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    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    Variety.com - Wood, Cumming set for 'Spider-Man'

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    http://wwwvariety.com/article/VR1118005441.html?c=15

    Variety.com

    Posted: Fri., Jun. 26, 2009, 1:00pm PT

    Wood, Cumming set for 'Spider-Man'

    Duo to star in Broadway play mega-spectacle

    It's official: Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming will star in the upcoming Broadway mega-spectacle "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark."

    Deals were wrapped up late in the week for both thesps, who have been expected to confirm their stints in the show for a while now.

    Performance dates for the technically complicated tuner have been pushed back from Feb. 18 to Feb. 25, when previews will begin.

    Wood will play Spidey's paramour Mary Jane Watson, while Cumming will portray bad guy Norman Osborn, a.k.a. the Green Goblin.

    Julie Taymor ("The Lion King"), who helms the tuner and co-pens the book, has worked with both actors. Wood starred in Taymor's movie-musical "Across the Universe," while Cumming appeared in Taymor pics "Titus" and "The Tempest."

    The actor donning the tights of the wall-crawler himself has yet to be announced; open auditions for the role were held earlier this year. Wood's co-star in "Across the Universe," Jim Sturgess, has been mentioned as a possibility for the part.

    Delay of performances at the Hilton Theater gives the show's creators more time to sort out construction elements, which are said to be moving slower than anticipated.

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    Variety.com - Infomercial pitchman Billy Mays dies

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    http://wwwvariety.com/article/VR1118005469.html?c=14

    Variety.com

    Posted: Sun., Jun. 28, 2009, 9:29am PT

    Infomercial pitchman Billy Mays dies

    Co-host of Discovery's 'Pitchmen' series

    Billy Mays, the energetic product salesman of infomercial fame and co-host of Discovery Channel's "Pitchmen" series, was found dead early Sunday at his home in Tampa, Fla. He was 50.

    Mays was well-known and well-regarded in the biz for his "larger-than-life personality, generosity and warmth," Discovery Channel said in a statement.

    "Billy was a pioneer in his field and helped many people fulfill their dreams," the cabler said.

    Known as the "king of the infomercial," Mays got his start hawking products on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. He moved on to traveling the country with home and garden shows and other sales-oriented exhibitions. In 1996, he was tapped to pitch the Orange Glo cleaning solution live on the Home Shopping Network. His career in direct response advertising stemmed from his successful appearances on HSN. He became known for his loud, rhythmic and relentless delivery.

    Mays teamed with popular British personality Anthony Sullivan to host "Pitchmen" for Discovery earlier this year. The show revolves around a competition among aspiring inventors to develop marketable products. There's no word yet from Discovery on the fate of the show.

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    Reuters - Michael Jackson's death sparks bus brawl

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    Michael Jackson's death sparks bus brawl

    Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 2:21AM UTC

    MIAMI (Reuters) - A fight broke out on a Florida bus when news of Michael Jackson's death sparked debate over whether he should be remembered as a great musical talent, and one passenger was charged with assault, police said on Friday.

    The bus was moving through the city of North Lauderdale on Thursday when passenger James Kiernan received a text message about Jackson's death on his cell phone, and he read it aloud on the bus, the Broward County Sheriff's Department said.

    The unidentified bus driver opined that "Michael Jackson should have been in jail long ago," prompting Kiernan, 60, to retort that "the world just lost a great musical talent," the police report said.

    It said the last remark enraged another passenger, Henry Wideman, who started a swearing match with Kiernan, then pulled out a knife and chased Kiernan down the aisle with it.

    The driver called his dispatcher and pulled over near a convenience store to wait for sheriff's deputies, who arrested Wideman, 54. He remained in jail on Friday on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

    (Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)

    Reuters - Google CEO says worst of crisis is over

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    Google CEO says worst of crisis is over

    Friday, Jun 26, 2009 4:56PM UTC

    CANNES (Reuters) - A U.S. recovery is likely to begin this autumn, the worst of the crisis has passed and it is "reasonable to be optimistic for 2010," internet search giant Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt said on Friday.

    Speaking at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in southern France, Schmidt said U.S. jobless claims indicated "the beginning of the bottom."

    "The rate of jobless claims is decreasing although the absolute number is increasing," he explained.

    Schmidt said he did not want to comment on a report that Google had set up a team of engineers to study the technical specifications of Bing, the search engine launched recently by Google rival Microsoft, as he had not seen it.

    But he added: "Bing is a competitor. We have absolutely looked at Bing; we have actually studied what they do as Microsoft studied what Google does."

    Microsoft's Bing search engine has been winning U.S. market share from its rivals but is still trailing Google and Yahoo Inc.

    Bing will be launched in the UK in the autumn and a test version is already available in Europe.

    (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Helen Massy-Beresford; editing by John Stonestreet)

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