Don Hewitt, creator of "60 Minutes" and Cronkite's former executive producer, says that the talk queen is this generation's answer to the venerated CBS News anchor. "I don't think there's anyone on television today who demands more respect than Oprah," says Hewitt, in an interview with the Cornell University Daily Sun (via the New York Post). "Oprah is to television what Walter Cronkite was at one time." Though Hewitt thinks that there's a slightly different explanation -- other than pure journalistic quality -- for Oprah's pre-eminence: "There is no broadcast that anyone wants to be on more to publicize anything than Oprah."
"Runway" Bad Boy Wins Big Prize
Jeffrey Sebelia, the one contestant everyone reviled, took his place in the pantheon of reality-show villain-winners when he was crowned the winner of Bravo's hit series "Project Runway" last night. "I'm shocked," said Sebelia after his triumph. "My brain is trying to figure out exactly what's happening." Sebelia's designs beat out fellow finalists Uli Herzner, Laura Bennett, and fan fave Michael Knight in the final episode of the third "Runway." Sebelia will get $100,000 in seed money to start his own line as well as a mentorship. Entertainment Weekly's Mark Harris described Sebelia's often-controversial designs as "fascinating and hideous, provocative and repellent, fashion-forward and taste-backward."
Yoko Ono Sues for $10 Million of Lennon Royalties
Yoko Ono sued the music company EMI Group PLC and Capitol Records for $10 million on Wednesday, claiming that she'd been cheated out of royalties from the sale of her late husband John Lennon's records. The suit accuses the record labels of violating agreements by "willfully and knowingly underreporting royalties" by hiding the "true use and disposition of Lennon's recordings." In more legalese, Ono accused the companies of "intentionally and systematically rendering dishonest and grossly deficient accounting statements." Her lawyer did not comment, while an EMI/Capitol rep said that "sometimes there are differences of opinion" when it comes to royalties, and that "99 times out of 100 these things are resolved in an amicable way."
Jaime Pressly Gets Engaged
"My Name Is Earl" star Jaime Pressly got engaged over the weekend to DJ Eric Cubiche, whom she's been dating for a year, reports "EXTRA." But even though the pair did their thing over the weekend, Pressly just got the ring yesterday, a sparkler that a "friend" deems "gorgeous." As it happens, Pressly will be presenting her Spring/Summer fashion collection J'aime by Jaime Pressly tomorrow at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. "Eric has been my best friend for 9 years," said Pressly recently.
Party Favors: Sharon Osbourne Removes Gastric Band ... CBS' "Waterfront" Gets Canned Before It Begins ... Freston Gets $72 Million Golden Parachute
Sharon Osbourne, who has battled weight issues for years, will be undoing a gastric band that has limited her stomach's capacity and will be relying upon "her head" to keep the pounds off from now on, she tells People ... The expensive CBS drama "Waterfront," based loosely on the story of infamous Providence mayor Buddy Cianci, is getting the axe from CBS even before it airs. The Los Angeles Times' Scott Collins reports that CBS chief entertainment chief Nina Tassler didn't like the show's "creative direction" and decided to pull the plug even though five episodes have already been produced ... Ousted MTV chief Tom Freston might be much lamented at Viacom, but he's sitting pretty: Variety reports that he will receive a severance package of just over $72 million, plus a three-year "adviser" role that pays $1 million per year. Freston was fired by Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone and replaced by Redstone confidant Phillipe Dauman.
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