Saturday, April 30, 2011

{alltv} Photos: Michelle Trachtenberg, Alyssa Milano, Rosario Dawson

{alltv} Photo: Paula Abdul

{alltv} Photos: Hugh Laurie, Whoopi Goldberg

{alltv} Panettiere fascinated by Knox story


The simplest question always is the most profound in contentious and complicated court cases.

Is Amanda Knox guilty or innocent?

"It's one of those stories where you just don't know," actress Hayden Panettiere said. "That's why I was so interested in playing it.

"We genuinely spent five weeks, every day, talking about it and reading about it and looking at new evidence, trying to form some sort of opinion. And it's like, 'She's innocent, she's guilty, she's innocent, she's guilty, she's innocent.'

"I don't know that we'll ever really know."

Panettiere portrays the title character in the made-for-TV movie Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy. Having aired on Lifetime in the United States earlier this year, it makes its Canadian debut Sunday, May 1, on Slice.

Knox, an American honours student who was attending university in Italy for a year, made international headlines when she was convicted - as were two males - for the 2007 murder and sexual assault of one of her flat-mates, British student Meredith Kercher. Knox was given a 26-year sentence when the verdict was handed down in 2009, but her case currently is under appeal (under Italian law she is presumed innocent during the appeal process).

Referred to by her childhood nickname "Foxy Knoxy" not only in the media but also by her Italian prosecutor during the initial trial, Knox was painted as a selfish, sexually obsessed, narcissistic, remorseless killer. But primarily (although not exclusively) in American circles, there was debate as to whether Knox was being railroaded by a legal system that was unfamiliar to her.

"If you look at the media on this, it made all the difference in the outcome and the way people viewed her," said Panettiere, 21.

"Her (childhood) teammates called her Foxy Knoxy. You know, her last name is Knox, so Foxy Knoxy. If I were judged based on every nickname I've had, we'd be in trouble."

Predictably and understandably, the families of both Knox and Kercher were not happy that Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy even was being made. But the finished project does a fairly deft job of both building the drama and leaving the door ajar for different explanations.

Panettiere is best known for playing cheerleader Claire Bennet on Heroes (remember that brief year when "save the cheerleader, save the world" was the most popular phrase on TV?). Despite the crazy hours on the Heroes set, Panettiere said she was aware of the Knox case peripherally when it was happening.

"I truly believe (Knox) when she says her lawyers told her to go out there and be her vivacious and smiley self," Panettiere said. "(Prosecutors and media) turned that a lot against her. They said she was always bubbly and happy, which was weird and creepy. I genuinely think that's just who she was.

"She has a spirit. She's a real person. She was a young girl who had dreams and aspirations and was going to Italy to go to school and broaden her horizons and have experiences and meet new people.

"Whatever it was that happened that night, four people's lives were ruined."

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{alltv} Lorenzo Lamas Gets Hitched for the Fifth Time

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Lorenzo Lamas, Shawna Craig  

You've got give the guy some credit for trying.

Four marriages down the drain, yet small-screen beefcake Lorenzo Lamas continues to believe in the virtue of love, marrying his 24-year-old fiancée Shawna Craig today at the Casa Dorada Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

While the bride wore a traditonal white gown with a long train, Lorenzo wore white pants, a black long-sleeved shirt and flip-flops for the beach wedding overlooking the Pacific. The 52-year-old casual romantic proposed to the model in February over dinner at Mr. Chow's in Beverly Hills after dating for a less-than-whopping three months.

Although his new bride is younger than his oldest daughter, Shayne Lamas, she approves.

"They are both really excited and seem very much in love, so they of course have my blessing," Shayne tells E! News.

Shayne, her new baby bump and husband Nik Richie were among those in attendance at the ceremony, which took place at the five-star Casa Dorado Hotel.

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

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{alltv} Las Vegas teacher charged with firing at TV crew

LAS VEGAS – A North Las Vegas teacher faces attempted murder and other charges after police say he fired shots at a television crew for the Spike TV reality show "Repo Games."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that 40-year-old Carlos Enrique Barron has been suspended with pay from his job as a special education teacher at Smith Middle School while the investigation continues.

"Repo Games" allows debtors a chance to win back their repossessed cars.

The Review-Journal reports a crew from the show was looking for a vehicle belonging to one of Barron's neighbors Tuesday night.

A police report says Barron got upset that the crew's security van was parked in front of his home on Vigilante Court. It says Barron confronted the crew with a gun, slapped one of the crew's security officers and fired at least three shots. No one was hurt.

Police say Barron admitted brandishing the gun but denied firing any shots.

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{alltv} Bumpy week for potential candidate Donald Trump

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – He was ribbed by President Barack Obama, called a racist by David Letterman, accused of being a draft dodger and gave an expletive-laced political speech.

All in all, the headlines in recent days were not kind to property mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, who is running high in polls among potential Republican presidential candidates.

Presidential historian and author Chester Pach said it was a terrible week for Trump, who he said revealed more of his "foolishly simplistic ideas."

"Donald Trump is not a serious candidate," Pach said. "This is just another chapter in a lifelong connected with tabloid headlines whether it is his hair, his marriages, his bankruptcies or now his presidential aspirations."

"But from Donald Trump's perspective, I expect any week in which he got a lot of publicity is a good week. The rating for his TV show will go up, his show may get renewed," said Pach of Ohio University. "But my guess is by summer he will have faded from presidential talk."

A political spokesman for Trump, who is considering a race for the White House in 2012, had a more positive take on events.

"Mr. Trump had an amazing week," Michael Cohen told Reuters. "This week, voters turned out in their droves in New Hampshire to tell him, 'Please run! You are our savior!' If that doesn't constitute a good week, what does?"

Trump's trip to New Hampshire, the first primary voting state, has added to buzz he may run. But some think it is all a publicity stunt for his "Celebrity Apprentice" reality TV show.

Wednesday, Obama chided Trump at a fund-raiser after releasing his long-form birth certificate to address Trump-fueled talk he was not born in the United States and therefore ineligible to be president.

"What we do in politics is not a reality show. It's serious," Obama said in a veiled reference to Trump's reality TV role where he utters his catch phrase, "You're fired."

The billionaire businessman also made news for a speech in Las Vegas Thursday night in which he called U.S. political leadership "stupid" and used an obscenity several times, including in a reference to taxing Chinese imports.

"Mr. Trump is a patriot," said Cohen. "Nothing gets him madder than watching America fall apart in front of his nose."

Cohen also said CBS "Late Show" host Letterman "should be ashamed of himself" for calling Trump a racist Thursday for questioning Obama's citizenship and his grades at Harvard.

The Smoking Gun website reported Thursday that Trump dodged the Vietnam War due to a medical deferment, not a high draft number, as he has said. Cohen said the report mischaracterized the facts and used documents out of context.

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{alltv} Obama mocks Trump's presidential ambitions

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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama exacted his revenge Saturday after weeks of attacks from his would-be Republican challenger Donald Trump, joking that the billionaire businessman could bring change to the White House, transforming it from a stately mansion into a tacky casino with a whirlpool in the garden.

With Trump in attendance, Obama used the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner to mock the reality TV star's presidential ambitions. The president said Trump has shown the acumen of a future president, from firing Gary Busey on a recent episode of "Celebrity Apprentice" to focusing so much time on conspiracy theories about Obama's birthplace.

After a week when Obama released his long-form Hawaii birth certificate, he said Trump could now focus on the serious issues, from whether the moon landing actually happened to "where are Biggie and Tupac?"

"No one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than 'the Donald,'" Obama said, referring to Trump's claims the same day that he was responsible for solving the issue.

For Trump's decision to fire actor Busey instead of rock singer Meat Loaf from his TV show earlier this month, Obama quipped: "These are the types of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir."

And then, as a coup de grace, Obama showed a screen with his vision of how Trump could bring change to the White House. "Trump" was prominently displayed in glittery letters and girls could be seen with cocktails on a Jacuzzi-augmented front lawn.

Trump chuckled at some of the earlier jokes, but was clearly less amused as comedian Seth Meyers picked up where Obama left off.

"Donald Trump often talks about running as a Republican, which is surprising," said the Saturday Night Live actor, entrusted with providing some of the comedy for the evening. "I just assumed he was running as a joke."

Trump stared icily at Meyers as he continued to criticize the real estate tycoon.

Obama and Trump found themselves in the same room after an intense week of attacks from Trump, who has piggybacked on the birther conspiracies and even Obama's refusal to release his university grades to raise the profile of his possible presidential bid.

And the birth certificate was clearly the key punchline for the evening, which typically offers the president a chance to show off his humorous side and a town consumed by politics and partisanship to enjoy a light-hearted affair.

Obama's presentation started after the wrestler Hulk Hogan's patriotic anthem, "Real American," played. Images of Americana from Mount Rushmore to Uncle Sam were shown on the screen, alongside his birth certificate. And then he offered to show his live birth video, which turned out to be a clip from the Disney film, "The Lion King."

On the serious side, Obama took time to thank the troops for their service overseas and noted that the people of the South, especially Alabama, have suffered heart-wrenching losses.

"The devastation is unbelievable and it is heartbreaking," he said. He encouraged the journalists in the room to help tell the stories of those who have been hurt by the storms and saluted those who lost their lives while covering the news.

Other possible Republican presidential hopefuls in attendance were former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Michele Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. And stars such as Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson also were among the 3,000 people who attended.

The association was formed in 1914 as a liaison between the press and the president. Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the dinner. Some of the proceeds from the dinner pay for journalism scholarships for college students.

Several journalists will also be honored at the dinner:

• Dan Balz of The Washington Post and Jake Tapper of ABC News, for winning the Merriman Smith Award for presidential coverage under deadline pressure. Balz won for coverage of an unexpected appearance by Obama and former President Bill Clinton at a White House briefing, and Tapper won for revealing that Obama would ask Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to resign.

• Peter Baker of The New York Times, for winning the Aldo Beckman award for sustained excellence in White House coverage, for stories dubbed "the education of a president."

• Michael Berens of The Seattle Times, for winning the Edgar A. Poe Award for excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance. Berens uncovered flaws in a health care plan for seniors that resulted in neglect, abuse and even death.

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