• Directors Guild finds TV diversity hiring stalled

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Women and minorities are largely shut out of the ranks of TV series directors in a stubbornly unchanged pattern of hiring, according to a Hollywood guild study released Wednesday. The Directors Guild of America report said that employers have made no significant improvement in diversity among TV directors in the last four years. White males directed the vast majority of the more than 3,500 cable, broadcast and high-budget online episodes made for the 2013-14 season, according to the study. In a statement, Directors Guild President Paris Barclay said it can be "shockingly difficult" to persuade those who control industry hiring to make even small improvements.

  • TV show helps spur arrest in 1997 Arizona killing

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A television show that featured the nearly two-decade-old killing of an Arizona teenager and her unborn baby helped lead to the arrest of her ex-boyfriend, police said Wednesday. Cecilio Cruz is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Police in the city of Cottonwood, about 100 miles north of Phoenix, said Cruz fatally shot 17-year-old Marisol Gonzalez in the face on March 25, 1997. Cruz, 34, long had been suspected in Gonzalez's death, Cottonwood police Sgt. Tod Moore said. The two dated in high school, and she found out that she was pregnant with his child after they broke up. Her body was found in an alley near her Cottonwood home the same day she was scheduled to be induced to deliver

  • Jason Isbell cleans up at Americana Awards

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell has swept the major awards at the Americana Honors & Awards. Isbell won artist, album and song of the year during the 13th annual awards show Wednesday night at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The Alabama-born performer's "Southeastern" was one of 2013's most celebrated albums, earning a place on most best-of lists and resonating in the Americana community. He also won for "Cover Me Up," a song written for and performed with his wife, singer-fiddler Amanda Shires. Other winners included emerging artist Sturgill Simpson, group/duo of the year Milk Carton Kids and instrumentalist of the year Buddy Miller. Loretta Lynn, Taj Mahal and Flaco Jimenez rec

  • Wallenda: Spectacle, legacy inspire Chicago walk

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — Nik Wallenda is all about spectacle, a showman who crossed Niagara Falls and an Arizona gorge on a high wire and now has his sights on Chicago's iconic skyscrapers — partly because of the city's reputation for being windy. Never mind that many historians believe the Windy City nickname was coined because of blowhard politicians. The chance to tread between buildings 50 stories above the city and over the Chicago River — amid glittering lights and on live television aired in 220 countries — was just the kind of encore he was looking for, Wallenda said Wednesday, one day after announcing his Nov. 2 feat that will be broadcast on the Discovery Channel.

  • Top TV doc Dempsey makes name in sports-car racing

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    Patrick Dempsey's character in "Can't Buy Me Love" spent all summer mowing lawns to save up for a telescope. Dempsey didn't need the science instrument to set his sights on the object he really wanted: a Porsche 356. With his first paycheck from the 1980s teen flick, Dempsey didn't go for any old beater, he went big and bought the classic 1963 Porsche. And it wasn't something he did on a whim, but with a passion for the brand. Dempsey still owns and drives the Porsche, a luxury car he planned to keep in the family, especially for his kids who love going for long rides near the family home in California. "It's fun to drive down the coast in that," Dempsey said. "That car is as so much fun to drive today as it was w

  • Jane Smiley on longlist for National Book Awards

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Novels by Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley and Richard Powers were among the 10 nominees announced Wednesday for the fiction longlist of the National Book Awards. Authors cited range from Pulitzer Prize winners Robinson and Smiley to an Iraq war veteran, Phil Klay, to the leader of the band the Mountain Goats, John Darnielle. The list also includes a staff writer, Emily St. John Mandel, for the online literary magazine The Millions. Robinson was nominated for "Lila," in which she returns to the Iowa setting of her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Gilead." Smiley's latest, "Some Luck," is also based in Iowa and is the first of a planned trilogy about a farm family.

  • Ben McKenzie primed to lead Fox's Batman prequel

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ben McKenzie expects viewers to tune into the premiere episode of Fox's Batman prequel series, "Gotham," on Monday. The series has the name recognition, history and premise to pique curiosity, and "if that gets people to watch, I'll take it," the 36-year-old actor said in a recent interview. The challenge is to get viewers to tune in week after week, because there will be no caped crusader fighting injustice. Instead, "Gotham" (8 p.m. EDT) focuses on McKenzie's young police Detective James Gordon as he tries to keep his moral compass in a corrupt city. McKenzie said there's a story worth telling. "You don't know ... what happened before Bruce (Wayne) became Batman. You don't know how all of th

  • Correction: Art-Bill Cosby story

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story Sept. 15 about Bill Cosby loaning African-American art to the Smithsonian Institution, The Associated Press, relying on information from the National Museum of African Art, reported erroneously that Cosby and his wife would lend their entire collection to the museum. They will lend 62 works, not the entire collection of more than 300, according to new information from the museum.

  • Playwright Samuel D. Hunter wins 'genius grant'

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Among the 21 winners of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants" is a playwright who promises to keep doing what he he's been doing. "What's going to change about my work is ostensibly not very much," said Samuel D. Hunter by phone from Chicago. "I just think I'm going to have so much more time and freedom to devote myself to it in this huge way." The 33-year-old Idaho-born Hunter, whose plays include "A Bright New Boise" and "The Whale," knew he had won the award — along with its $625,000 prize — weeks ago but was sworn to secrecy. Still, he admitted to feeling stunned. "It still hasn't totally settled in my mind yet," he said. "It still feels almost like a fiction.

  • Science adviser to 'Interstellar' writing book

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — A companion guide to Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" promises not only some background on one of the year's most anticipated movies but also some basic science. Publisher W.W. Norton and Company announced Wednesday that Kip Thorne's "The Science of Interstellar" will coincide with the November release of the movie. Thorne is a theoretical physicist, and was the scientific adviser and executive producer of "Interstellar." The publisher says Thorne plans to explain "the dazzling science that underpins the film." The book will include a foreword by Nolan. "Interstellar," a philosophical science fiction thriller, stars Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.

  • Puerto Rico police arrest reggaeton star Don Omar

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico reggaeton star Don Omar was arrested Wednesday in the U.S. territory on suspicion of domestic violence. Authorities said in a statement that 36-year-old William Omar Landron Rivera was detained early Wednesday at a house in the northern coastal town of Vega Alta. Authorities said he is suspected of threatening his 26-year-old partner. No charges had been filed, but police Lt. Aimee Alvarado told reporters that an investigation is ongoing and that officers were following up on previous reports of domestic violence. She said Don Omar's partner was cooperating in the investigation. One of the singer's attorneys, Edwin Prado, spoke briefly to reporters and said that Don Omar was su

  • NYC praised as most vegan-friendly in US

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan's skyline never looked so appetizing. The famed skyline was rendered in a vegetable sculpture Wednesday as part of an award given by an animal welfare group. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals declared New York the nation's most vegan-friendly city. Actor Alan Cumming was on hand for a City Hall presentation and praised the city's commitment to vegan restaurants. PETA commissioned the vegetable skyline, complete with a Chrysler Building made of radishes. Several City Council members also attended the presentation. One suggested the council adopt "Meatless Mondays" at City Hall to highlight healthy eating.

  • Mayor offers to help McGraw find Portland, Maine

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Portland, Maine? Tim McGraw doesn't know where it is. And he doesn't want to know, either. The country singer included a song, "Portland, Maine," on his latest album, "Sundown Heaven Town," which came out Tuesday. It's a breakup song in which McGraw laments that his love has left for Portland. During the chorus, he repeats the phrase "Portland, Maine: I don't know where that is" and adds "I don't want to know." Jessica Grondin, spokeswoman for the city, joked that that the person who broke his heart "made a good choice in coming to Portland." She says the mayor will give him a tour, if he can find his way to Maine's largest city.

  • Emma Watson 'touched' by reception in Uruguay

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — British actor Emma Watson says she is "immensely touched" by the reception she received in Uruguay, where she traveled as a goodwill ambassador for the UN's women's agency. Hundreds of young people greeted the 24-year-old Tuesday as she delivered a 4,000-signature petition to parliament calling for greater political participation by women. Some lawmakers brought their children or grandchildren to meet Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" films. Thirteen percent of Uruguayan parliamentarians are women, and the country has never had a female president.

  • Venezuela threatens citizenship of actress Alonso

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's leftist government says it is moving to revoke the citizenship of actress Maria Conchita Alonso, a bitter critic of the government. The country's foreign ministry announced in the official gazette that it would ask a judge to remove her Venezuelan nationality. The actress was born in Cuba but her family brought her to Venezuela when she was 5 to avoid the Communist government there. She won beauty contests and starred in television series in Venezuela before emigrating to the United States and starring in Hollywood productions such as "Moscow on the Hudson" and "Predator 2.

  • Peter Fonda's 'Easy Rider' bike going to auction

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The customized Captain America chopper Peter Fonda rode in "Easy Rider" has come to symbolize the counterculture of the 1960s. Now it's for sale. The auction house Profiles in History told The Associated Press that it estimates the Harley-Davidson will bring $1 million to $1.2 million at its Oct. 18 sale being held online and at its galleries in Calabasas, California. The seller is Michael Eisenberg, a California businessman who once co-owned a Los Angeles motorcycle-themed restaurant with Fonda and "Easy Rider" co-star Dennis Hopper. Eisenberg bought it last year from Dan Haggerty, perhaps best known for his roles in the "Grizzly Adams" TV show and movies, who was in charge of keeping the custom-designed bi

  • Liza Minnelli recovering after surgery, sends love

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Liza Minnelli is said to be resting comfortably in a California hospital after undergoing back surgery earlier this week and she's thanking fans for their well wishes. "I am overwhelmed with the amount of love and caring that has been sent my way from all over the world," the award-winning actress and singer said in a statement Wednesday. Minnelli's back injury prevented her from performing most of the year or attending the funeral of Joan Rivers in New York this month. She is expected to make a full recovery. The 68-year-old entertainer is one of the few artists to win an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy. Perhaps her greatest role was as cabaret singer Sally Bowles in the film version of "Cabaret.

  • Washington and Fuqua ride again in 'The Equalizer'

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    TORONTO (AP) — It's been a dozen years since Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua rode the corrupt Det. Alonzo Harris and their Los Angeles crime odyssey "Training Day" to Oscar glory (for Washington) and a Hollywood breakthrough (for Fuqua). "You look up, I didn't realize it was 12 years," says Washington. "That's quick. That's too fast." In "The Equalizer," a very loose adaptation of the 1980s private eye TV series, Washington and Fuqua have finally reteamed, resuming a potent actor-director tandem. The film, which opens Sept. 26, has also kick-started further collaborations. They are planning a "Magnificent Seven" remake ("You don't get many shots at a Western," says Washington, grinning) and could return for a p

  • Getting animals to dazzle on screen is a wild job

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — For animal trainers on film sets, the job can be wild. Getting snakes on a plane takes a bit of heat or light, but cajoling a bear to perform for the camera can require buckets of fried chicken. Casey the bear, seen in "Evan Almighty" and other movies, had that diva-like demand written into his contract. KFC was his favorite, and it had to be fresh. Sometimes, on remote locations, it would take a 90-minute drive to get to the nearest fast food outpost, his trainer said. The story is among those in the book "Animal Stars," a behind-the-scenes look at how trainers get species from badgers to bears to safely do what dazzles. Set for release Sept.

  • 'NBA 2K15' drafts 3-D face mapping for latest game

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — "NBA 2K15" is angling for a slam dunk with an innovative new way to put players in the game. The developers of the interactive basketball franchise are adding the option for gamers to digitally graft lifelike 3-D renditions of their faces onto virtual players in the series' latest installment, set for Oct. 7. The process uses the camera for either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One game consoles to create faces for wannabe Kobe Bryants and Kevin Durants. "It's all done using the processing power of the next-gen systems," said Jeff Thomas, vice president of sports development at "NBA 2K" developer Visual Concepts.