Matt Lauer to Leave 'Today' Show at the End of 2012?

Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- One day after NBC was confronted with reports that Meredith Vieira will leave the Today show later this year, the network was forced Wednesday to address another rumor that her co-host, Matt Lauer, is also planning his departure from the morning program.

Entertainment Tonight is reporting that Lauer has told his bosses that he will say goodbye to the show when his contract expires on December 31, 2012.

A statement from the Today show to Entertainment Tonight downplays the report: "There seems to be an awful lot of speculation around news anchors these days, and it's not our practice to comment on any of it.  Matt Lauer has a long term contract with NBC News and Today."

Lauer became host of the Today show in 1997, replacing Bryant Gumbel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Susan Lucci: 'All My Children' Isn't Going Anywhere

Angela Weiss/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Susan Lucci wants you to ignore the chatter that All My Children will soon join the ranks of other canceled soap operas. 

The veteran star, better known for her work as Erica Kane on the ABC daytime drama, tells she thinks the show will continue, adding, "The rumors are not coming from ABC.  I just have been very enthusiastically told how much they love my story line that I just begun working on, and I just was given my schedule into next year." 

The 64-year-old star adds of the cancellation rumors, "It hurts me to hear those."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kate Winslet Nude 'Titanic' Sketch Sold to the Highest Bidder

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage(EL SEGUNDO, Calif.) -- With 14 Oscar nominations and 11 wins, James Cameron's Titanic, the highest-grossing film in history until Avatar came along in 2010, has made headlines again for a famous nude sketch of its star Kate Winslet.

The sketch sold last weekend for a reported price of at least $16,000 at Premiere Props' entertainment memorabilia auction. Although the highest bid was $16,000, the final selling price has not been released.

When contacted by ABC News about the sale, Premiere Props would not comment.

Martin Nolan, executive director of Julian's Auctions, another entertainment memorabilia auction house in Beverly Hills, Calif., said he's not surprised by the whopping amount of cash. "People will pay this kind of money for celebrities," he said. "It's about the love for the movie, the entertainment in saying you own this and for love of art itself."

And this sketch depicted a pivotal Titantic scene: Rose DeWitt Bukater, played by Winslet, asks lover Jack Dawson, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, to draw a portrait of her wearing a blue diamond necklace -- called the Heart of the Ocean -- and nothing else. Jack sketches while Rose lies nude on a couch inside her suite.

DiCaprio, however, despite his many talents, did not actually draw the portrait. Director James Cameron did, according to

Chris Petrikin of Fox Studios, which released Titanic in 1997, told ABC News the studio could not comment on the sketch or the sale until it first authenticated the work of art. An employee at Sotheby's New York, an international art auction house, however, said it was not customary to authenticate a piece after an item had been sold.

"It's the first thing we do," said the Sotheby's representative. "Depending on the item, we direct our clients to a correct specialist in that field, arrange a viewing, appraise it and after an evaluation see what sale it's suited for."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


FBI Releases Files in Notorious B.I.G. Murder

Chris Walter/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation released hundreds of pages of records from their investigation into the 1997 murder of Christopher Wallace, better known as the superstar rapper Notorious B.I.G.

The records, which are heavily redacted, were released to the FBI's Vault website under the Freedom of Information Act and provide few new details about the murder. The bureau's investigation was shut down in 2005; the murder remains unsolved.

Among the new tidbits was that Wallace, who was also known as Biggie Smalls, was killed by "very rare" Gecko 9mm armor piercing ammunition, which is seldom found in the U.S.

He was, according to the newly released documents, carrying with him a plastic baggie of marijuana, an asthma inhaler and three Magnum condoms at the time of his death. He had been wearing size 48 Karl Kani jeans, size 13 Timberlands and a size 54 Bernini sweater.

At the time of his murder, Wallace was one of the biggest stars in rap music -- a gifted storyteller with incredible flow and smart, if violent and often misogynistic, lyrics. There has been no shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of his death, which has served to turn him into a mythological figure in rap.

Wallace's killing came six months after the fatal shooting of rap's other, arguably more brilliant star, the Los Angeles-based Tupac Shakur. A search warrant, served after Wallace's murder, revealed "a shrine of TUPAC SHAKUR and numerous 9mm guns and ammunition, LAPD radios, scanners and other tactical items" in his garage, according to the FBI documents.

Shakur's murder, like Wallace's, has never been solved, and various theories have attempted to establish a connection between the two. Some blame the public rivalry between the East and West Coast rap scenes, specifically pointing to the bitter feuding between the two rappers and their record labels at the time: Marion "Suge" Knight's Death Row Records, based in Los Angeles, and New York-based Bad Boy Entertainment.

There are 359 pages of documents on the murder, and they begin with a description of the night itself:

"On March 9, 1997, CHRISTOPHER WALLACE, aka Notorious B.I.G., was murdered as he left the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles after attending a post Music Awards ceremony. WALLACE was in the middle of a 3-car caravan when a dark Chevy SS Impala pulled next to him and fired several times into the passenger area where WALLACE was sitting. WALLACE died minutes later at a local hospital."

Last April, a long-running federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles over Wallace's killing was dismissed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Angelina Jolie on Tunisian Mission; Inks Her Love for Brad

Jason Tanner/UNHCR via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Angelina Jolie's current role doesn't involve cameras and a script.  The Oscar-winning actress and United Nations goodwill ambassador jetted off to Tunisia on another mission Tuesday, this time to urge support for a growing refugee crisis in the African country that has been touched off by the conflict in Libya. More than 400,000 people have streamed into Tunisia from Libya since the fighting between Moammar Gadhafi's military and rebel forces began.

"The international community has done well to reinforce Tunisia's remarkable relief effort," Jolie said in a U.N. statement. "But with 2,000 people still crossing each day, we cannot let the funding dry up and need to sustain the momentum." The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees explained the Jolie-Pitt Foundation has financed the evacuation of 177 people and the purchase of an ambulance.

In Angelina Jolie news of less pressing nature, the actress has added a new tattoo to her collection. Jolie's left bicep contains a set of global navigational coordinates, all of which correspond to the birthplaces of her six children. She has added a seventh line, In Touch magazine reports: the longitude and latitude of Shawnee, Oklahoma, where Brad Pitt was born. The tattoo "signifies family unity," according to the magazine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Twenty-Five Historic Recordings Named by Library of Congress

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Library of Congress announced 25 significant American recordings Wednesday that will be preserved as part of the National Recording Registry. The list mixes music like "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," with the underwater recording of humpback whales that changed public opinion about the great creatures, and the first recording of contemporary stand-up comedy. 

"The salient question is not whether we should preserve these artifacts, but how best collectively to save this indispensable part of our history," said Librarian of Congress' James H. Billington.

Some of the recordings to be preserved sound like nothing more than scratches, but very important ones. "Phonautograms," recorded by Edourd-Leon Scott de Martinville between 1853 and 1861, are some of the first recorded sounds -- ever.

Scott de Martinville used a boar's-bristle stylus, vibrating in sympathy with a guitar and a human voice, to etch vibrations onto blackened glass plates. Later, he made recordings on paper wrapped around a drum, though he never intended to play them back. Not until 2008 were researchers from the first sound group able to play the recordings for the first time.

President Thomas Jefferson was instrumental in establishing the Library of Congress, the oldest federal cultural institution, and creating the post of Librarian of Congress in 1802. The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 gave the library the task of selecting 25 recordings every year that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." This year's selections bring the registry to 325 recordings.

The song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" has by now become synonymous with baseball, but did you know it is about a woman? It was composed in 1908. It was recorded by all three of the major record companies at the time -- Victor, Columbia and Edison, but few copies have survived. A recording made by Edward Meeker, an announcer for Edison at the time, has been found and will be on the national registry

Ever wonder what Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee were like in person? Interviews presented by Willis Conover in 1956 will help. Virtually unknown in the United States, Conover was a fixture on Voice of America for 40 years until his death in 1996, broadcasting jazz and interviews across the world, bypassing physical roadblocks with radio waves.

"Songs of a Humpback Whale," released in 1970, helped change people's perception of whales and transform their view of whaling. Using underwater microphones, Frank Watlington, a Bermudian, showed that not only could whales communicate; they could do so with beauty and complexity.

The classic hip-hop album 3 Feet High and Rising by the group De La Soul was also chosen for preservation. The group, attempting to buck the increasing turn toward stark urban naturalism, released this album in 1989 to widespread acclaim for their upbeat and often humorous album. The artists gathered a wide range of music to create their beats, drawing from Otis Redding, Steely Dan, Johnny Cash and Billy Joel. Even Liberace makes an appearance.

These are just a few of the classic and important recordings chosen from the scope of American recording to be preserved for as long as the Library of Congress remains in operation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Glenn Beck Ending Fox News Channel Show

Michael Caulfield/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Glenn Beck will end his daily show on Fox News Channel by the end of the year, according to a statement released by Fox News and Beck's production company.

The exact end date for Glenn Beck, the third highest rated program on cable news, was not released. Fox News and Beck's production company, Mercury Radio Arts, said that they will continue to collaborate on television projects.

"Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody's standards," said Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News.

Beck's contract is set to expire in December, the New York Times reported.

"I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News...I look forward to starting this new phase of our partnership," Beck, 47, said in the statement.

Beck's popular show, launched in January 2009, has become a rallying ground for conservative Republicans and drawn the ire of liberals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pregnant Mariah Carey Bares Baby Belly

Kevin Mazur/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Now that her bump is out of the bag, Mariah Carey is no longer shy about baring her baby -- make that babies -- belly.

Days after tweeting a picture of her twin-size belly painted like a giant Easter egg with a red and blue butterfly, Carey struck a Demi Moore-like pose on the cover of Life & Style's latest issue.

"I was feeling very vulnerable about taking pictures at all right now, but then I didn't want to miss this opportunity to document this once-in-a-lifetime experience," Carey told the magazine. "My ultimate goal was to share this incredibly personal moment with my true fans."

Carey is weeks away from giving birth to twins -- a boy and a girl -- with her husband, Nick Cannon. But already the girl is showing signs of being her mother's daughter.

"The babies were kicking almost the entire time; it was unbelievable," Carey said. "Especially the girl -- clearly she's a diva in training! We didn't start shooting until 1:30 a.m. because I was in the hospital from the night before until the day of the shoot with contractions five minutes apart!"

Carey is referring to her scare on March 27, her 42nd birthday, when she was rushed to the hospital after having premature contractions.

She later tweeted that mom and babies were doing fine: "They almost came on 3/27- happy anniversary indeed!!! We have a few more weeks 2 go but- wow!!! : ) #soreadyallready!"

A day later, she posted the photo of her painted belly with a butterfly and the words "dem babies" painted on it.

Carey told Life & Style that her pregnancy has changed her view of motherhood.

"Now I have so much respect for mothers everywhere, especially those who've had difficult pregnancies or given birth to multiples," she said. "We need to have Mother's Day once a week!"

In the past, pregnant Carey has lamented about her swollen fingers, super-sensitive nose and unparalleled taste buds.

The pop diva joins a parade of other stars, including Christina Aguilera and Claudia Schiffer, who have bared their pregnant bellies for a magazine cover. Actress Demi Moore was the first to set the trend, on the August 1991 cover of Vanity Fair. At the time, the star of Ghost was pregnant with daughter Scout, now 19.

Cindy Crawford followed on the June 1999 cover of W magazine with a caption that said "Move over, Demi." She was expecting son Presley Walker, now 11.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ashley Judd Puts 'Shame' of Sex Abuse Back on Perpetrator

Mike Coppola/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ashley Judd told the women on The View Wednesday about the shame she experienced after being sexually abused by several men in her life, including a family member. 

"Sexual assault is common in this country -- every two seconds," said the actress, daughter of country singer Naomi Judd and sister of country singer Wynonna Judd.

"I know the shame," she said. "We keep it to ourselves in a secretive thing and we all need the courage to undo it. That's one of the things I learned in recovery."

She said the media was responsible for stereotypes about sexual abuse victims and "shaming women," referring to a recent case in Texas. "There's no such thing as consent for a child," she said.

"The perpetrators are shameless," said Judd, whose memoir, All That Is Bitter and Sweet, reveals that she was the victim of incest and abuse. In the book, she also writes about growing up in a dysfunctional family and her history of depression. She stepped away from Hollywood in 2004 to deal with her demons.

Judd said her mother had read parts of her book and her father had been "supportive" in helping her piece together the family biography.

She said she had never told her mother about the abuse.

"Things happened to me as a kid about which I never spoke," she said, referring to the man who had molested her.

Her survival strategies were focusing on her academic work. But in adulthood, those failed her, said Judd.

Today, she said she has a new attitude and doesn't blame her family.

"If I let myself, I could get a pretty robust resentment going," she said. 'By the grace of god, things work better today."

Judd made the audience laugh when asked if she could sing. "I can sing," she said. "But other things I do pretty damn well."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reports: Meredith Vieira Set to Leave 'Today' Show

Jason Kempin/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The latest scuttlebutt has it all but certain that Katie Couric will leave her job as CBS Evening News anchorwoman later this year.  Will her Today show successor, Meredith Vieira, follow suit and walk away from her own high-profile network gig?

The Hollywood Reporter and TV Guide are both reporting that Vieira is strongly considering leaving the Today show when her contract expires in September.

The Hollywood Reporter's source says, "There is going to be an opening; she's done."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Vieira wants to spend more time with her husband, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.  A TV Guide insider says NBC is "doing everything they can to convince" Vieira to remain with its popular morning news program.

The network issued the following statement to the magazine: "The Today show anchors are currently under contract and firmly in place."

Both publications speculate that Today show newsreader Ann Curry would be a likely candidate for Vieira's job, should it become available.  The Hollywood Reporter says other options include Today show correspondent Natalie Morales, NBC News' Savannah Guthrie, and CNBC's Erin Burnett.

The newswoman Vieira replaced on the Today show in 2006, Katie Couric, reportedly is expected to leave the CBS Evening News when her contract expires in June.  According to, CBS will name 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley as her replacement, though says a decision has not been made.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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