September 4, 2014
Less than two weeks before the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” ABC has take the wraps off the latest cast. It includes the usual mix: A few athletes (Olympian Lolo Jones, NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and MMA champ Randy Couture); former heartthrobs (“Clueless” star Jonathan Bennett and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s” Alfonso Ribeiro); a YouTube sensation (Bethany Mota); a reality star (“Duck Dynasty” granddaughter Sadie Robertson); and a few aging legends (Tommy Chong and fashion designer Betsy Johnson, both in their 70s). Other cast members include soap star Antonio Sabato Jr., public radio host Tavis Smiley, “Back to the Future” star Lea Thompson, and “Pretty Little Liars” star Janel Parrish.
Bob Stenner, the producer who long worked for the team of Pat Summerall and John Madden, will retire after the current NFL season. Stenner currently serves as producer for the Fox team of Thom Brennaman and David Diehl. He has spent nearly 50 years as a TV producer, two decades of that for CBS and Fox.
NBC is evidently hoping that Luke Russert, son of late “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert, can help the show recover some of its lost ratings. The network is naming the 29-year-old Russert one of the permanent panelists on “Press,” which gets a new host this weekend in Chuck Todd. Ratings for the program have fallen sharply under former host David Gregory the past few years.
Jonathan Greenberger, the executive producer of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” is adding another responsibility. He will become Washington bureau chief for ABC News, succeeding Robin Sproul, who has held the position for 21 years.
Grammy-winning artist Juanes will play a ladies’ man music producer on the new CW program “Jane the Virgin” this fall. In addition to guest starring on the show, his music will be featured in the pilot.
IPG Mediabrands’ BPN has named Martha Peterson managing director of the U.S. She had been senior partner and global account director at Maxus, part of WPP Group.
Ellen McDonnell, NPR’s executive editor for news programming, is leaving the public radio network later this year. She has been with NPR since 1979, when she joined as a news writer. She was executive producer of “Morning Edition” from 1998 to 2007, when she took over her current position.
Donte’ Stallworth is going from catching footballs to catching quotes. The former NFL wide receiver has been named a politics fellow at The Huffington Post, where he will spend the fall covering national security.
Rob Grimshaw, the managing director of the Financial Times web site, is leaving the paper to become chief executive officer of TES Global. He will begin the new job in November.
Stephen D. Isaacs, a former Washington Post City editor in the 1960s when he was in his 20s, has died at age 76. He also served as editor of the Minneapolis Star and as a journalism professor at Columbia University.
Days after he resigned as programming president of TNT, TBS and TCM, Michael Wright has found a new job. He’ll become chief executive officer at DreamWorks Studios as of Jan. 3 of next year. He succeeds Stacey Snider, who is leaving to join Fox.
Ja Rule will be the latest celebrity to get an MTV reality program. “Follow the Rules” will capture the daily goings-on of Ja Rule’s family, including his wife, daughter, two sons, mother and mother in law.
Ja RuleWikipedia: Jeffrey Atkins, better known by his stage name Ja Rule, is an American rapper, singer, and actor from Queens, New York. →
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