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Sideshow: Prof: Franco deserved a 'D'

Former New York University film studies professor José Angel Santana is suing the school, claiming they fired him because he gave a D to star student James Franco in his "Directing the Actor" class.

Former New York University film studies professor José Angel Santana is suing the school, claiming they fired him because he gave a D to star student James Franco in his "Directing the Actor" class.

Santana claims Franco deserved the grade because he missed 12 of 14 classes this semester. (Franco has also been busy this year earning a Ph.D., hosting the Oscars, starring in 900 new films, writing a dozen new novels.)

Santana says other NYU profs have become Franco's lapdogs, in return for hoped-for rewards. (Franco hired one prof, Jay Anania, to write the movie Shadows & Lies.)

"The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment," Santana tells the New York Post. "They've turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco's purposes . . . a possession, something you can buy."

An NYU rep tells TMZ the school has yet to review the suit, adding that Santana's claims are "ridiculous."

Lindsay Lohan's Playboy triumph!

Disgraced one-time teen movie star Lindsay Lohan's decision to pose nude (for a reported $1 mil) in Playboy is an all-round success! Sure, people continue to deride LiLo. Yes, like 90 percent of LiLo's other photo shoots, it ripped off classic Marilyn Monroe pictorials. Yes, it was roundly panned by critics as boring, unimaginative, unerotic and lame. And yes, the whole idea - that such a vibrant young actor would be reduced to selling herself to a glossy rag - is distasteful.

But no matter! The issue is selling well, says Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. "The Lindsay Lohan January-February Double Issue is breaking sales records," the octogenarian lady-killer tweets. Observers contest the claim, counterclaiming (with no statistics) that sales are miserable.

Chaz Bono calls off engagement

Chaz Bono, 42, whose advocacy for gay and transgendered issues found a platform recently on Dancing With the Stars, has broken up with fiancee Jennifer Elia.

Bono's rep, Howard Bragman, tells TMZ that the couple, who have been together since 1999, "leave this relationship with great love, respect and affection toward one another. No further amplification will be forthcoming, and they ask that you respect their privacy at this time." Bono, who was born a girl, Chastity Sun Bono, is the only child of Sonny and Cher. His proposal to Elia was especially heartfelt because it happened on TV, on the show Being Chaz.

Top celeb items on auction

Website, which specializes in setting up celebrity-themed charities for various causes, this year raised more than $25 mil, says. Which items earned the most cash? The No. 1 item, spend a day following President Clinton, went for $255,000. Meet Oprah Winfrey backstage at the last taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show is at No. 2, fetching $105,000. Third was the awesome Oscar package including an invitation to Elton John's AIDS Foundation Dinner and the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. It sold for $100,000.

The young 'n' well rested

Donald Glover is the hottest young actor and writer there is. Who?

Glover is featured in Forbes' "30 Under 30," a series of lists of the 30 best up-and-coming young go-getters in 12 categories, including energy, art & design, science, entertainment, and music.

Glover, 28, who wrote for The Daily Show and starred as Troy Barnes on the sitcom Community, is singled out in the entertainment list. He also records music as Childish Gambino.

Other entertainers include comic Jonah Hill (Moneyball), screenwriter John Landis son Max Landis (Chronicle), and The Descendants thesp Shailene Woodley.

Musical wunderkind Mac Miller, all of 19, receives much hype on the music list. Others include Adele, Drake, Lady Gaga, and some teen I've never heard of named Justin Bieber. More names at

The most hated couple in America!

Boy, Kim Kardashian sure knows how to pick 'em. The two-time divorcee has barely had time to recover from the Kris Humphries seven-minute marriage disaster and she's already entering another potential mess.

Kim reportedly is getting very cozy with one of the most remarkably well-developed egos in the world, R&B and rap star Kanye West. (They canoodled at a bash after a Jay-Z concert last week.) Seems Kim's ma, Kris Jenner, really wants them to date.

If they do become serious, they'll also become The Most Hated Couple in America, says Steven Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations, which has analyzed the two celebs' likability scores.

Both stars have image problems. Put 'em together, and they'll be a train wreck.

"When you put the two of them together, they will be a turn-off to the majority of the audience," Levitt tells

How hated would they be?

Levitt says there's just one way things could get worse: "Only if you threw Lindsay Lohan into the mix."

Today in EntBiz news

A trailer has been released for the third and last Christopher Nolan-helmed, Christian Bale-starring Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. It's epochal.

Sacha Baron Cohen has released the trailer of his new comedy, The Dictator, which is due in May. Cohen, who played a rather fey fashion dude in Brüno, goes real butch as a Middle East dictator in the Charlie Chaplin-inspired pic. The story is loosely based on Zabibah and the King, a novel allegedly written by Saddam Hussein.

Adorable . . . but clutzy

"im in sooooooo much pain i can't sleep it's bloody excruciating!" So tweets Kelly Osbourne about a nasty accident: She fell out of bed and broke her hand. This, barely a month after she cracked her head open at a dance club.

A true prince, that Prince Harry

On Nov. 30, one Thomas van Straubenzee was mugged on a south London street while he was chatting with a friend on his mobile. But it wasn't just any friend: Thomas was talking to Prince Harry, who was safely tucked up at home at Clarence House. Harry did what any prince would do: London's Daily Mail says the prince jumped in his car and raced across London to save his friend. Prince Harry didn't apprehend the vile crook. He did give cops a statement since he was an aural witness.