SLATED: TV viewers will have their fill of Donald Trump come May sweeps. May 19 will bring the one-hour finale of the third season of The Apprentice on NBC – while rival ABC has scheduled the mogul’s very unofficial bio, Trump Unauthorized, for May 24. Meanwhile, CBS’s May 25 movie about Martha Stewart, Martha: Behind Bars, starring Cybill Shepherd, is being bumped until fall, reportedly to tie in with the launch of the domestic diva’s new syndicated lifestyle show and Apprentice spinoff. Instead, CBS will air Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution, starring Janel Moloney, on May 25 – which also happens to be the night of the final decision on American Idol. Set those TiVos.
NAMED: Mega-successful author Dan Brown, 40, has even more reason to celebrate: his Da Vinci Code (17 million copies sold internationally, to date) has been named Britain’s book of the year. “For the record, it is a novel,” Brown, who has been described as a recluse (his statement at the London ceremony was made via videotape), said of his book, which has caused controversy in some religious circles for its depiction of a marital relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. As for director Ron Howard’s movie version of Brown’s book, joining Tom Hanks as hero Robert Langdon and Audrey Tatou as love interest Sophie Neveu are the newly announced additions Alfred Molina (Spiderman 2) as the amoral Bishop Arigarosa and Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings) as Sir Leigh Teabing, says Variety.
PLEADED: The West Wing first lady Stockard Channing, 60, pleaded not guilty through her attorney Wednesday to drunken driving charges stemming from an incident on the Hollywood Freeway. The actress was arrested Dec. 14 after allegedly trying to drive around a roadblock set up so a tow truck could removed a disabled tractor-trailer, the Associated Press reports. California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Delgadillo said Channing’s blood-alcohol levels were .12 and .13. (The legal limit in California is .08.) The next hearing in the case was scheduled for May 26.
FUNDED: Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker Michael Moore, who turns 51 on Saturday, has announced a four-year, $2,500- a-year “freedom of speech” scholarship for California State University San Marcos students who defy the administration and stand up for student rights, reports Reuters. Moore was barred from speaking at the school last fall, because there was not enough time to arrange for a speaker from the opposite side of the political spectrum. Students responded by organizing a 10,000-strong rally and concert off-campus, where Joan Baez sang and Moore spoke. Cal State San Marcos said it had no comment on the scholarships.
DIED: Minnesota-based American Head Charge guitarist Bryan Ottoson died of unknown reasons Tuesday before the group’s performance in North Charleston, S.C. A spokesperson tells Billboard that the musician’s body was discovered in his bunk on the group’s tour bus. An autopsy is to be performed. Tuesday night’s show was canceled.
OFFERED: After being stored for more than 43 years, more than 200 personal and professional items from the estate of Marilyn Monroe (1926-62) will be up for sale by Julien’s Auctions at Barclay Butera in Los Angeles on June 4. The items will be on display May 31-June 3. Included in the sale are the star’s divorce papers from Joe DiMaggio, her personal phone directory, dresses from her movies and an original watercolor painting Monroe made and inscribed to President Kennedy for his birthday – though she reportedly never lived long enough to present it to him.