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Quick Takes: CNN reels in Spurlock

August 24, 2012

As part of its ongoing efforts to get more people watching on weekends, CNN has announced that "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock will be getting his own series, starting in April.

Spurlock's show, "Inside Man," will take the adventurous documentarian inside such subcultures as gun lovers, marijuana growers, migrant farm workers and end-of-life caregivers. "Inside Man" will be paired with globe-trotting chef Anthony Bourdain's untitled new show to use their celebrity to combat the news network's ratings woes. CNN recently hit its lowest viewership in 20 years.

In a statement, Mark Whitaker, CNN Worldwide executive vice president and managing editor said, "Morgan Spurlock's name has become synonymous with creative and thought-provoking documentary storytelling. Like Anthony Bourdain's new CNN series, 'Inside Man' will carry the distinctive stamp of its host while taking viewers on colorful and informative journeys into fascinating corners of American society."

This isn't Spurlock's first foray into series television. Between 2005 and 2008, he produced three seasons of the FX documentary series "30 Days," which put people from different walks of life (including Spurlock) in a different subculture for a month. More recently, he's been executive producer of the Hulu original series "A Day in the Life."

— Patrick Kevin Day

Arrest made in mogul threats

Federal agents have arrested a man suspected of issuing death threats to a slew of business titans, including film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and demanding that they send millions to an offshore bank account. The news was first reported by the Smoking Gun website.

The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Vivek Shah, an actor living in West Hollywood, was arrested on Aug. 10 at his parents' house in Illinois. According to a sworn affidavit from Postal Inspector Joshua Mehall, Shah had been sending threatening letters to Weinstein — co-chairman of the Weinstein Co. — and four other moguls, in June and July.

"Each of these letters contained a threat to kill named members of the recipient's family unless a large sum of money was wired to an offshore bank account," said Mehall in the statement.

The Weinstein Co. declined to comment on the matter.

Each of the letters sent were identical with the exception of the personal information. All threatened to

kill specific family members if $13 million wasn't received.

Shah, according to his IMDB page, had appeared in single episodes of television shows "Bones," "Outsourced," and "Animal Witness." He had an uncredited role in "The Dark Knight" and played a maitre d' in the 2010 movie "Our Family Wedding."

— Nicole Sperling

Millepied a guest judge on 'Dance'

"So You Think You Can Dance" received a modest dose of high-culture class on Wednesday in the form of Benjamin Millepied, who served as a guest judge for the Fox reality-competition series.

The choreographer's recently launched group, L.A. Dance Project, performed a new number at the end of Wednesday's broadcast — a level of national exposure that is out of reach for most fledgling dance troupes.

Millepied, married to actress Natalie Portman, is a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and has choreographed for some of the world's top ballet companies. Among his credits is the movie "Black Swan," in which he appeared with Portman. On Wednesday, Millepied sat with fellow judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, taking turns offering anodyne comments on the season's remaining 10 contestants. (The show might consider putting a moratorium on the words "amazing" and "passion.")

— David Ng

First lady heads to 'Dr. Oz'

Michelle Obama is making a house call on "The Dr. Oz Show."

The show's producers say the first lady will tape an appearance Wednesday to discuss new provisions of her "Let's Move!" campaign and the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.

Producers said Thursday that Obama's appearance will be taped at the show's New York studio for national broadcast Sept. 14.

"The Dr. Oz Show," which airs weekdays in syndication, will be starting its fourth season next month.

— Associated Press

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