Quick Takes

Life in 'POM Wonderful'

Later this month, there will still be a city with roughly 31,000 residents in the Allegheny Mountains east of Pittsburgh. What there won't be is a city named Altoona.

That's because the city has sold its name to make some money — and to help independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock make a point.

The City Council on Wednesday approved a deal to change Altoona's name to "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" for 60 days. Spurlock will pay the city an unspecified amount that will benefit its police department.

The film skewers the proliferation of advertising in American life. POM Wonderful is a juice company that paid to be the movie's title sponsor.

The film will screen in Altoona on April 27, the day the name change takes effect.

—Associated Press

Pia-less 'Idol' rolls in ratings

Well, so much for the Pia Toscano backlash.

After the singer was eliminated from "American Idol" last week, many fans protested loudly and vowed never to watch the show again.

So what was the effect on the Pia-less "Idol's" ratings Wednesday? None. "Idol" averaged 22.4 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Co., which was on par with the previous week's performance show and up 9% compared with last year's show at this time.

Fans may be angry, but looks like they couldn't quite tear themselves away.

—Scott Collins

Lawyers dismiss Sheen talk

Lawyers for the studio behind "Two and a Half Men" dispute Charlie Sheen's claim that he's in talks to return to the hit CBS sitcom.

A letter Thursday from attorneys for Warner Bros. Television to Sheen's lawyer dismissed as "false" Sheen's comments that discussions are under way to reinstate him. Details of the letter were confirmed by a person close to the situation who requested anonymity because they lacked authority to speak publicly.

Sheen told a Boston radio station Tuesday that there was an "85%" chance of his returning to "Two and a Half Men." He was fired last month after outbursts directed at the show's producer.

The letter from the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson to Sheen's attorney, Marty Singer, said there are no discussions regarding Sheen rejoining "Two and Half Men" and there will be none.

—Associated Press

Date is set for 007 film return

James Bond fans holding their breath about the fate of the superspy franchise can exhale a little. MGM and Sony have announced a deal under which the companies will co-finance and release the next two Bond pictures.

After numerous false starts, the deal will return Daniel Craig to the screen as the suave if tortured hero on Nov. 9, 2012. (Sam Mendes will direct the new picture, which could also star Javier Bardem in the villain role.) The companies will share financing costs, and Sony will release the movie in all but a few select worldwide territories; MGM will release the film in the remaining territories.

A second film, known informally as Bond 24, will also fall under the new deal. Details of that are still a ways off, but the deal announced Wednesday offers hope that there will be fewer snags and delays than have afflicted Bond 23. MGM financial issues and other obstacles have led to a long gap between films. The last Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," was released in 2008.

—Steven Zeitchik

Network will target rich men

Discovery Communications Inc. is launching a television network for rich guys and their toys.

Called Velocity, the new network will replace the current network HD Theater in some 40 million homes on Sept. 25, Discovery officials said Thursday. The target audience is men with incomes of $150,000 a year and more.

HD Theater was launched in 2002 with the specific purpose of showing high-definition versions of programs on other Discovery networks. The rapid adoption of high-def by consumers, and the addition of high-def versions of a full network's signal, rendered HD Theater obsolete.

Discovery has tested a series of programs on HD Theater in recent months that will make the switch to Velocity. They include "Chasing Classic Cars," "Cafe Racer" and "Mecum Auto Auctions."

—Associated Press


Casting: Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field, currently starring in the ABC drama "Brothers & Sisters," has been cast as Mary Todd Lincoln in "Lincoln," Steven Spielberg's historical drama about the 16th president. She'll appear opposite title character Daniel Day-Lewis in the DreamWorks production.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World