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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Big Bang Theory does Star Wars

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 09:50 PM PDT

The popular sitcom is set to show a special Star Wars-themed episode next month.

May 1 will see Sheldon, Raj, Howard, Leonard and friends get together to celebrate Star Wars Day in a special episode called The Proton Transmogrification.

American comedian Bob Newhart returns for a third cameo after appearing in two other protonically titled episodes last year.

The official crossover means that Lucasfilm and CBS cooperated to create a set based on Dagobah, Yoda's swampy residence, with effects house Industrial Light & Magic along for the ride, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Leonard (left, played by Johnny Galecki) showing off his lightsaber to Sheldon (Jim Parsons) in an episode of Big Bang Theory

Newhart, who has accumulated a collection of awards that includes three Grammys, a Primetime Emmy and a Peabody Award, is to appear as a mystery character from the Star Wars universe, as Jedi master to introverted genius Sheldon.

Insider talk is that a Star Wars VII announcement is also being prepped for Star Wars Day itself, May 4. — AFP Relaxnews

Sheldon as a redhead-ed C-3P0.

David Letterman to say goodbye in 2015

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 09:50 PM PDT

The legendary host of Late Show With David Letterman is retiring to spend more time with his family.

Comedian David Letterman, who brought a sardonic, offbeat wit to late-night television, along with bits such as Stupid Pet Tricks and his Top Ten list, will retire as host of Late Show on CBS in 2015, he said during the taping of his show in New York.

Letterman, whose contract expires next year, began hosting the CBS show in August 1993, after leaving the rival NBC network, where he originated his late-night TV persona and much of his programme on the Late Night With David Letterman show for many years.

There was no immediate word on who might succeed Letterman – who turns 67 on April 12 –
 in the key 11.30pm slot (US time) on CBS, opposite NBC's top-rated The Tonight Show. The Emmy-winning host said he had spoken in the past with CBS Corp president and chief executive officer Leslie Moonves, "and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance.

"And I phoned him just before the programme, and I said, 'Leslie, it's been great, you've been great, and the network has been great, but I'm retiring'," Letterman told his studio audience, according to a CBS transcript.

"We don't have the timetable for this precisely down – I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not-too-distant future, 2015 for the love of God," he added.

CBS said Letterman's announcement elicited a standing ovation from the audience in the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

The First Lady Of the United States Michelle Obama was one of David Letterman's many famous guests.

Letterman's impending departure from CBS marks the latest in a recent rearrangement of the late-night deck chairs at the major networks.

News of Letterman's plans to retire came nearly two months after Jay Leno bid farewell as host of NBC's The Tonight Show, a job Leno assumed in 1992 in a bitter and highly publicised succession of Johnny Carson that led to Letterman's defection from NBC.

Leno was replaced by Jimmy Fallon, who had hosted the show that airs after The Tonight Show, and Fallon in turn was succeeded by comedian Seth Meyers, who like Fallon is an alumnus of Saturday Night Live. Letterman, a late-night fixture for three decades, had jumped ahead of The Tonight Show in the ratings as recently as 2010, when Tonight was briefly hosted by Conan O'Brien.

Rivalry and innovation

Fallon's show averaged 5.1 million viewers a week, compared with 2.9 million for Letterman, according to Nielsen. Although Late Show trailed Tonight in the ratings war, Letterman long reigned as the critics' favourite, known for an edgier, irreverent brand of humour and signature bits like Stupid Pet Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks (video) and the nightly Top-10 list poking fun at current events and pop culture.

He also was a practitioner of such innovations as the Monkey Cam, in which a TV camera was strapped to a monkey turned loose in the studio; a bit where he dropped objects such as melons and television sets off a high platform and played the results back in slow motion; and stunts such as throwing himself onto a Velcro-covered wall or dunking himself in a pool dressed in a suit covered in Alka-Seltzer tablets.

But his show had its more sober moments as well. Veteran CBS newsman Dan Rather famously showed the strain of reporting on the suicide hijacking attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center when he choked back tears during a guest appearance for Letterman's first broadcast after the Sept 11, 2001 disaster.

Moonves said in a statement that Letterman "managed to keep many celebrities, politicians and executives on their toes – including me."

The Indianapolis native began his CBS career after 11 years as host of NBC's Late Night programme in the time slot immediately following The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson at 12.30am, and was long considered Carson's likely successor.

But when Carson retired in 1992 after nearly 30 years of hosting Tonight, NBC replaced him with Leno, sparking a very public, bitter feud with Letterman. The following year, Letterman jumped to CBS to go head-to-head against Leno and his old network in the flagship 11.30pm time slot, setting up one of the most storied rivalries on US television.

He brought his bandleader and sidekick Paul Shaffer with him to CBS, but the name of the ensemble was changed from the World's Most Dangerous Band to the CBS Orchestra.

Letterman led the ratings for his first two years at CBS, but Leno rose to No.1 in 1995 and stayed on top for much of the rest of his tenure.

In March 2002, the Walt Disney Co-owned ABC network made a bid to woo Letterman away from CBS in an aborted effort to replace ABC's late-night news programme, Nightline, but Letterman ultimately opted to stay put at CBS. — Reuters

Related story:

Watch: David Letterman reveals decision to retire from show

Watch: David Letterman reveals decision to retire from show

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 11:45 PM PDT

The 'Late Show' host tells unsuspecting audiences that he will be "wrapping things up" sometime next year.

David Letterman, the longest-serving late night talk show host, revealed his plans to retire from his popular Late Show With David Letterman on the show's April 3 taping, just nine days short of his 67th birthday. In the video, he starts off with a story about how he has spent half his life "behind this desk", as well as "in makeup".

Then he goes on to talk about a previous birdwatching outing with his 11-year-old son Harry, a chat with his wife Regina as well as Harry, and finally, makes an abrupt announcement about retiring next year.

Folks in the studio seemed a little confused at first, unsure of whether the news was real or just one of the host's jokes. But a string of questions from music director Paul Shaffer – who, along with his music entourage, has been with Letterman for decades – confirmed the announcement.

"We don't have the timing of this precisely down; it will be at least a year or so. But at some time in the not too distant future — 2015, for the love of God — in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up and taking a hike," says Letterman, who has been a talk show for 33 years.

Meanwhile, other talk show hosts, celebrities and even US President Barack Obama himself have been tweeting words of praise to Letterman. Some folks have also started making their own David Letterman-themed "Top Ten" lists, as well as a list of possible talents who could "replace" him next year (#LettermanReplacement is currently trending on Twitter).

Related story:

David Letterman to say goodbye in 2015

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