The popular television drama "True Blood" launched a comic book series on Wednesday that its authors said will add "new and unique layers" to the adventures of telepathic waitress Sookie and her vampire friends.
Designed as a companion to the TV series, the comics contain the same tone of the HBO show, complete with the erotically charged romance, humor, mystery and suspense.
"True Blood" creator Alan Ball developed the plot to the comics with series writers Elisabeth Finch and Kate Barnow. The books follow Sookie and company, who are trapped in a bar by an entity that begins killing patrons to sate its hunger.
Two exclusive versions of "True Blood #1" — each with a different cover — were made available at the annual Comic-Con convention in San Diego, which starts Wednesday.
The comic books can also be downloaded in both print and digital formats through the Apple App Store and the Sony Digital Comics store.
"True Blood," now in its third season, was nominated earlier this month for a drama series Emmy award.
Julie Chen joins new talk show
CBS plans to launch a new one-hour daily talk show in October to replace the soap opera "As the World Turns," which ends its 54-year run in September.
Among the program's six celebrity co-hosts will be a face familiar to CBS viewers: "Big Brother" host Julie Chen, who also co-anchors the network's morning newscast "The Early Show" and is married to CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves.
Because of her new role on the daytime talk show, Chen will no longer serve as a daily anchor on "The Early Show," though she will continue to appear on the newscast, according to a person familiar with the arrangements.
The as-yet-untitled show, which resembles the popular ABC gabfest "The View," will focus on topical entertainment and news stories through the eyes of mothers. The other five panelists will be "Roseanne" actress Sara Gilbert, Holly Robinson Peete, Sharon Osbourne, star Leah Remini and Broadway actress Marissa Jaret Winokur.
— Matea Gold
Bowers elects new chairwoman
Anne Shih, whose work as an emissary has been crucial to the Bowers Museum's emergence as a venue for coveted exhibitions from China, including the record-setting "Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China's First Emperor" show in 2008, has been elected to chair the Santa Ana museum's board.
"No one has had more impact on the Bowers Museum's success than Anne," President Peter Keller said in a statement announcing that Shih would succeed Frank O'Bryan.
The Bowers credits Shih with raising more than $10 million over the years.
— Mike Boehm
Jon Hamm visits 'The Simpsons'
What could be more swoon-worthy than Don Draper in a suit? Not much. So it's only fitting that the star of AMC's "Mad Men" stick with the wardrobe choice when he enters the animated world of "The Simpsons."
A rep for the show confirmed reports that Jon Hamm will lend his voice to the long-running Fox series in an episode slated to air in December.
Hamm will portray an FBI supervisor who works as Homer Simpson's handler when the doughnut-loving patriarch becomes a jailhouse informant in an episode titled "Donnie Fatso."
Hamm joins the ranks of Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Denis Leary and dozens of others who were celebrity guest stars on the show.
And it's not the first time Hamm has stepped outside his duties as advertising's suavest man. He guest-starred in five episodes of NBC's "30 Rock" as Dr. Drew Baird, Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey) neighbor and quirky love interest, for which he won an Emmy in 2009.
Hamm's "other" show, "Mad Men," returns for its fourth season Sunday at 10 p.m.
— Yvonne Villarreal
Fest will screen Chaplin rarity
"A Thief Catcher," a 1914 comedy short featuring a previously unknown performance by silent comedy star Charlie Chaplin as a Keystone Kop, will have its West Coast re-premiere Sept. 4 during the 46th annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre.
Produced by Keystone, "A Thief Catcher" recently rediscovered by film historian Paul Gierucki in a chest in a Michigan antiques shop, is one of nearly 40 rare and unusual films to be screened during the festival, which runs Sept. 2-6.
— Liesl Bradner
George Clooney, humanitarian
George Clooney will receive the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award during the Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 29. The presentation will mark the first time in six years that the award has been handed out.
Clooney is being honored for his work in several areas, including his advocacy to stop genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan and his involvement in quickly mobilizing the entertainment industry for the "America: A Tribute to Heroes" event in the wake of Sept. 11.
— Greg Braxton