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People in the news

By United Press International   |   May 4, 2012 at 3:54 AM

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The latest news on today's hottest celebrities ...

'AMERICAN IDOL:' Skylar Laine, an 18-year-old aspiring country singer from Brandon, Miss., has been eliminated from the competition on "American Idol."

Laine got the boot on Thursday's edition of the show.

Still competing are Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez.

Ryan Seacrest is the host of "Idol." The show's judges are Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.


CHRIS HARRISON: U.S. reality TV personality Chris Harrison announced Thursday he and his wife, Gwen, have separated after 18 years of marriage.

Harrison is the host of the dating competition series "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."

"Though we have made this incredibly difficult decision to separate, our love and mutual respect remain, and we look forward to sharing in the lives of our wonderful children," the former couple said in a joint statement issued to People.com.

The Harrisons have two children -- Joshua, 9, and Taylor, 7.


'CATCHING FIRE:' U.S. filmmaker Francis Lawrence has been hired to direct "Catching Fire," the sequel to "The Hunger Games," Lionsgate announced Thursday.

The next installment in the young-adult survival story, based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling novels, is due in theaters Nov. 22, 2013.

Lawrence's film credits include "I Am Legend," "Constantine" and "Water for Elephants." His involvement in "Catching Fire" was announced Thursday by Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman.

"Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of 'Catching Fire.' Suzanne's brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and [heroine] Katniss' emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life," Erik Feig, Lionsgate's president of production, said in a statement.

"It is truly an honor and a privilege to bring 'Catching Fire,' the second chapter of Suzanne's beloved trilogy, to the big screen. I fell in love with the characters, the themes and the world she created and this chapter opens all of these elements up in such a thrilling, emotional and surprising way. I can't wait to dive right into it and bring this chapter to life along with the truly superb cast and filmmakers involved," Lawrence said.

Gary Ross, who co-wrote and directed the first installment in the film franchise, declined to return for the sequel, saying he didn't think he had enough time to properly prepare before the studio wanted to start shooting this summer.


HOWARD STERN: Radio star Howard Stern is to make his first appearance on "The View" in New York next week, ABC said Thursday.

Stern, who is the host of his own Sirius Satellite radio show, will soon be starting as a judge on the TV competition series, "America's Got Talent."

He will be the sole featured guest on the May 10 edition of "The View" for the entire hour and will be seated alongside all five co-hosts -- Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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