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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Law & Order SVU’s Tamara Tunie “Skating with the Stars”

The New York Post TV Blog today reports that Law & Order SVU’s star Tamara Tunie (she plays the medical examiner, Melinda Warner) is co-chairing "Skating with the Stars, Under the Stars."

This is a gala being held Monday, March 31, from 6:00 - 9:00PM at the Wollman Rink in Central Park to honor Dorothy Hamill and to benefit Figure Skating in Harlem (ice skating/educational programs for girls in the Harlem community).

The Post also reports that some of Tunie's co-stars - Chris Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, B.D. Wong and Diane Neal – will also be attending.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Jesse Martin & Adam Beach Serve as Tribeca All Access jurors

In a switch from being detectives, Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order) and Adam Beach (Law & Order SVU) will be part of a group of 10 jurors participating in the fifth annual Tribeca All Access program.

According to Hollywood Reporter:

“A record 37 narrative and documentary features from new minority filmmakers were selected from more than 550 entries. All directors and screenwriters will participate in workshops and meetings with more than 100 potential investors, development executives, producers and agents.

The filmmakers will compete for $44,500 in prizes at the 2008 Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Awards, presented April 25 during the Tribeca Film Festival.

This year the program will add Tribeca All Access on Track, which will provide year-round filmmaking equipment and support to TAA alumni. there are three films from TAA alumni --
Engi Wassef's "Marina of the Zabbaleen," Dawn Valadez and Kristi Guevara-Flanagan's "Going on 13," and Makoto Sasa's "Fire Under the Snow" -- premiering in this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

The program is a collaboration between the Tribeca Film Institute, U.K. Film Council, Australian Film Commission and Canadian Film Centre. “

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sam Waterston to Present Award to Refugees International

The Arab American Media Services is reporting that Sam Waterston will present an award to Refugees International at the Tenth Annual Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards Gala. Sam Waterston fans are well aware of Sam’s involvement with Refugees International over many years.
Here’s the full press release:

“WASHINGTON - March 20, 2008 - The Arab American Institute Foundation (AAIF) will host the tenth annual Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards gala on Wednesday, April 23 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year's gala will honor Refugees International for its advocacy on behalf of the world's displaced people and its recent work on behalf of Iraqi refugees, and Reporters Without Borders for its courageous mission to promote press freedom worldwide.

"Law and Order" star Sam Waterston, a board member of Refugees International, will present the organization with the Award for International Commitment. Rami Khouri, editor of the Beirut-based Daily Star, will present the Award for Institutional Achievement to Reporters Without Borders. The organization's founder, Robert Menard, will travel from Paris to accept the honor.

U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois will receive the fifth annual Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service in recognition of his seven distinguished terms in Congress and his career long commitment to serving the public. The Barenboim-Said Foundation will receive special recognition for its programs to bring together young musicians from across the Middle East, a project begun by Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward W. Said. Said's widow, Miriam Said, will accept the recognition on behalf of the foundation.

Launched in 1999 by the Arab American Institute (AAI) and AAIF, the leading organizations in the promotion of the policy and community interests of Arab Americans, the awards gala focuses attention on acts of leadership that promote the common good and features prominent leaders from the diplomatic, business, philanthropic, and government sectors. The Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards are named for the renowned Arab American poet and author of The Prophet, whose message of human endurance and triumph was so evident in his life and work. This year's honorees epitomize that message:

* Refugees International has worked tirelessly for more than 25 years to focus attention on and advocate solutions for the world's more than 35 million displaced people and 11 million without a nationality. It is being recognized for its inspiring and life-saving work. Acting as a witness to the suffering of the displaced, Refugees International is able to translate its field interviews with war-affected populations, non-governmental organizations, and aid agencies into advocacy with decision makers that produces results.

* Reporters Without Borders is being honored for its advocacy on behalf of the rights and welfare of journalists, its support for freedom of the press, and its efforts to support the families of imprisoned journalists. Founded in 1985, Reporters Without Borders is now represented on all five continents. The organization is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a virtual network of non-governmental organizations that monitors free expression violations worldwide and defends journalists, writers, and others who are persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

* Rep. Ray LaHood is serving his seventh and final term representing the 18th District of Illinois. First elected in 1994, Mr. LaHood has carried on a rich tradition of leadership from a U.S. House district which has been represented by American leaders such as Robert Michel, Everett Dirksen, and Abraham Lincoln. Early in his Congressional career, Mr. LaHood successfully worked with other Arab American members of Congress to persuade President Clinton to lift the travel ban to Lebanon. He has also been a champion for the increase in ASHA funding to universities in Lebanon.

* The Barenboim-Said Foundation grew out of the friendship between Daniel Barenboim, currently music director of the Staatsoper Berlin, and the late Edward W. Said, University Professor at Columbia University. Begun as a 1999 workshop in Weimar for young musicians from Israel and various Arab countries, the West Eastern Divan Orchestra was formed to combine musical study and performance with the sharing of knowledge and awareness between people from different cultures and backgrounds. The Foundation is grounded by the principle that music cannot be isolated from society. Its projects span across the Middle East with special attention to new programs for music education infrastructures in Palestine. These include the creation of a Palestinian Youth Orchestra, the Edward W. Said Music Kindergarten in Ramallah, and the Barenboim-Said Conservatory in Nazareth.

Past participants in the awards gala include former President Bill Clinton, Her Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein, former President of Poland Lech Walesa, former Sen. George Mitchell, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, former professional boxer Muhammad Ali, and recording star Sting.

The Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards gala is the only annual event that supports the advocacy, research, and policy development that AAI and AAIF conduct throughout the year on behalf of Arab Americans nationwide.

The JW Marriot Hotel is located at 1331 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. in Washington, D.C. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m.; the gala dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Click here for additional background and details on the gala on AAI's website.

Media RSVP: If you are interested in covering this year's gala, please contact AAI Public Affairs Coordinator Andy Sabino
at 202-429-9210, ext. 26.”

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Law & Order Libel Suit Still Floats

Several sources are reporting that a Manhattan Court made a ruling which allows attorney Ravi Batra to proceed with a $15 million libel suit against the creators of "Law & Order". The suit involves the airing of an episode ("Floater") depicting a "bald Indian-American" lawyer who bribes a judge, a Manhattan court has ruled.

Funny, they just aired this episode recently on TNT and in all honesty, I didn't know anything about this "Batra" guy until I heard now about this lawsuit. Maybe it was a big deal in the New York City area, but probably not likely by most other viewers.

Hmmm…I suspect somehow they’ll find a legal way to make this current lawsuit a “ripped from the headlines” story down the road….

Here’s the full story from Law.com:

“Attorney's $15 Million Libel Lawsuit Against 'Law & Order' Creators, NBC Goes Forward
Widespread media coverage of judicial corruption scandal was an additional factor in court's decision
Noeleen G. Walder
New York Law Journal
March 20, 2008

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Attorney Ravi Batra can proceed with a $15 million libel suit against the creators of "Law & Order" for airing an episode depicting a "bald Indian-American" lawyer who bribes a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge, a Manhattan court has ruled.

The lawyer filed the defamation action in 2004 against 35 defendants, including producer Dick Wolf and NBC Universal, claiming that an episode was based on a corruption scandal involving Justice Gerald Garson, matrimonial lawyer Paul Siminovsky and Batra.

In what she deemed the first "libel-in-fiction" claim to survive a summary motion in nearly 25 years, Acting Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Shafer held that viewers "would identify" a fictional lawyer character dubbed "Ravi Patel" with Batra "because of the uniqueness of [Batra's] name, ethnicity and appearance."

"Moreover, because of the widespread media coverage of the Garson/Siminovsky scandal, with which the accusations against [Batra] were inextricably intertwined, it would be reasonable for a viewer to associate Batra" with the "Law & Order" character, Shafer wrote in Batra v. Wolf, 116059/04.

Batra, an Indian-born lawyer, is a well-known figure in Brooklyn political circles. He was a member of the Kings County Democratic Party judicial screening committee and made former Brooklyn Democratic Party leader Clarence Norman Jr. of counsel to his firm.

After Garson was accused of according preferential treatment to Siminovsky, the judge told prosecutors that he could assist them in obtaining information about the sale of judgeships for $50,000 and upwards.

Garson subsequently wore a wire to a lunch with Batra, where he unsuccessfully tried to elicit incriminating statements from the attorney.

According to the decision, while Batra was never charged in connection with the judicial selection or bribery scandal, widespread media coverage of Batra ensued in the wake of Garson's arrest.

On May 3, 2003, the New York Post reported that then-Brooklyn Administrative Judge Ann Pfau had "warned fellow jurists to steer clear" of Batra. And a Nov. 11, 2003, New York Times article entitled "Cozying Up to Judges and Reaping Opportunity" characterized Batra as a "particularly potent force" who had a hand in selecting judges.

The day after publication of the Times article, the "Law & Order" episode in question was aired.

The episode, entitled "Floater," centered around the husband of a woman who turns up dead in the Hudson River. The husband's alibi leads police to uncover a corruption scandal involving a divorce lawyer and a judge at the courthouse where his wife worked.

The episode portrayed a bald Indian-American matrimonial attorney called "Ravi Patel," played by India-born actor Erick Avari, bribing a female Brooklyn Supreme Court justice.

"Because of the counterintuitive nature of a libel-in-fiction claim -- in which a plaintiff claims that something that is fictional is not factually accurate -- two separate elements of the traditional defamation claim converge," Shafer wrote.


Thus, she said that Batra had to demonstrate that the alleged defamation is "of and concerning" him and that viewers were "totally convinced the episode in all aspects as far as the plaintiff is concerned is not fiction at all," the judge wrote.

She added that generally "New York courts favor early adjudication of libel claims to protect freedom of speech from the chilling effect of unwarranted claims."

Moreover, she commented that no "libel-in-fiction claim has survived a summary motion in New York" during the nearly "25 years since the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the complaint in Springer v. Viking Press, 90 AD2d 315 (1st Dept. 1982), aff'd, 60 NY2d 916 (1983)."

In that case, the Appellate Division, 1st Department, dismissed the claim of a woman who lived on the same street and had the same name as a character in one chapter of a novel portrayed as a "whore" who engaged in "abnormal sexual activity."

Nonetheless, the judge rejected defendants' claims that similarities between Batra and the fictional Patel were "abstract."

When "Floater" aired, Batra alleged that he "was one of only six attorneys practicing law in New York City with the first name 'Ravi'" and that he resembled the character in terms of age and physical appearance, the judge noted.

Defendants concede that fewer than 500 New York City residents, and 20 lawyers in the country, have the name "Ravi," the judge added.

Shafer noted that viewers would not be aware of differences between the fictional attorney and Batra, including the fact that Batra does not specialize in divorce law and "is an upstanding member of the Bar."

"None of these facts would be known to a viewer, aware of Batra only through the media coverage, who recognized Floater's reference to the Garson/Siminovsky scandal despite changes in Garson's gender and Siminovsky's ethnicity."

The judge also distinguished the case from Springer because Batra was a "public figure" with respect to the judicial corruption scandal.

Given the "context in which 'Floater' was presented, extensive media coverage linking Batra to the Garson/Siminovsky scandal, there is a reasonable likelihood that the ordinary viewers, unacquainted with Batra personally, could understand Patel's corruption to be the truth about Batra," the judge concluded.

Batra's own law firm is representing him in the case. He said in an interview Wednesday that the "Law & Order" episode was a disservice to the "rule of law, defamed an innocent person (myself), and helped undermine public confidence in the judiciary."

Davis Wright Tremaine served as attorney for Wolf and did not immediately return a call for comment. A spokesperson for NBC did not return a call for comment.

When the suit was filed, NBC Universal issued a statement that, "This episode, like all 'Law & Order' episodes, is fiction."

Erik Avari played the lawyer in "Floater"

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mariska Hargitay at the GLAAD Awards

Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson, Law & Order SVU) was a presenter at the 19th annual GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards. GLAAD was founded more than 20 years ago to foster positive images of the lives of gay people in the wake of sensational media reporting on AIDS and other topics.

Here are a few pictures of Mariska and her husband Peter Hermann from the event.

Please note: I am sorry, but the photos are no longer available.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Law & Order St. Patrick’s Day Greeting

Who else but Jack McCoy could star in a Law & Order St. Patrick’s Day greeting? Hope you enjoy it – with apologies to Sam Waterston.

If you liked this one, check out the one on my other blog All Things Law & Order,at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Law & Order SVU’s Chris Meloni: From Detective to Gym Teacher

It appears that one of our favorite sex crimes detectives is taking a role as a gym teacher for Nickelodeon. Yes, you heard that right. Chris Meloni is going to be starring in a comedy called “Gym Teacher: The Movie.” (Wow, such a deeply intense and creative title!) Maybe I should consider re-taking my gym classes.

Here are more details, from Americas News Today:

Law & Order: SVU star Christopher Meloni slips out of his usual dramatic groove to star in Nickelodeon's first family primetime movie, in the original comedy, Gym Teacher: The Movie, to premiere this August (date and time TBD). Joining Meloni in the film will be co-star Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) and Nickelodeon's Nathan Kress (iCarly), in a combination of stars and story that will delight and entertain both kids and their parents.

"Gym Teacher: The Movie truly has something for everyone in the family, with its blend of broad comedy, sports competition and romance," said Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon's Executive Vice President, Development and Original Programming. "Christopher Meloni is one of the most versatile actors around, and alongside him is Nathan Kress from Nickelodeon's iCarly as the uncoordinated new student, in a funny yet touching story of redemption, for all those who like to root for the underdog."

Meloni steps into the sneakers of underdog Dave Stewie, a humiliated former gymnastics gold medal contender-turned gym teacher who gets a shot at redemption as he vies for the coveted Gym Teacher of the Year Award. But with dorky Roland Waffle (Kress) new to his team, Stewie's no shoo-in, and the coach and the gym-averse kid get mutual makeovers in their bid to be winners.

As the slightly bonkers principal of Hamm Lake Middle School, Sedaris' Abby Hofmann holds a not-so-secret crush on Stewie. David Alan Grier's prep school coach, Shelley Bragg, is dedicated to proving Stewie a failure and bringing the trophy home for himself. Chelah Horsdal gets Stewie's heart-a- thumping and complicates his life as Hamm Lake's new English teacher Winnie Bleeker, who just happens to be Roland's over-protective widowed mom. Playing himself, former Olympian Bruce Jenner turns up in a cameo as Stewie's idol.

While Dave Stewie's run into a vaulting horse trampled his gold medal chances in 1988, he rebuilt his life from the ashes of humiliation to become gym teacher extraordinaire at Hamm Lake Middle School. Ever-competitive -- albeit a tad over the top -- he's committed to molding physically fit kids. So when the nation's President announces a contest for the greatest physical educator, Dave hankers to lead his talented team to victory, redeem himself and bask in the glory.

Enter his worst nightmare in the person of sci-fi buff/helmeted Roland Waffle, a transfer student without an athletic bone in his body. And in a jaw-dropping irony, Roland's mom, Winnie, is the beautiful new teacher Dave hopes to date. In order to win the national contest and crush his nemesis, Coach Bragg, Dave must secretly turn this gangly thorn in his side into a competitor - against his overly-protective mother's wishes. And just as Coach Stewie's plans - for the competition and love - seem to move steadily on track, Coach Bragg catches wind of the ruse and clues in Winnie who could cost Stewie his shot at a gold medal and at love.

Gym Teacher is a Nickelodeon production in association with Dolphin Entertainment. Executive producers are Lauren Levine (Bridge to Terabithia, Shredderman Rules!), Stanley M. Brooks (Broken Trail), Jim Head and Bill O'Dowd. Paul Dinello (Strangers with Candy, The Colbert Report) directs a teleplay by brothers Daniel and Steven Altiere.

For nine seasons (1999-present) Meloni has starred as Detective Elliot Stabler on NBC's Law & Order: SVU, and the portrayal earned him an Emmy nomination (2006). Demonstrating a flair for comedy, on the big screen he played the football coach rejected by Julia Roberts' character in Runaway Bride and a maniacal mechanic named Freak Show in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Earlier, he starred in the comedy series The Fanelli Boys and recurred on the TV drama series NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Streets. Meloni has four upcoming films, including Nights in Rodanthe (Warner Brothers) also starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere; Harold & Kumar 2 (New Line Cinema), Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, also starring Julianne Nicholson and Timothy Hutton; and Carriers, an apocalyptic thriller to be released by Paramount Vantage about a viral pandemic.

Kress, 15, co-stars on Nickelodeon's hit series iCarly as Freddie, the tech-savvy web show producer who's smitten with Miranda Cosgrove's Carly. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the 168-Hour Film Festival for his portrayal of a cocaine pusher in the independent comedy Bag. His additional roles include a wheelchair-bound basketball player in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and four characters, including the lead Ninja student Eizan, in Nickelodeon's animated series Shuriken School.

Nickelodeon, in its 28th year, has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 96 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than 13 consecutive years.

By AmericasNewsToday.Org staff "

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Chris Noth Gets Snapped by Annie Leibovitz

Law & Order and Criminal Intent’s Chris Noth, along with Sarah Jessica Parker, were photographed in New York City by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz for Vogue Magazine. The photo shoot was geared to promote their upcoming Sex And The City movie, scheduled for release at the end of May.

I’ve never been a SATC fan myself; the show was just a little to shallow for me. But, it gives me an excuse to post a few photos of Chris Noth. Oh yeah, someone else (certainly not Annie Leibovitz) snapped Chris in a photo where he wasn’t so nattily attired. I can’t find the name of the photographer, but one web site noted that he looked like he was sporting a baby bump. Ouch!

Can a man have a baby bump? Hmmmm....maybe....

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Law & Order Auctions on NBC.com

NBC.com has been holding on-line auctions of Law & Order memorabilia and other Law & Order “stuff.” If you’re interested, check it out here.

Some items include Lennie Briscoe’s suit jacket, Jack McCoy’s tie, and Joe Fontana’s scarf.

Now, if they want to auction off Jack McCoy, I’ll put in a bid!

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sam Waterston to Receive Robert Brustein Award

The Boston Globe reported today that “ "Law & Order" district attorney Sam Waterston will be in Boston on Monday to receive the American Repertory Theatre's Robert Brustein Award. This year's ART soiree will be held at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter in South Boston. Oscar-winner Chris Cooper and his writer/ actress wife, Marianne Leone Cooper, are the honorary cochairs. .. “

The A.R.T. web page
gives this information about the theatre:

“The A.R.T. occupies a unique place in the American theatre. It is the only not-for-profit theatre in the country that maintains a resident acting company and an international training conservatory, and that operates in association with a major university. Over its twenty-two year history the A.R.T. has welcomed American and international theatre artists who have enriched the theatrical life of the whole nation. The theatre has garnered many of the nation’s most distinguished awards, including a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award, and a Jujamcyn Award. Since 1980 the A.R.T. has performed in eighty-one cities in twenty-two states around the country, and worldwide in twenty-one cities in sixteen countries on four continents. It has presented one hundred and sixty productions, over half of which were premieres of new plays, translations, and adaptations.

The A.R.T. was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein and Robert J. Orchard, and has been resident for twenty-two years at Harvard University’s Loeb Drama Center.”

Congratulations to Sam – and maybe Law & Order fans in Boston can catch a glimpse!

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Law & Order Theme: Composer Mike Post

Even if you’re not a Law & Order fan, you know the Law & Order Theme, composed by Mike Post. You see his name in the Law & Order show credits, but what do you know about him?

Mike Post was born Leland Michael Postil on September 29, 1944, in Berkley, California. He’s a BMI, Grammy, and Emmy award-winning composer of music and theme songs, many for very familiar TV shows, like NYPD Blue, The Rockford Files, Magnum PI, LA Law, Quantum Leap, Hill Street Blues, ChiPs, Toma, and many more.

According to Wikipedia:
“The Who's Pete Townshend wrote a song called "Mike Post Theme", taken from their comeback album Endless Wire, released in 2006. Townshend has said that the song takes inspiration from Post's theme for Hill Street Blues. The sound of British electronic indie act The Go! Team is largely inspired by Post's action theme music, including the Magnum, P.I. theme.”

You can enjoy the FULL VERSION of the Law & Order Theme in the video slide show, below. And you can also enjoy the photos of some of the Law & Order stars over the years, including some of the earlier stars Michael Moriarty, Richard Brooks, George Dzundza, Paul Sorvino, Dann Florek; some of the mainstays like Steven Hil, S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterston, Jerry Orbach; and newer additions Alana De La Garza and Linus Roache. (I wish the audio were a little better, sadly, it's the only copy I have.)

If you like his music, check out his album "Inventions from the Blue Line" which includes the Law & Order theme, and other favorites.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.