George Saunders turns viral grad speech into book

NEW YORK (AP) — Best-selling author George Saunders is turning his graduation speech that went viral into a book. “Congratulations, by the Way,” an expanded version of his commencement speech to the Syracuse University class of 2013, is…

Dan Lauria to rejoin ‘A Christmas Story’ musical

NEW YORK (AP) — Dan Lauria will once again lead the cast of the Tony Award-nominated musical based on the film “A Christmas Story” when it tours the Northeast this winter. Producers on Wednesday announced that “The Wonder…

Allegretti, ‘Captain Kangaroo’ character, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Cosmo Allegretti, who created and voiced puppet characters like Grandfather Clock and Dancing Bear on the children’s television show “Captain Kangaroo,” has died. He was 86. Allegretti, who had homes in Hampton Bays, N.Y.,…

Discovery hammered for shark special

NEW YORK (AP) — A Discovery network special that speculated about whether a giant prehistoric shark could still exist has drawn a passionate response from viewers and starkly raised the question about the worth of big ratings. The…

Lynde, creator of ‘Rick O’Shay’ comic strip, dies

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Western cartoonist and author Stan Lynde, creator of the nationally syndicated “Rick O’Shay” comic strip, died of cancer in Montana. He was 81. His “Rick O’Shay” comic strip began in 1958 and ran for…

Radical theater in Belarus performs under pressure

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Two emotions course through spectators at the Belarus Free Theater — excitement at watching avant-garde drama and fear that police will haul them away. The theater, in a cramped and run-down house, is a…

PBS to air P.D. James’ ‘Pride & Prejudice’ sequel

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The “Pride and Prejudice” sequel “Death Comes to Pemberley” is coming to PBS. The public TV service announced Tuesday that it will air a three-part adaptation of the 2011 novel by acclaimed mystery…

Lady Mary copes with grief, suitors in ‘Downton’

BEVERLY HILLS, California (AP) — Lady Mary will be mired in grief as season four of “Downton Abbey” begins, mourning the loss of her husband, Matthew. But a string of suitors awaits when she’s ready to live again,…

‘Downton’ actress notes a UK George trend

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Michelle Dockery warns against jumping to conclusions about how her character’s baby on “Downton Abbey” and the British royal infant ended up with the same name. George proved the name of choice for…

Billie Jean King talks life ahead of PBS profile

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Billie Jean King says she couldn’t have revealed herself as being gay in the 1970s because it would have damaged the fledgling women’s professional tennis tour. King became the first prominent female athlete…

Discovery hammered for shark special

NEW YORK (AP) — A Discovery network special that speculated about whether a giant prehistoric shark could still exist has drawn a passionate response from viewers and starkly raised the question about the worth of big ratings. The…

Lawyer details interactions with Jackson’s doctor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney who drafted the agreement for Michael Jackson’s doctor to work on his ill-fated comeback concerts says she told a tour promoter executive that the physician appeared to be successful. Kathy Jorrie is…

Obama ‘disappointed’ in Russia’s Snowden decision

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he was “disappointed” that Russia granted temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, defying Obama administration demands that the former government contractor be sent back to…

Obama: Terror threat requires ‘every precaution’

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama says the threat of an imminent terrorist attack against Americans is, in his words, “significant enough that we’re taking every precaution.” In his first comments on the latest security threat from…

Review: A summer vacation charade in ‘The Millers’

“We’re the Millers” is an identity comedy with identity issues. Jason Sudeikis plays a pot dealer who, as a disguise for smuggling a huge shipment of weed, forms a fake family to drive an RV across the Mexico…

Michael Apted calls his ’56 Up’ an upbeat film

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Filmmaker Michael Apted has learned to start with what he calls a blank slate when making his “Up” documentaries. Since 1964, when he began with a group of British 7-year-olds, Apted has revisited…

Rep: Dustin Hoffman ‘surgically cured’ of cancer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dustin Hoffman is doing well after being successfully treated for cancer. A spokeswoman for the 75-year-old actor-director confirmed a People.com report Tuesday that says Hoffman is “feeling great and in good health” after undergoing…

De Niro, Streep to reunite for ‘The Good House’

NEW YORK (AP) — More than a dozen years after their last film together, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep will reunite on screen for an adaption of Ann Leary’s darkly comic small town New England tale, “The…

Black Keys guitarist accused of abuse by wife

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — The estranged wife of Black Keys singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach accuses him of abuse in divorce filings dealing with the custody of their child. Stephanie Ann Gonis Auerbach alleges that the unspecified abuse culminated in…

PBS doc looks at Journey’s lead singer search

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The resurgence of Journey through the band’s discovery of a new lead singer via the Internet gets a close-up look on a new PBS documentary. “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” airs on Sept.…