On 'Yo Mamma' show, Fezwill look for trash-talkers
NEW YORK -- Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Fez on "That '70s Show," will host a trash-talking competition series, "Yo Momma," set to air on MTV next year. "Wilmer is wired into our audience. His humor, style and approachable personality make this a great fit for MTV," Brian Graden, president of entertainment, said in a recent statement. Adds Lois Curren, executive vice president, MTV Series Entertainment: "Wilmer joins a list of series creators/hosts that includes Ashton Kutcher, P. Diddy, Nick Cannon and many more who have found a home on MTV for their creative, genre-defining ideas." In a four-week daily afternoon format, Valderrama, 25, will go into different neighborhoods to find the most astute trash-talkers. The top two contestants each day will compete for a cash prize and bragging rights, as well as the opportunity to move forward in the tournament-style competition.
Ky. radio station to keep'Writer's Almanac' on air
MINNEAPOLIS -- A public radio station in Kentucky has reversed its decision to cancel Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac" over concerns about offensive content, after what station officials said was an outpouring of support. WUKY-FM, based in Lexington, canceled the show in early August. The daily spot runs a few minutes and features Keillor noting important milestones in writing history, after which he typically reads a poem. Recent poems had included words such as "breast" and the phrase "get high." Another included suggestive sexual content, according to WUKY General Manager Tom Goddell. He said there were no listener complaints, but station officials had worried about recent moves by the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on language it considered obscene. "There's been something like $18 million in fines in the last year," Goddell told The Associated Press. "That's enough to get our attention." A newspaper article last week about the cancellation prompted a flood of phone calls and e-mails demanding the show stay on the air, Goddell said.
What's good for his soul
NEW YORK -- Jason Mraz understands that smoking isn't good for the body. But that doesn't mean it's not good for his soul. "My whole belief in life is if it makes you happy, it's good for you," the 28-year-old singer-songwriter told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "My dad is always getting after me about smoking. It's not good for you. My dad is like 300 pounds. Well, neither is your diet. Well, who's at fault? None of us. You love popcorn, I love smoking, you and I are both happy folks," he said. "Why can't we just be happy?" Mraz did stop -- well, at least once, anyway. "I quit smoking for a while," he said. "[But] I was on the road for too long. Deadlines, I needed to write more things, and to me, writing and smoking go hand in hand. Panic attacks, mood swings, all that [stuff]." His sophomore album, "Mr. A-Z," was released last month.
Don't worry, he's happy
LOS ANGELES -- For years he's been telling people, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Now Bobby McFerrin has decided it's time to take his own advice. "I've got one week left, and then I'm done for a year," a weary McFerrin told The Associated Press during a weekend visit to UCLA, where he was accepting an award from the Henry Mancini Institute for his contributions to music. "I haven't had a sabbatical, I haven't taken a year off from touring in 15 years at least," said McFerrin, whose bright and bouncy ditty, "Don't Worry, Be Happy," seemed to put his name on everybody's lips in 1988 when it won Grammys for song of the year and record of the year. "Music can be very exciting and very challenging and very tiresome and very wearisome, McFerrin said.
Jazz pianist and composer Francy Boland, who formed one of Europe's leading all-star swing bands of the 1960s and 1970s alongside American Kenny Clarke, has died, his family said Tuesday. He was 75.
Rufus Thibodeaux, a Cajun music fiddler who played with an array of country music performers during a career that spanned 50 years, died Friday. He was 71.
Actress Maureen O'Hara is 85. Actor Robert DeNiro is 62. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 59. Rock musician Sib Hashian is 56. Actor Robert Joy is 54. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy's Midnight Runners) is 52. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 50. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 50. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 47. Actor Sean Penn is 45. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 44. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 43. Singer Maria McKee is 41. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 40. Rock musician Jill Cunniff is 39. Actor David Conrad is 38. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 36. Rapper Posdnuos is 36. Tennis player Jim Courier is 35. Actor Bryton McClure is 19.