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CNN cuts Carlson, "Crossfire'

CNN said goodbye to pundit Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, and with him likely the Crossfire program that has been the granddaddy of high-volume political debate shows on cable television.

CNN will probably fold Crossfire into its other programming, perhaps as an occasional segment on the daytime show Inside Politics, said Jonathan Klein, who was appointed in late November as chief executive of CNN's U.S. network.

Klein on Wednesday told Carlson, one of the four Crossfire hosts, that CNN would not be offering him a new contract. Carlson has been talking with MSNBC about a prime-time opening replacing Deborah Norville.

"I would host any kind of show for (MSNBC chief executive) Rick Kaplan," said Carlson, whose Friday night PBS show Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered resumes this week.

An MSNBC spokesman had no comment on CNN's decision.

Stations yank Stern over Sirius

NEW YORK _ Howard Stern says he was pulled off four radio stations this week for using a pair of newly forbidden words: satellite radio.

Citadel Broadcasting Corp., which aired Stern's envelope-pushing syndicated show, opted to yank the program Monday because the host was devoting too much time to his impending switch to Sirius Satellite Radio, Stern told his listeners.

Stern's decision to abandon terrestrial radio is often a topic on his show. Citadel felt the program had become "an infomercial" for Stern's next employer and pulled the plug, Stern said.

Stern's show had aired on Citadel stations in Syracuse, N.Y.; Providence, R.I.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Grand Rapids, Mich. Alex Eule, a spokesman for Citadel, said Wednesday the company would have no comment on the dispute.

Stern's show still airs in more than 40 markets.

Ashlee Simpson booed at Orange Bowl

NEW YORK _ Ashlee Simpson's Orange Bowl halftime performance was a lemon, according to the 72,000-plus Miami crowd. The 20-year-old singer received a discernible chorus of boos after a performance of her song La La.

"You make me wanna scream," she sang before the audience jeered.

Simpson was among a trio of halftime performers Tuesday night in a game that saw Southern California overwhelm Oklahoma 55-19. The camera cut away from her face as the booing began.

The negative reaction came months after Simpson's performance on NBC's Saturday Night Live, which revealed she used background vocal tracks. The mishap was later attributed to acid reflux.

FCC looking into "Tonight Show' swear

NEW YORK _ When Motley Crue's Vince Neil wished bandmate Tommy Lee a happy New Year live on NBC, he couldn't resist inserting a profanity _ and now the FCC is involved.

The Federal Communications Commission has received complaints about the New Year's Eve Tonight Show and is beginning a preliminary probe, a spokeswoman said Tuesday. But it's likely little will come of it.

Motley Crue was performing after midnight when Neil turned to Lee and used the F-word.

Jay Leno normally tapes the Tonight Show, but did a live version for the East Coast on New Year's Eve. Neil's remark was excised when the show was seen in other time slots.

Grammys to honor Joplin, Morton

Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Jerry Lee Lewis will be among the 10 recipients of lifetime achievement awards at this year's Grammy ceremony. The honorees, which span rock, country, R&B, blues, jazz and classical music, also include Eddy Arnold, Art Blakey, the original members of the Carter Family, composer-conductor Morton Gould, Jelly Roll Morton, blues pianist Pinetop Perkins and the Staple Singers.

The awards will be acknowledged during a special ceremony Feb. 12 and during the next day's televised broadcast of the annual awards show from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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