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Published: Friday, 8/15/2008

Cast members returning for 'Dallas' reunion party

FROM BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen, and other members of the Ewing clan are getting together for a Dallas reunion party.

Cast members of the popular prime-time soap opera that ran from 1978 to 1991 will return to the Southfork Ranch north of Dallas on Nov. 8 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the show. Several key actors, including Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, and Patrick Duffy, have confirmed they will attend.

Hagman, who played central character J.R. Ewing, a scheming oil baron and cattle rancher, said he is looking forward to the event.

"I may not be able to do the 40th," said Hagman, 76, in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. "Thirty years is pretty good, and the show is still very popular."

The reunion at the ranch in suburban Parker, north of Dallas, is open to the public. Tickets go on sale Aug. 22 and will cost between $100 and $1,000. The event will include fireworks, a country music concert, a question-and-answer session with the cast, and tours of the mansion.

Dallas featured the antics of a wealthy Texas clan that punched, slapped, drank, cavorted, and schemed to gain control of the family fortune. The reunion promises to be tamer.

"Larry and I will have a bowl of Mueslix and a small shot of prune juice and be in bed by 9 o'clock," Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing, told the newspaper. "We'll let people file by the bed and watch us go to sleep. I think we can hang with the best of them until midnight."

Karl Rundgren, who has served as news anchor for WUPW-TV, Channel 36, for nearly five years, is leaving the Fox affiliate Aug. 29.

Rundgren, 31, is moving to Midland, Texas, where he will anchor KMID newscasts. He said he made the move for family considerations.

"My wife's family lives in Midland and she grew up in the area, and my family lives in the Dallas area," he said. "While it is a smaller station, to get close to family is huge. Plus, it's a really exciting opportunity [at the ABC affiliate]. They've got some very aggressive goals and I hope I can help them reach those goals."

The anchor of WUPW's 4 and 10 p.m. newscasts, Rundgren originally served as the station's fill-in anchor for Ryan Serber, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in early 2003. Rundgren was young to be an anchor and had no experience in the job either.

"It was a great call," said Steve France, WUPW news director. "He looks young, but there's a great level of maturity. He was really able to take on the task."

France praised Rundgren as a "team leader, who's very respected by the staff." He also said the pairing of Rundren and co-anchor Laura Emerson worked well.

Until a permanent replacement is found, Emerson occasionally will be paired with a rotating group of fill-in anchors.

"Obviously, the sooner [someone is hired] the better, but I want the right fit," France said. "It has to be a person who works well with Laura, and works well with our team."

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After three years as a news anchor/reporter at WTOL-TV, Channel 11, Shelley Brown is returning home to Louisiana. She has accepted a position at WVUE-TV, a Fox affiliate in New Orleans. She shared the news with viewers during the 5:30 p.m. newscast last night.

"She is just such a great person, we will miss her greatly," said news director Mitch Jacob. "But this is a terrific opportunity for her. The search is under way for her replacement."

Two days after she left home, headed for her new job in Toledo, Hurricane Katrina struck the New Orleans area in August, 2005, including the suburb of Chalmette, where her home of 15 years was destroyed.

WTOL sent her to Louisiana in October, 2005, to report on the clean-up efforts in the hurricane's aftermath and again in 2006 for the one-year anniversary of the natural disaster.

"I never thought I'd go home to work again," said Brown. "But this is such a crucial time in the city's history. There is a sense of rebirth, pride, and a desire to do better. And in this business you have to move in order to move your career forward.

"I made some good contacts and good friends here. In addition to missing my Toledo family, I will really miss the seasons. When you step off the plane in New Orleans, the heat just hits you."

Her final day at WTOL will be Thursday.

Batman star Christian Bale will not face charges relating to an alleged assault on his mother and sister at the Dorchester Hotel on July 20, British prosecutors said yesterday.

The country's Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to afford a "realistic prospect of conviction" and ordered the police not to take any further action in the case.

British media had reported that Bale's mother and sister told police he assaulted them at the hotel a day before attending the European premiere of his film The Dark Knight. Bale has denied the accusation.

Prosecutors said the decision not to pursue the case was based in part on the feelings of Bale's mother and sister.

While it "treats all incidents which take place in a domestic context seriously, it is important that the views of complainants are also taken into account when making decisions in such cases," the service said.

Bale has repeatedly refused to comment on the incident beyond a statement released by his lawyers denying the assault allegation. His family has also declined to comment, saying the issue was a personal matter.

An actor who appeared in the hit comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in the stabbing of his girlfriend.

Shelley Malil, 43, was arrested Monday. He appeared Wednesday in San Diego County Superior Court. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the charge, which includes special circumstances of premeditation, causing great bodily injury, and using a deadly weapon.

Sheriff's deputies found 35-year-old Kendra Beebe on Sunday after receiving reports of screams at her home in the suburb of San Marcos. She had been stabbed more than 20 times.

She was hospitalized in critical condition.

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Michigan 'Joker' sentenced to 1 day in jail

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CENTREVILLE, Mich. (AP) - A man accused of trying to steal a large Batman movie poster from a cinema lobby while dressed as the Joker has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of malicious destruction of property.

Twenty-year-old Spencer Taylor entered the plea Wednesday in St. Joseph County District Court.

A judge ordered him to serve one day in jail, perform 16 hours of community service and pay $685 in fines.

Charges of attempted larceny in a building and using a mask to conceal his identity during the commission of a crime were dismissed as part of Taylor's plea agreement.

Three Rivers police say he was wearing a purple suit, green wig and face paint when they arrested him on July 27.

/AP-CS-08-13-08 2349EDT

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Paula Wagner leaving UA as chief executive

Eds: UPDATES with MGM confirming December release for 'Valkyrie;' DELETES reference to Variety. Moving on entertainment and financial services.

By SOLVEJ SCHOU

Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Tom Cruise's producing partner Paula Wagner said Wednesday she will leave her job as chief executive of United Artists to produce projects independently.

Wagner will continue to co-own the studio with Cruise and "be attached to UA's most exciting film properties," UA and its parent company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. added in a joint statement.

Cruise and Wagner were brought in to head UA in November 2006.

She said she still believes in the vision she and Cruise have for the film studio that was formed nearly 90 years ago by Hollywood actors including Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford.

"I am proud of all that we've accomplished in the past two years," she said.

However, the effort has faced challenges.

The studio flopped on its first production attempt with last year's political thriller "Lions for Lambs," which was estimated to have lost about $30 million. Wagner has said the company took a modest financial risk with the film but its symbolic benefits were invaluable.

UA's second effort "Valkyrie," starring Cruise as a Nazi army officer executed after a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, has been delayed a few times.

In April, UA pushed back the release date from Oct. 3 to February 2009. MGM announced Wednesday the film would be released Dec. 26.

"We saw and tested the movie, and we believe a strong movie deserves a strong play date," said Clark Woods, president of MGM Distribution.

/AP-CS-08-13-08 2220EDT

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Britney Spears: Happy being a mom and an aunt

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NEW YORK (AP) - Britney Spears tells OK! magazine she's focused on family life these days, looking forward to her two sons meeting their new cousin, daughter of her sister, Jamie Lynn Spears.

"She's going to come out here for the kids' birthdays," Spears, who lives in Beverly Hills, Calif., says of Jamie Lynn in the Aug. 25 issue of OK! "It will be the first time the cousins meet. I'm sure the boys will be like big brothers to Maddie," who was born June 19.

Spears, 26, flaunts her maternal side in photos with sons Sean Preston and Jayden James on the cover and inside pages of the magazine. There are shots of the family in Spears' pool, including one showing the pop star enjoying a swim with her once-estranged mother, Lynne.

After several years of custody battles, estrangements and high-profile meltdowns, Spears reports life with all family members is calm and pleasant.

Her relationship with her mother, soon due out with a book about the family's life, is "really, really good. I went through a stage when I was in high school when it wasn't so good, but now I'm at a stage where I really appreciate her a lot more."

She says she's also getting along with her father, James, who's been in control of her personal and professional matters as her legal conservator.

As for being an aunt, it did take a little getting used to, says Spears, who was a little "shocked" while visiting her 17-year-old sister and actress Jamie Lynn in the hospital for the birth of her newborn daughter.

"That was special, but it was also strange because she's always been the baby, and now the baby was having a baby," Spears says. "It was mind-boggling. I was shocked a little bit. "

Spears appears to have cleaned up her act in recent days. Last month, she settled a long-running custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline, which allows her additional visits with her children.

She also appears fit and confident in promotional ads for the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards - the opposite of her widely panned appearance at last year's ceremony. MTV has said they are in talks to have the singer appear at this year's Sept. 7 ceremony.

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On the Net:

OK! magazine:

http://www.okmagazine.com/home/

/AP-CS-08-13-08 1754EDT

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Kid Rock to play 'All Summer Long' at VMAs

Eds: AP Video.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Kid Rock is returning to the Video Music Awards for another hit performance - and this time it doesn't involve a fistfight with Tommy Lee.

The boisterous rocker is slated to perform "All Summer Long" off his platinum-selling CD "Rock 'N Roll Jesus." Though it was released nearly a year ago, it has surged on the charts and is currently one of the top five selling CDs.

Last year, Kid Rock wasn't a performer, but he was involved in one of the ceremony's most talked about moments when scuffled with Tommy Lee while they were sitting in the audience. Both were at one time married to Pamela Anderson, who was also in attendance.

The fight was not shown on camera, but provided fodder for jokes from the likes of Diddy and Jamie Foxx.

Rock is the third act confirmed for the VMA's, to be held Sept. 7 in Los Angeles. Other performers are Lil Wayne and Jonas Brothers, though there is a possibility that Britney Spears - who's bleary kickoff performance at last year's VMA's became one of 2007's most talked about moments - may join them.

MTV told The Associated Press earlier this week they are in negotiations to have the star there in some capacity, and she's already taped two promotional ads for the show with host Russell Brand.

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On the Net:

http://www.mtv.com

/AP-CS-08-14-08 1331EDT



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