By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — Parent groups are all over the possibility that NBC will replace CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan on “America’s Got Talent” with radio shock-jock Howard Stern. They’ve informed the network that Stern “is not appropriate for the family-friendly series.” It was on Stern’s show that producer Brett Ratner followed up his anti-gay comment at a Q&A for his film “Tower Heist” with a detailed accounting of his sex life. The one-two punch caused such an outcry in Hollywood that Ratner was compelled to resign as producer of the next Oscar show, quickly followed by the announcement that host Eddie Murphy would resign as well.
Insiders speculate Murphy realized he was over his head and wanted out. Ratner got him into it and had to get him out of it! We’ll never know how Murphy would’ve done as host, but lucky for us, Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer and eight-time Oscar host Billy Crystal were waiting in the wings and will surely blow the roof off the Kodak Theatre. That’s a slam dunk!
Producer/director/writer and actor Quentin Tarantino won his Oscar for writing the screenplay of 1994’s “Pulp Fiction.” Now he’s finished directing Oscar-winner Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu in “The Man With the Iron Fist,” due out in October 2012, and is working on his next film, “Django Unchained.” Tarantino’s screenplay is based on the 1966 Italian spaghetti Western “Django,” directed by Sergio Corbucci, which starred Franco Nero and was considered one of the most violent films of its time.
Tarantino shifted the time and place to the pre-Civil War south and cast Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx in the title role of an escaped slave turned bounty hunter who returns to the plantation to free his wife. It also stars Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Sasha Baron Cohen and Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo plays a villain who forces slaves into prostitution. Too bad it isn’t a musical … the hit song could be “Tango with Django!”
Everyone’s wondering, what was the real reason Regis Philbin left his talk show after nearly three decades? When Regis hosted “Good Morning L.A.,” I was on the set photographing Carol Burnett, whom I’d known since I was 11. Regis pointed at me, standing behind the camera, and said, “We should have him on the show … he knows everything about Hollywood!” I guested on the show five times. You can be sure that if Regis left the show that bears his name, he must have something really big up his sleeve. He’s done talk shows, game shows and even nightclubs — what’s next, “Regis the Series,” “Regis in 3D” or “Cirque Du Regis”?
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(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.