NEWSMAKERS


NEWSMAKERS

QB’s girlfriend is in spotlight after game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.

Alabama’s routing of Notre Dame for its second- straight national championship has been overshadowed in part by a new breakout star — Katherine Webb, girlfriend of quarterback AJ McCarron and Miss Alabama USA 2012.

Webb gained tens of thousands of Twitter followers during and after Monday night’s game, when ESPN cameras visited and revisited Webb in the stands and announcer Brent Musburger piled on the compliments. As of noon Tuesday, she had topped 143,000 followers, trumping McCarron’s 101,000. Before the game, Webb — who graduated with a business degree from longtime Alabama rival Auburn University in 2011, according to her pageant biography — had only a few hundred.

“Wow, I’m telling you quarterbacks: You get all the good-looking women,” Musburger said as the camera focused on Webb, sitting with McCarron’s mother. “What a beautiful woman. Wow!”

Some found the remarks from Musburger, 73, out of line. On Tuesday, ESPN released this statement: “We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far, and Brent understands that.”

No foul play in death of ‘Snakes’ writer

JOHANNESBURG

David R. Ellis, the director of “Snakes on a Plane,” the 2006 movie starring Samuel L. Jackson that veered between humor and horror and became an Internet sensation even before its release, was once asked if he had any practical advice for someone stuck on a plane full of snakes.

“Get off,” Ellis said.

The 60-year-old, a chameleon of the entertainment industry who worked as an actor and stuntman earlier in his career, was found dead in the bathroom of his hotel room in the upscale neighborhood of Sandton in Johannesburg.

Police said Tuesday that the hotel manager discovered Ellis’ body around 1 p.m. Monday. Ellis, 60, was last seen Saturday in a restaurant by a friend, reported the South African Press Association.

“Nothing was found to be missing from his room, and no foul play is being suspected at this stage,” said Lt. Col. Lungelo Dlamini, a police spokesman, told the news agency.

Luke Bryan to join Shelton at ACMs

NASHVILLE, Tenn.

Luke Bryan is joining Blake Shelton to co-host the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards.

The Academy also says in a Tuesday news release that this year’s show will be April 7, and Brad Paisley will host the ACM Fan Jam, a satellite event that takes place simultaneously with the awards show.

Bryan replaces Reba McEntire. She served as host for more than a decade before stepping aside to concentrate on her new sitcom “Malibu Country.”

Shelton is also a star on “The Voice” and began sharing hosting duties with McEntire two years ago. This will be Bryan’s first gig hosting a live event.

The 48th annual ACM Awards will be broadcast live on CBS from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Super Bowls ads sell for more than $4M

NEW YORK

Super Bowl ads have sold for more than $4 million for some 30-second spots for this year’s game.

CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves said Tuesday that all the commercials for the NFL championship Feb. 3 in New Orleans were sold out.

Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot last year. TV’s biggest event averaged more than 111 million viewers in 2012.

For CBS, the entire company is taking part in promoting the Super Bowl. The network’s telecasts will be headquartered in New Orleans’ Jackson Square.

The sets will be used by 15 different shows from nine CBS divisions, from the main network to cable channels to online to radio.

Vindicator wire reports

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