Wednesday July 3, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard is joining the cast of "The Biggest Loser," becoming the first celebrity to compete on NBC’s weight-loss reality show.

The balladeer nicknamed "The Velvet Teddy Bear" was crowned the winner of "American Idol" Season 2 in 2003, edging out Clay Aiken in one of the tightest votes in that show’s history. Studdard used the win as a platform to launch a singing-and-performing career, and also earned a Grammy nomination.

One thing he hasn’t been able to tackle? His weight.

The super-sized Studdard becomes the first celebrity to compete on "The Biggest Loser," and it raises many questions. Will Studdard get the celebrity treatment at the ranch? Will the other competitors feel compelled to treat him differently? Will he arrive with his own cook, cellphone access and driver? Or will trainers Bob Harper, Dolvett Quince and Jillian Michaels treat him like everyone else?

Studdard’s weight-loss journey will be seen in the fall, when Season 15 of "The Biggest Loser" is slated to air.

-- Los Angeles Times

NBC planning ‘Bible’ sequel

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- NBC says it will air a sequel to the hit cable miniseries "The Bible."

The network said that it will join with producer Mark Burnett and his actress-wife, Roma Downey, on the sequel. Burnett and Downey produced "The Bible" for the History channel.

Downey played Jesus Christ’s mother, Mary, in the miniseries that aired earlier this year.

NBC says the sequel has the working title "A.D.: Beyond the Bible" and will open in the days following Christ’s death.

Casting and an air date haven’t been announced.

-- The Associated Press

Fashion blogger gets BET apology

NEW YORK -- BET is apologizing to a fashion blogger who says it made him tone down his feminine look to appear on the network’s pre-awards show.

The network called the incident with B. Scott, which took place before Sunday’s BET Awards, a "miscommunication." On his blog Monday, Scott, who is openly gay, said he was told to change his outfit -- a flowing black tunic and black pants -- to a more conservative suit. He also said he was asked to pull his long black hair back in a ponytail and not to wear heels.

He did appear on the show, which aired just before the awards, wearing a suit with no shirt, makeup and his hair pulled back.

Scott said he was hurt and embarrassed by the situation.

"It’s not just about the fact that BET forced me to pull my hair back, asked me to take off my makeup, made me changed my clothes and prevented me from wearing a heel," he wrote. "It’s more so that from the mentality and environment created by BET made me feel less than and that something was wrong with who I am as a person."

BET was regretful of the incident in a Monday statement to The Associated Press.

"BET Networks embraces global diversity in all its forms and seeks to maintain an inclusive workforce and a culture that values all perspectives and backgrounds," the statement read.

"The incident with B. Scott was a singular one with a series of unfortunate miscommunications from both parties. We regret any unintentional offense to B. Scott and anyone within the LGBT community and we seek to continue embracing all gender expressions."

-- The Associated Press