The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley will perform at PNC Park for the Pittsburgh Pirates opening day on Monday. He will play the National Anthem and "God Bless America" on the violin before the game between the Pirates and the Chicago Cubs.
While the news is still playing out on the future of NBC's "Tonight Show," with Jimmy Fallon set to succeed Jay Leno, now comes the revelation that the network's half-a-billion-dollar-a-year morning franchise, the "Today" show, nearly lost its No. 1 star: Matt Lauer, People reports.
Although the show is going through a turbulent period in the aftermath of Ann Curry's departure and its ratings slip to ABC rival "Good Morning America," Lauer, 55, was set to jump ship to ABC last year, when reports surfaced that Ryan Seacrest was possibly going to replace him on "Today," reports New York magazine, in the issue that hit newsstands Monday.
"Lauer learned of the leak [about Seacrest] while being forced to stand outside the security gate at the White House Christmas party because Ann Curry had forgotten her driver's license," writes journalist Joe Hagen.
According to the article, Lauer and ABC discussed Lauer's reuniting with his former "Today" cohost Katie Couric, this time with the two on a daytime talk show. Bob Iger, chief of Disney (ABC's parent company), was reportedly in on the talks -- and wanted Lauer at ABC, in large part to topple "Today" from its long-running ratings perch.
The ABC offer turned into a negotiating tactic for Lauer, who signed a new NBC contract for a reported $25 million to work four days a week. (Seacrest joined "Today" in a different onscreen capacity.)
The following week, the Hollywood Reporter labeled Lauer "The Most Powerful Face in News." When he saw the headline, reports New York, Lauer prophetically told the Reporter story's author, "You just hung a huge target on my back."
Since then, fairly or not, Lauer has been blamed for Ann Curry's departure, earning him strong viewer disfavor. And though "Today" is still trailing "GMA" in the ratings, the NBC morning cast -- Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales -- are still putting on a united front, reports New York.
This was one "Amazing Race" folks wish they could've done differently.
The people behind CBS's popular reality competition series have issued an apology after an outcry from veterans groups offended that last week's episode set in Hanoi, Vietnam, featured a war memorial of a downed U.S. bomber.
"Parts of last Sunday's episode, filmed in Vietnam, were insensitive to a group that is very important to us -- our nation's veterans," "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan read in a statement at the start of Sunday night's edition.
He continued: "We want to apologize to veterans, particularly those who served in Vietnam, as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast. All of us here have the most profound respect for the men and women who fight for our country."
The outcry was prompted by a mission the show's contestants were sent on that saw them visit the memorial to discover their next clue. The Veterans of Foreign Wars took issue with the location -- as did several Fox News pundits -- believing it dishonored the soldiers who gave their lives for the country during the Vietnam War.
"The B-52 scene, as well as the young people singing a propaganda song, was totally unnecessary to the show's plot, which speaks volumes about naive producers who think they're in charge when they are not," VFW national commander John Hamilton said in a letter earlier this week to network honcho Leslie Moonves obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
After hearing "Amazing Race" producers express their regret, Hamilton and company offered their appreciation.
"On behalf of the 2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and our Auxiliaries, thank you for the apology to America's Vietnam Veterans and their families," Hamilton wrote in a response posted online Monday.
Somebody got an earful.
A 32-year-old man has been charged with partially biting off the ear of "Game of Thrones" actor Clive Mantle, E! News reports.
The alleged attack occurred at a Travelodge in Newcastle, England, during a dispute over noise, BBC News reports.
Mantle, who plays Greatjon Umber on the hit HBO series (on which his character, incidentally, had two of his fingers bitten off by direwolf Grey Wind), was subsequently taken to the hospital, where doctors managed to reattach the chewed-off portion of his injured right ear.
A rep for the 55-year-old actor told the BBC he believed Mantle was attacked after asking other guests at the hotel to keep the noise level down.
Mantle's other credits include the BBC programs "Casualty" and "White Van Man."
nAmerica, he's coming back!
Starting May 9, Prince Harry will make an extensive tour through Colorado, Washington, D.C., New York and an area in New Jersey badly hit by Superstorm Sandy -- and end with a May 15 polo match in Greenwich, Conn., to aid his charity Sentebale, People reports.
In between, Harry, 28, will crisscross the country on behalf of his charities and the foundation he runs with his brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate. He will also highlight the sacrifice of servicemen and women and the efforts to rehabilitate the injured.
In Colorado Springs, he will attend the Warrior Games between wounded servicemen and women. "He is a soldiers' soldier and will bring a spotlight on what's being done to help these outstanding men and women," his private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, said at a Palace briefing Monday.
In Manhattan, Harry will promote the U.K. at a cultural and business event before serving as guest of honor at a glamorous party to benefit the Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Just don't expect the Duke and Duchess at the event. Palace source said the couple have put all official travel abroad on hold while they focus on their baby.
It's full-speed ahead for Jesse James and Alexis DeJoria, who tied the knot on Sunday in Malibu, People reports.
With James' youngest daughter, Sunny, 9, and DeJoria's daughter Bella, 10, acting as flower girls, the custom motorcycle-builder, 43, exchanged vows with DeJoria, a pro-drag racer and daughter to entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria.
The couple, who got engaged late last year, married at the Malibu home of DeJoria's father, co-founder of the Paul Mitchell hair care products line and Patron Spirits Company. They exchanged rings designed by jewelry designer Neil Lane.
James recently relaunched WestCoastChoppers.com, opening a WCC custom motorcycle shop in Austin, Texas, where he lives with DeJoria, who drives Patron Nitro Funny car on the drag race circuit.
This is a fourth marriage for James, who got divorced from Sandra Bullock in June 2010. In September 2011, James broke off his engagement to Kat Von D.
Angelina Jolie is meeting with women and girls in eastern Congo, where sexual violence is rampant, The Associated Press reports..
Jolie, a special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency, traveled to the Nzulo camp near Goma on Monday along with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The International Rescue Committee says it has provided care to more than 2,500 women and girls who have been raped or abused over the last year alone. The IRC is handing out kits with flashlights and whistles, as well as cleaning products so that women can avoid bathing at creeks where the risk of assault is higher.
Sexual violence is frequently used as a weapon of war by rebel groups that operate in eastern Congo, as well as by Congolese soldiers.