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By United Press International   |   May 22, 2012 at 3:50 AM

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

QUEEN LATIFAH: U.S. actress and recording star Queen Latifah is to serve as host of a syndicated daytime talk show to debut in the fall of 2013, its producers said.

Corin Nelson is to be executive producer of the program from Flavor Unit Entertainment, Overbrook Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television.

"Given Queen Latifah's profile, stature and accomplishments, it was vital for us to find someone who complemented such a tremendous talent to helm this show," Holly Jacobs, executive vice president of U.S. reality and syndicated programming for Sony Pictures Television, said in a statement Monday. "We knew the diversity of Corin's experience in daytime and late night, her collaborative spirit, tremendous creative chops and passion for the medium made her a perfect match.

"Queen Latifah is that rare combination of a multi-talented performer and one of the warmest, most genuine women I've ever met. This show is the perfect platform to showcase her tremendous range of talents and unique ability to connect with and entertain people," said Nelson.


JAMES FRANCO: A U.S version of the Mexican telenovela "Alcanzar una Estrella" is being added to the Nick at Nite lineup this summer, Nickelodeon said Monday.

Oscar-nominated actor James Franco is to play a recurring role on the nightly prime-time drama "Hollywood Heights," which is to make its debut June 18.

The show follows the journey of "a teenage girl whose life changes drastically when she becomes a star and wins the love of her rock 'n' roll idol, and both are tested by setbacks, heartbreak and deception," a synopsis said.

Franco will play an eccentric movie mogul on the show.

The first season of the 80-episode series, co-produced with Televisa in association with Sony Pictures Television, will air weeknights at 9 p.m. eastern time through October.

"'Hollywood Heights,' in the great tradition of telenovelas, serves up relatable characters and compelling storylines that hook you and keep you coming back to see what happens next," Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon's president of development and original programming, said in a statement.

"The stories are about love, family and following your dreams and summertime offers a great window for this kind of viewing commitment."

The show stars Brittany Underwood, Cody Longo and Carlos Ponce.


JENNY McCARTHY: U.S. actress, autism activist and author Jenny McCarthy says she plans to pose nude for Playboy at the age of 39.

The New York Daily News said she is to appear sans clothing in the publication's July-August issue, which hits newsstands June 29.

She made her first appearance in Playboy nearly 20 years ago when she was just starting her career. She was named 1994 Playmate of the Year and last appeared in the magazine in bunny ears and fishnet stockings in 2005.

"All I wanted to do was work with my clothes on, and now I just hope to get them off!" she told E! News, reflecting on her early days a pinup model.


COLDPLAY: British rock band Coldplay confirmed on its Web site plans to perform at the Paralympic Games closing ceremony this summer in London.

The Paralympics are multi-sport events in which athletes with disabilities compete. This year's edition is to start Aug. 29.

Coldplay said Sunday it has been booked to play one show at the Festival of Flame ceremony Sept. 9 in the Olympic Stadium.

"The London 2012 Paralympic Games are going to be spectacular," Seb Coe, chair of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said in a statement. "I am delighted that Coldplay are going to be helping us celebrate not only the end of a fantastic Paralympic Games, but also the end of a seven-year journey. With tickets back on sale tomorrow I can guarantee that whatever ticket you decide to go for, the Paralympic sport will leave a deep and lasting impression on you. The athletes involved in the Paralympic Games are incredible sportsmen and women and I urge everyone to take this chance to be there and to form memories that will last a lifetime."

© 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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