Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jessica Simpson obsessed with losing weight, and 'it's just tiresome' - Chicago Sun-Times

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This image released by Disney-ABC Domestic Television shows host Katie Couric, left, with celebrity guest Jessica Simpson on the premiere episode of her new syndicated talk show "Katie," Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Ida Mae Astute)

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Updated: September 11, 2012 8:15PM

W hile Jessica Simpson has done a great job of losing the weight she gained during her pregnancy with baby daughter Maxwell, a couple of associates say they are very bored with Simpson’s “constant obsession” over dropping the pounds.

“I know she’s got that big deal with Weight Watchers and all, but losing her baby fat is just about the only thing she’s talking about,” said a longtime friend, not sounding too friendly. “It’s just tiresome.”In the midst of all this, Jessica’s parents â€"

Tina and Joe Simpson â€" are said to be amicably finalizing their divorce. Intriguingly, Tina Simpson is said to be far richer than her estranged hubby. A number of years ago, she and Joe divided up their responsibilities of managing Jessica’s career â€" with Joe handling her showbiz projects and Tina overseeing the merchandising and endorsement possibilities.

Given Jessica’s singing and acting have been eclipsed by her endorsement and licensing deals â€" which make hundreds of millions â€" Tina has really raked in the big bucks.

† Simpson used Katie Couric’s new daily talk show as her first big outing since losing the baby weight â€" perhaps helping to give the new “Katie” chatfest the highest ratings for a new talk show since the launch of “Dr. Phil” 10 years ago. According to the Nielsen ratings, “Katie” was watched by 2.8 percent of TV homes in the 56 top markets â€" more than doubling the numbers of the other new entries fronted by Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake.

RANDY REMAINS: Amid the flurry of rumors about who will sit on the judges’ panel for the next season of “American Idol,” many longtime “Idol” fans no doubt are happy Randy Jackson reportedly will be back judging â€" as he has since season one.

While there had been a strong possibility Jackson would move over to a mentor’s role, it’s now clear he’ll remain a judge, along with already signed Mariah Carey. Though it’s not confirmed, sources say Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj are expected to complete the “Idol” judging roster.

Though I’m hearing Carey wasn’t crazy about Minaj joining the judges’ desk, she’s now on board with that likelihood.

If country crooner Urban does become an “Idol” judge, won’t it be fun to see his wife and fellow Aussie, Nicole Kidman, hanging out for the “Idol” finale events next spring?

PATERNO PROJECT: There’s no script or director yet, but Al Pacino’s team confirms a report the Academy Award winner is seriously considering playing the late Joe Paterno in a film or TV project, based on Joe Posnanski’s bestseller Paterno. The book is currently being shopped around Hollywood, and there is strong interest. The book covers the coach’s life from his legendary years at Penn State through his last months, marked by the scandal of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal prior to Paterno’s death at 85 in January.

STILL WORKING: Don’t believe those rumors that super-talented actress Keira Knightley is about to give up her very successful career to marry her fiancee, Klaxons rocker James Righton â€" and immediately start popping out babies. The actress’ rep calls those tales “ridiculous,” especially given Knightley is about to begin a new movie this month.

TAKE A BOW: South Side native Andrew Davis will be presented the first Founders Award on Wednesday from the Chicago Screenwriters Network by’s Ruth Ratny. The event at the Mayne Stage will honor Davis’ dedication to his hometown â€" where he has shot seven of his 13 films here in their entirety, including “The Fugitive.”

His upcoming movie, “Pretty Boy Floyd,” will be filmed in Chicago and other Midwest locations.

HEADED HERE: Actress and breast cancer survivor Maura Tierney, perhaps best known for her long-running role on “ER” â€" will be in town for a video booth event Sept. 29 at Gilda’s Club Chicago, part of the Cancer Support Community Network.

Tierney, who underwent extensive treatments for her particularly aggressive form of cancer three years ago, has been actively involved with the launch of the “Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts” campaign to debunk some of the common misconceptions associated with chemotherapy.

ARTFUL ACTION: Some of the most notable figures in Chicago’s art community were on hand as Louis Vuitton’s Midwest director of stores, Lyle Barnes, welcomed them to LV’s Michigan Avenue store Monday night to boost the return of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Vernissage” benefit â€" the official opening night previewing “EXPO Chicago” at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall on Sept. 19. Among those on hand for the LV kickoff fete were “Vernissage” co-chairs Jennifer Aubrey and Marilyn Fields and MCA trustees Sara Albrecht, Lois Eisen, Larry Fields, Anne Kaplan, Sally Kovler, Carol Prins, plus Robin Tebbe, EXPO Chicago director Tony Karman and longtime MCA mainstays Lynn and Allen Turner, Victoria Lautman, Dirk Dennison, Jennifer Lansing, Toni Canada, LiliAnn and Ricky Zisook, Terri Lind and Paul Florian.

Bill Zwecker reports regularly on WFLD-Channel 32.

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