Quadriplegic lawyer suesproducers of 'Apprentice'
ST. LOUIS -- A quadriplegic lawyer has sued producers of NBC's "The Apprentice," saying the tryouts for the popular reality show discriminate by requiring that would-be contestants be in excellent physical health. In his federal lawsuit filed here last week, James Schottel Jr. wants a preliminary injunction that would force the show's producers to drop such requirements that exclude him and "others similarly situated" from being considered for the show. The St. Louis attorney, who has applied to try out for the show when auditions are to be staged here today, seeks no monetary damages. He said the lawsuit is meant only to correct a perceived Americans with Disabilities Act violation by Trump Productions LLC and Mark Burnett Productions LLC. "This isn't a frivolous lawsuit," Schottel said Wednesday. "Since the ADA was enacted, there have been great steps in new buildings and accessibility by [the disabled]. But I rarely see a person with a disability on anything" on television.
Simpson denies reportsof impending breakup
NEW YORK -- Jessica Simpson is denying rumors of any impending split with husband Nick Lachey -- again. After tabloids ran pictures of Lachey, 31, surrounded by cheerleaders at a Super Bowl party in Jacksonville, Fla., and reports of a dinner with ex-girlfriend Jordana Jarjura, Simpson says their difficulties have been greatly exaggerated. "I trust Nick totally, and he trusts me," Simpson told Us Weekly magazine in an issue hitting newsstands Friday. "We are committed to our relationship." Simpson says she was unaware of Lachey's meeting with Jarjura, and while it was "innocent," it was also a learning experience. "There are lessons to be learned," says Simpson. "Now Nick and I will tell each other about something like this ahead of time." The stars of MTV's "Newlyweds: Nick & amp; Jessica" have been beset by tabloid speculation on their marriage's imminent doom. But Simpson, 24, says that even when they are in different places, they are close. "He's always the last person I talk to before I go to sleep." "Newlyweds" recently returned for a third season.
Cross: single but not gay
NEW YORK -- Marcia Cross is making it clear that while she's no desperate housewife, she's not gay, either. The "Desperate Housewives" star said she wasn't a lesbian after "The View" co-host Barbara Walters questioned her Wednesday on rumors regarding her sexuality. "I'm not," said Cross. She wondered how the rumors had gotten started. "Well, it was very odd," said Cross. "And I, I just assumed this is what comes of being 42 and single. I don't know if they just needed to find a reason why I wasn't married." Cross' publicist had earlier released a statement denying the reports. The actress was filling in for "The View" co-host Meredith Vieira. Each day, a different star from "Desperate Housewives" has been a guest host on the ABC daytime talk show while it airs from Los Angeles.
CHICAGO -- Veteran rhythm-and-blues singer Tyrone Davis has died, four months after he suffered a stroke that left him in a coma, his business partner said. He was 66. Davis was hospitalized in September and was undergoing rehabilitation at a suburban Chicago nursing home when he died Wednesday, Leo Graham said.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jimmy Smith, an award-winning jazz organist who is considered a pioneer for transforming the organ into a jazz instrument, has died of natural causes. He was 79.
Author Sidney Sheldon is 88. Former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen is 84. Actor Leslie Nielsen is 79. Actor Conrad Janis is 77. Actress Tina Louise is 71. Actor Burt Reynolds is 69. Songwriter Gerry Goffin is 66. Singer Bobby "Boris" Pickett is 65. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 64. R & amp;B singer Otis Clay is 63. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Mike Leavitt is 54. Actor Philip Anglim is 52. Actress Catherine Hickland is 49. Actress Carey Lowell is 44. Singer Sheryl Crow is 43. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 36. Actor Damian Lewis is 34. Singer D'Angelo is 31. Actor Brice Beckham is 29.