despite mediocre ratings. Production on the first season ended in March, and the season finale airs tonight (April 26). (Hollywood Reporter)

FCC recommends limitations for violent TV programming
The Federal Communications Commission released a report on Wednesday (April 25) calling for action to curb the amount of violence children are exposed to on TV. The report, ”In the Matter of Violent Television Programming and its Impact on Children,” proposes forcing cable and satellite providers to offer ”a la carte” menus that enable consumers to eschew certain channels. That strategy would end the bundled-channels approach that has been the subscription-TV industry norm for decades. It also mentions mandated ”time channeling” for violent material, prohibiting broadcast during hours when children are most likely to be watching, typically before 10 p.m. Congress asked the FCC in 2004 to examine violent TV programming and suggest what legal measures the governmental agency could take to limit children’s exposure. A number of networks, including Fox’s News Corp. and NBC Universal, have already called the recommendations into question, with News Corp. going so far as to suggest that the proposed measures could be unconstitutional; the ACLU called the report’s recommendations ”political pandering.” Congress is expected to take up the issue in the next few weeks. (Variety)

India issues arrest warrant for Gere over kiss
An Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Richard Gere and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shelty after they kissed and embraced in public at an HIV/AIDS awareness event in New Dehli. The issue has caused an uproar in India where citizens have taken to the streets burning effigies of Gere. The judge who issued the warrants called the kiss and embrace an ”obscene act” and subpoenaed television footage of the event. Under Indian law, a person convicted of public obscenity faces up to three months in prison, a fine, or both. (AP via Yahoo!)

Sheridan in talks to direct Brothers remake
Director Jim Sheridan (Get Rich or Die Tryin’, In the Name of My Father, My Left Foot) is in talks to helm a remake of Susanne Bier’s 2004 wartime drama Brothers for Relativity Media. The story is about two brothers: an officer in the Army trying to cope with the scars of war, and his troubled younger brother who finds that he is drawn to his older brother’s wife. Bier’s movie starred Connie Nielsen, Ulrich Thomsen, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas and had the soldier brother sent to war in Afghanistan. Scribe David Benoiff (The Kite Runner, Troy) is writing the remake. Sources expect Sheridan to bring three A-list actors to the project in coming weeks. (Hollywood Reporter)

Nielsen releases DVR viewership data
Nielsen released data for time-shifted TV viewing, which now accounts for 16 percent of U.S. TV households. Fox’s House and ABC’s Lost led a recent week in increases, with House gaining 2.7 million viewers in DVR playback on top of the 19 million who watched the show live, and Lost adding 2.5 million to its 10.8 million viewers for the week ending April 8. NBC’s The Office was the leader in terms of percentage gain, jumping 31 percent from 5.8 million viewers to 7.6 million. Grey’s Anatomy, Survivor, Friday Night Lights, Desperate Housewives, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 24, American Idol, and Prison Break also scored well. The data could impact networks’ negotiations with advertisers; Nielsen research shows that viewers fast-forward through about 50 percent of commercials during DVR playback. (Hollywood Reporter)

Kanye West, Rod Stewart added to Diana concert lineup
Kanye West and Rod Stewart will join Elton John, Joss Stone, Bryan Ferry, and Pharrell Williams at a July 1 concert at Wembley Stadium to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. Diana’s sons, princes Harry and William, are holding the concert on what would have been their mother’s 46th birthday. (Reuters)

Fox cancels Drive
Despite its receiving decent reviews, Fox has canceled new drama series Drive after airing four of six planned episodes. Ratings have been poor, averaging just a 2.3 and 6 share among adults 18-49, and 5.6 million viewers overall. The show was about a group of people forced to participate in an illegal cross-country race, with Nathan Fillion starring. Fox will now air House repeats in the Drive‘s Monday 8 p.m. slot. The network is deciding whether to bury the remaining two episodes somewhere in its on-air schedule, or just put them online. (Variety)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: In an upcoming biography, Phil Spector insults a number of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Brian Wilson, Tina Turner, Berry Gordy, and Oasis’ Noel Gallagher.

Rush & Molloy: Robert De Niro says rumors of his being angry at David Bowie for throwing a festival shortly after Tribeca are ”buls—t.”

Ben Widdicombe: A close source says Britney Spears has been tipping off the paparazzi before she heads out of her house so she can show off her new, trim body.

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