People talk 11/19/02

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Ling leaving 'The View' for reporting job

NEW YORK -- The youngest of the five women on "The View" is leaving for a new job.

Lisa Ling is quitting the daytime talk show to move to Washington, D.C., and become an international reporter for National Geographic Television and Film. Her last show will be Dec. 5

Ling, 29, was an international reporter for Channel One News before being selected for "The View" three years ago. She said Monday that she wanted to try reporting again.

"If I don't do it now, I may never want to do it," she said. "Two years from now, I may be thinking about settling down and may not want to travel."

Ling was the second woman, after Debbie Matenopoulos, to fill the "Gen X" slot on "The View." The other four hosts -- show creator Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones and Joy Behar -- have been there since the beginning.

Walters said she recalls telling Ling when she started at "The View" to work on the show for two or three years, then get back into reporting.

"Unfortunately, she took our advice," Walters said.

Braxton will help emcee music awards

LOS ANGELES -- R&B singer Toni Braxton and JC Chasez of 'N Sync will join executive producer Dick Clark in announcing the nominees for this year's American Music Awards.

They'll read the names of the nominees starting at 9:30 a.m. PST Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The 30th annual American Music Awards are scheduled to air Jan. 13 on ABC, with The Osbournes as hosts.

Awards are given based on votes from the public in eight musical genres: pop/rock, country, hip-hop/R&B, adult contemporary, Latin, contemporary inspirational, alternative and soundtrack.

An Award of Merit also will be given for "outstanding contributions to the musical entertainment of the American public." Previous winners include Irving Berlin, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beach Boys and Johnny Cash.

Men involved in alleged extortion sue police

SYDNEY, Australia -- Three men accused of blackmailing Russell Crowe over his role in a brawl said Monday they're suing police and prosecutors for malicious prosecution and wrongful arrest.

Police accused Philip Cropper and Malcolm Mercer, both 38, and Mark Potts, 45, of trying to extort money from the actor after he was allegedly captured on a videotape in a brawl outside a nightclub in Coffs Harbor on Nov. 18, 1999.

Crowe, the Oscar-winning "Gladiator" star, has a ranch in the hills behind Coffs Harbor, a seaside town halfway between Sydney and Brisbane.

Charges against Potts were withdrawn shortly before he was to go to trial earlier this year. A jury cleared Cropper and Mercer in June of demanding money from Crowe in return for not publicizing the video.

On Monday, the three filed statements of claim in the New South Wales Supreme Court against the state of New South Wales and police officers, alleging malicious prosecution and wrongful arrest.

Mercer and Cropper also are suing for false imprisonment after being held for more than a week before they could post bail.

Each seeks unspecified damages, claiming "their lives have been ruined" and that they suffered enormous financial loss, said their attorney, Greg Walsh.

"As a result of these charges and having the charges over their heads for so long and the proceedings themselves ... in effect their businesses were ruined," he said.

Walsh said Crowe likely would be called as a witness. A hearing is expected next year.

Oldest Hanson brother was Halloween father

TULSA, Okla. -- The middle brother of the pop singing trio Hanson has become a father.

Taylor Hanson, 19, and his wife Natalie Anne Bryant, 18, became parents Oct. 31.

Bryant gave birth to Jordan Ezra Halloween morning.

"We're so excited to start a family," Hanson said in a statement. "Having Ezra is the best thing we've ever done. Life and art are all about these moments."

Hanson married Bryant, his girlfriend of two years, in June at a private ceremony in Pine Mountain, Ga.

The group Hanson sparked the teen pop craze of recent years when they debuted in 1997.

The brothers were just 16, 14 and 11 years old when their first hit, "MMMBop," went to No. 1 in 27 countries.

Taylor and brothers Isaac and Zac are finishing work on their next CD, due early next year.

Gardener suing TLC's T-Boz Watson over flowers

MOORPARK, Calif. -- A gardener is suing Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins of the R&B group TLC and her rapper husband, Mack 10, for allegedly stiffing him on a bill for snapdragons.

A hearing is scheduled for next month in the lawsuit, filed in Ventura County Superior Court in July.

The lawsuit contends that the singer and her husband, Detrick Rolison, ordered landscaping last year for their gated Moorpark home but never paid their gardening firm, Kevin Persons Inc.

Persons alleges the couple owes him nearly $15,000 for providing 50 flats of mixed snapdragons, four 15-gallon plants, sod, sprinklers, tree lighting and 10 square yards of walk-on bark.

The Thousand Oaks gardener claims he had an oral agreement with Mack 10.

"He's got more money in cars than what I make in a year," Persons said Friday.

The couple did not have an immediate comment Monday.-- From wire reports

Congressman resorts to weight-loss surgery

NEW YORK -- Rep. Jerrold Nadler has shed 61 pounds as a result of stomach-reduction surgery, and he says that's just the beginning.

Nadler, 55, said he decided to undergo the surgical procedure after decades of unsuccessfully battling obesity, The New York Times reported.

"I can't tell you how many people -- complete strangers -- have come up to me and said, 'Congressman, you're doing a great job, and I want you to continue to be my congressman, so you have to lose weight,"' the Democrat told the Times for its Saturday editions. "Imagine how that makes you feel."

Before the surgery in August, the 5-foot-4 Nadler weighed as much as 338 pounds. He said he couldn't climb a flight of stairs before, but he recently surprised himself by walking 40 blocks from his office in Lower Manhattan to Penn Station. Now he hopes to reach his ideal weight of 160 pounds.

The surgical procedure entails narrowing the stomach so it can only take in up to three ounces of food. It's then connected to the lower half of the small intestine, reducing the amount of calories the body absorbs.

Stomach-reduction surgery is often successful, but it's risky, with one out of 200 people dying as a result of the procedure.

Other famous people, including singer Carnie Wilson and "Today" show weatherman Al Roker, have lost large amounts of weight through the surgery.


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Inside a converted aerospace factory in Culver City, Debbie Allen is doing a real-life imitation of her role as a choreographer in the 1980 movie "Fame."

Allen is directing 35 children, who range in age from 6 to 18, in "Pearl," a contemporary retelling of the "Snow White" fairy tale.

The musical, which premiered last spring at the Kennedy Center in Washington, opens Wednesday at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and will run through Dec. 22. It includes just five adults in its large cast.

Allen wrote "Pearl" as her directing and writing final at Howard University in 1971. "I got an A-plus," a laughing Allen told the Los Angeles Times. The musical incorporates a broad range of dance styles, from ballet and jazz to tap and hip-hop.

"I want to see the next generation do something else," said Allen, 52, inside her 2-year-old Debbie Allen Dance Academy. "This is about more than giving back. It's bigger than that. I don't sleep well because I realize there is so much to do."


RADNOR, Pa. -- Paul McCartney says he believes the bad press his wife, Heather Mills, has been getting will pass once his fans get used to the couple being married.

"All you've got to do is think back to Linda," McCartney told TV Guide for its Nov. 23 issue, referring to his first wife, who died of cancer in 1998. "Linda got rubbished in the first year or so. And then she was established and people got over it. It's a bit par for the course."

Mills has denied reports in British tabloids that McCartney forced her to sign a prenuptial agreement before their wedding this year. And in August, she agreed to accept $76,000 in damages to settle a libel suit she filed against a newspaper that reported she was investigated for charity irregularities.

In the TV Guide interview, McCartney also talked about the exuberant reaction he still gets from concertgoers at the age of 60.

"The older people scream because they remember screaming," he says. "And younger girls have seen it on films, so it's like a tradition."

-- From wire reports

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