Phil Donahue's days at his low-rated MSNBC talk show are numbered, according to USA Today. NBC News executives, under pressure from corporate owner General Electric, are likely to cancel his talk show by year's end. Donahue was the subject of a biting Saturday Night Live (which airs on NBC) parody this weekend in which Darrell Hammond played the liberal talk-show host.
Lisa Ling saying goodbye to "The View'
Fans of ABC's coffee klatch The View got a major jolt this morning when co-host Lisa Ling announced that she's quitting the show after three years, TV Guide Online reports. Ling is leaving to take a job as an international reporter for National Geographic Television. "If I don't do it now, I may never do it," the 29-year-old told viewers. Her last day is Dec. 5. Producers are holding off on naming a replacement. Instead, celebrity guests will fill the slot during the coming months.
Local talent winner on his way to Nashville
Michael Graves, 34, of Clearwater bested nine other finalists Monday in a local talent contest organized by WQYK-FM (99.5) as part of USA Network's national Nashville Star competition. The Clearwater resident will head to Nashville in January for a regional contest; the winner of that event joins nine other aspirants in the cable channel's countrified, American Idol-style talent contest, with a Sony Music record contract as the top prize.
Held at Stumps Supper Club at the Channelside entertainment complex in Tampa, Monday's contest featured 10 finalists culled from a group of nearly 200 hopefuls last week.
"With four kids and one on the way, guys like me don't often get a chance to go to Nashville," said Graves, a longtime performer who works as a technical software consultant. His hope: even if he doesn't win the contest, perhaps an important producer will hear his material in Nashville.
Times critic to answer movie questions online
Times film critic Steve Persall will answer your questions about the upcoming holiday movie season during a special online chat today at 7 p.m. at www. TampaBay. com/chat. If you cannot attend this live event, e-mail a question in advance to chattampabay.com. A transcript of today's online discussion will be posted on the Web site early Wednesday.
_ Staff and wire reports