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UPI NewsTrack Entertainment News

  |   Feb. 2, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Kerry Washington tops at Image Awards

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- "Django Unchained" and "Scandal" actress Kerry Washington was the night's top winner with three awards at the 44th NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles.

Washington won best supporting actress, best actress in a television drama and received the NAACP President's Award recognizing special achievement and public service at the Friday ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium.

"Red Tail" -- a World War II drama about the Tuskegee airmen - was named best picture.

Beasts of the Southern Wild" was named best independent film and also took the best director award for Benh Zeitlin, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Denzel Washington won best actor for "Flight," Viola Davis won best actress for "Won't Back Down" and Samuel L. Jackson took home the second award for "Django Unchained" as best supporting actor.

In television, "Scandal" won for dramatic series and BET's "The Game" won for comedic series, the Times reported.

Comedian and actor Steve Harvey hosted the ceremony.


Steve Capus leaving NBC News

NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Steve Capus announced he's stepping down as president of NBC News after 20 years with the U.S. network to "head in a new direction."

The move comes six months after Comcast consolidated NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC under a new unit controlled by former NBCUniversal executive Patricia Fili-Krushel, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

Capus has been president of NBC News since 2005, making him the longest-tenured network news president currently in the industry. Although he signed a new three-year contract last year, Capus was not happy with the shakeup that put Fili-Krushel above him in management, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The change in management structure constituted a breach of his contract, allowing him an early exit after 20 years with the company.

"It has been a privilege to have spent two decades here, but it is now time to head in a new direction," Capus said in a memo announcing his resignation Friday.

Capus said he plans to remain with NBC News for the coming weeks to assist with the transition to a new president.


OWN sued for pregnancy discrimination

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A former employee of Oprah Winfrey's OWN network has sued the network for pregnancy discrimination after allegedly being fired for taking medical leave.

Carolyn Hommel filed the lawsuit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also naming her boss, Michael Garner, as a defendant, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

Hommel said she was hired in 2010 as senior director of scheduling and acquisitions at OWN, and received a positive performance review. She said she was told she was on track to become a vice president, but was replaced by a temporary employee when she had to take a medical leave during her pregnancy.

Hommel said her duties were gradually given to the temporary employee and she was excluded from meetings when she returned from leave.

Hommel said she was laid off in March 2012, one month after giving birth to her daughter, and was told to re-apply for the vice president job. The suit alleges she was passed over for the job because Garner fabricated her performance review, making "Hommel's job duties and responsibilities appear less 'senior' and therefore not a candidate for the new vice president position."

Hommel alleges she was laid off because she was pregnant and required a medical leave. She is seeking unspecified damages.


Lady Gaga: Never promised former aide OT

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. pop star Lady Gaga said a former aide who is suing her for unpaid overtime thinks she's "the queen of the universe."

Jennifer O'Neill sued Lady Gaga in 2011 for overtime she said she's owed for working as her personal assistant from 2009 to 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

In a 6-hour deposition obtained by the New York Daily News, Lady Gaga, 26 -- whose real name is Stefani Germanotta -- said O'Neill worked for her twice and "knew exactly what she was getting into, and she knew there was no overtime, and I never paid her overtime the first time I hired her, so why would she be paid overtime the second time?"

"She thinks she's just the queen of the universe," Lady Gaga said of O'Neill. "And, you know what, she didn't want to be a slave to one, because in my work and what I do, I'm the queen of the universe every day."

O'Neill is seeking $393,000 in damages for 7,168 hours of overtime she said she was never paid in addition to her $75,000 salary.

"I'm going to give all the money that she wants to my employees that work hard for me now that deserve it," the singer said.


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