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From Southflorida.com

People : Insider anchor Pat O’Brien enters rehab City of Boca Raton (whedon mention)

Monday 21 March 2005, by Webmaster

LOS ANGELES — Television host Pat O’Brien, anchor of "The Insider" news magazine show, has entered an alcohol rehabilitation program, he said in a written statement Sunday to The Associated Press.

"I have had a problem with alcohol. I have decided to take action by checking myself into an intensive recovery program," the 57-year-old broadcast journalist said.

"Overcoming this problem is a top priority in my life and I am excited to return to work as soon as I am able," he continued.

There were no details about the recovery facility or when O’Brien entered the program.

O’Brien, who covered the Summer Olympics in Greece for MSNBC and NBC late-night programming, was a TV news reporter in Los Angeles and Chicago before joining CBS Sports.

He occasionally hosted "Entertainment Tonight" and in 1997 became the full-time host of "Access Hollywood." That contract expired last year and he began hosting "The Insider."

"We support Pat’s decision to seek treatment and look forward to welcoming him back on the air at the appropriate time," said Manfred Westphal, a spokesman for Paramount Domestic Television, which syndicates "The Insider."

Westphal said the show’s New York host, Lara Spencer, will take over during O’Brien’s absence.

Buffy creator wins Wonder Woman

Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, has been signed by Silver Pictures to write and direct the Wonder Woman movie, based on the DC Comics character.

"We are excited about working with Joss," Jeff Robinov, president of production, Warner Bros. Pictures, said in a statement last week in New York. "His work on Buffy makes him uniquely qualified to handle the Wonder Woman character."

Whedon described Wonder Woman as "the most iconic female heroine of our time. But in a way, no one has met her yet," he said. "What I love most about icons is finding out what’s behind them, exploring the price of their power."

Whedon also created the Buffy spin-off series, Angel. He is completing post-production on Serenity, which he wrote and directed based on his TV series Firefly.

Watts runs rings around Robots

LOS ANGELES — Naomi Watts ran rings around the competition as her horror sequel "The Ring 2" took in $36 million to debut as the top weekend movie.

The movie’s take was more than double the $15 million that the original surprise horror hit grossed at its 2002 opening.

"Robots," the previous weekend’s No. 1 movie, slipped to second place with $21.8 million, lifting its 10-day total to $66.9 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Disney’s family hit "The Pacifier" held up well in third place with $12.5 million, pushing its three-week total to $72.3 million.

For thrill seekers, "The Ring 2," offers Watts returning to her role as a journalist and single mom trying to save herself and her son from the curse of a killer videotape, whose viewers die horrible deaths within a week.

The original, based on a Japanese hit, became a word-of-mouth surprise success, holding strong as it steadily climbed to a $129 million total domestic gross. The sequel is expected to mirror the pattern of other horror hits, which open big, but take steep drops.

"Sequels just don’t play the same way. You have to expect a good drop," said Jim Tharp, head of distribution for DreamWorks, which released both "Ring" flicks. "Obviously, we would hope to get that $100 million club, but we don’t do any of those projections this early in the game."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Ring 2," $36 million; 2. "Robots," $21.8 million; 3. "The Pacifier," $12.5 million; 4. "Ice Princess," $7 million; 5. "Hitch," $6.6 million; 6. "Be Cool," $5.8 million; 7. "Hostage," $5.797 million; 8. "Million Dollar Baby," $4.1 million; 9. "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," $3.5 million; and 10. "Constantine," $2.3 million.

Lincoln slaying items up for bids

A company that markets historical collectibles is auctioning items connected to President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, including a letter written by an eyewitness and a ticket from that night’s play at Ford’s Theater. An unidentified Raleigh, N.C., family placed the collectibles up for auction through Raynor’s Limited Edition Historical Collectible Auctions in Graham, N.C.

Members of the family are descendants of Ephraim and Margaret Jones, a couple who saw the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington on April 14, 1865, the night that Lincoln was assassinated. In the letter Ephraim Jones wrote to his daughter, he said he and his wife had seen the attack. "Bell, your mother and pap was at the theater last night and seen that fellow shoot the president. Your mother was scared almost to death. He made his escape across the stage. I will write particulars in next [letter]."

Bidding began about two weeks ago and ends Thursday.

Host of The Insider enters rehab

TV host Pat O’Brien, anchor of The Insider news magazine show, has entered an alcohol rehabilitation program, he said in a written statement Sunday to The Associated Press in Los Angeles.

"I have had a problem with alcohol. I have decided to take action by checking myself into an intensive recovery program," the broadcast journalist, 57, said. "Overcoming this problem is a top priority in my life, and I am excited to return to work as soon as I am able."

Ray wins four NAACP Image Awards

The biopic Ray about the life of legendary singer Ray Charles won four NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles, including an outstanding-actor trophy that added to its star Jamie Foxx’s armful of honors.

Ray was nominated for a leading seven awards, including outstanding motion picture and outstanding actor in a motion picture for Foxx, who received the best-actor Oscar at last month’s Academy Awards.

The 36th annual Image Awards, which honor films, TV, literature and music by and about people of color, were handed out at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The ceremony, hosted by actor Chris Tucker, was scheduled to air Friday on Fox.

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys also was a multiple winner, taking home a pair of trophies for outstanding song and music video for If I Ain’t Got You.

Ex-POW wants to teach kindergarten

Former POW Jessica Lynch plans to pursue her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher. The Army supply clerk, 21, whose wounding and rescue made her one of the Iraq war’s most famous soldiers, said Friday in Morgantown, W.Va., that she plans to start online courses at West Virginia University this fall.

Former Gov. Bob Wise had promised Lynch the state would finance her education at any West Virginia public college or university.

Lynch is busy traveling and making several speeches a month about her experience as a POW.

American wins coveted Pritzker Prize

Thomas Mayne, the bad boy of architecture for years before reaping international acclaim in his mid-50s, was named in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday as the winner of the Pritzker Prize, the field’s most prestigious honor.

Mayne, 61, is the first American to win the Pritzker in 14 years and only the eighth U.S. architect to win in the 27-year history of the contest.

The jury cited Mayne for creating a bold architectural style that reflects the "unique, somewhat rootless, culture of Southern California" through angular lines and an unfinished, open-ended feel.

Mayne will be awarded a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion on May 31 during a ceremony at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park.