Seth Meyers named Jimmy Fallon's heir
Move solidifies Lorne Michaels as NBC's king of comedy. Also in Tattle, Chris Brown has neighbor trouble, "Arab Idol" gets political.
L ORNE MICHAELS' position as the godfather of NBC comedy was solidified yesterday when the network announced that Seth Meyers will move from his job as "Saturday Night Live" head writer and host of "Weekend Update" to replace Jimmy Fallon when Fallon replaces Jay Leno.
With this move, Michaels will be the executive in charge of "Late Night," "Tonight" and "Saturday Night Live," which will all originate from New York's Rockefeller Center.
Meyers, 39, has been the head writer at "SNL" for eight seasons. He's in his seventh year as "Weekend Update" host. And like Fallon before him, Meyers is making the move from "Weekend Update" to "Late Night."
"We think Seth is one of the brightest, most insightful comedy writers and performers of his generation," said Bob Greenblatt, NBC entertainment chairman. His topical comedy is "perfect for the 'Late Night' franchise," he said.
"I only have to work for Lorne for five more years before I pay him back for the time I totaled his car," Meyers quipped. "12:30 on NBC has long been incredible real estate. I hope I can do it justice."
Brown art, blue neighbors
Chris Brown's neighbors are unhappy with what some are calling frightening art that he's chosen to have painted along the curb of his Hollywood Hills home.
A neighborhood group said that the sharp-toothed, red-eyed goblins painted along a retaining wall have been scaring children, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"There are lots of babies, lots of children, and they're literally frightened. It's like devils on the wall - big, scary eyes and big, scary teeth, and just the whole vibe is not what we're used to," Patti Negri, president of the Hollywood Dell Civic Association, told the newspaper.
L.A. city-code officials responded to complaints about the monster art and fined Brown $376 for unpermitted and excessive signage.
Brown has been ordered to remove the goblin paintings within 30 days, but his attorney, Mark Geragos, said that Brown is not backing down.
"They are trying to suspend the First Amendment," Geragos said.
Really? We're making scary goblins a First Amendment issue?
Geragos alleges that neighbors are harassing Brown and have also made parking complaints about him and called animal control.
In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Negri said that all she wants is for Brown to "tone it down and be a better neighbor."
Syria's singing contest
If you think the contestants on America's many TV karaoke contests have had tough backstories, two contestants on this season's "Arab Idol" are from civil-war-ravaged Syria, including a singer-composer whose bus was ambushed by gunmen en route to her audition and a music student who brought judges to tears with a song lamenting the devastation of his hometown of Aleppo.
"The show has become a platform for Arab Spring youth to express themselves artistically and show the region that there's hope for the future," said Mazen Hayek, the spokesman for the Dubai-based, Saudi-owned MBC Group that broadcasts "Arab Idol" from a studio in Beirut.
The show's producers say that political expression is allowed. But in a region where tribal, religious and political affiliations often define identity, performers walk a fine line - especially in a contest where winning is based on popularity.
The two Syrians are not the only contestants who bring regional politics to the show.
In an early episode, Iraqi contestant Barwas Hussein, from the autonomous Kurdish region in the north of the country, stirred emotions after listing her country of origin as "Kurdistan."
One of the judges admonished her, noting that the panel and the audience consider Kurdish provinces of Iraq as an integral part of the country. After that, Hussein listed her country as Kurdistan, Iraq, and performed in Arabic, instead of Kurdish.
And Mohammed Assaf, a Palestinian singer from the Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas, was a favorite from the start because of the obstacles he had to overcome to reach Beirut.
Assaf first had to plead with Hamas to let him leave. He then had to bribe Egyptian border guards to let him cross into Egypt, and from there he applied for his Lebanon visa, he said. A fellow Palestinian eventually gave up his slot for Assaf during the audition phase because he believed that Assaf - already a minor celebrity in Gaza as a wedding singer - had a better chance of winning.
* Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" has returned to theaters in China a month after it was pulled on opening day for unspecified "technical reasons."
The rare suspension order on April 11 by the movie's importer, China Film Group, led to speculation that the Hollywood film had run afoul of Chinese censors despite weeks of promotion.
A manager at a UME Cineplex in Beijing said yesterday that the new version was one minute shorter than the previous one.
* Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says that the company has reached a deal with British Treasury chief George Osborne to make "Star Wars: Episode VII" in the U.K.
Parts of all six previous movies were made in Britain.
Osborne said that the announcement was "great news for fans and our creative industries."
* Adult Swim is turning Mike Tyson into a cartoon detective.
The network has announced a new animated series called "Mike Tyson Mysteries" that will feature the retired boxing champ.
On the show, a cartoon Tyson will solve wacky problems, assisted by a foul-mouthed pet pigeon. Tyson will voice the character.
One of his numerous pet pigeons will voice the pigeon.
- Daily News wire services
contributed to this report.