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Quick Takes: Matt Damon digs into Jimmy Kimmel

January 26, 2013

Hollywood's most celebrated fake feud reached its epic climax Thursday when Matt Damon took over "Jimmy Kimmel Live" for the night. It was an hour of entertaining revenge for the Oscar-winning star, who's been "bumped" from Kimmel's show hundreds of times over the years.

With his nemesis bound and gagged in a chair, Damon had free rein over the entire broadcast, which he kindly renamed "Jimmy Kimmel Sucks." It all began with a monologue in which Damon ruthlessly taunted Kimmel and proved himself an adept stand-up performer.

From there, Damon upgraded Kimmel's supporting players, tossing aside bandleader Cleto and sidekick Guillermo in favor of Sheryl Crow and Andy Garcia. He also revealed the true origins of their bitter rivalry: It turns out that Kimmel, a failed actor, really just resents Damon for beating him out for parts in "Good Will Hunting," "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "The Adjustment Bureau."

Pouring salt in Kimmel's wounds, Damon proceeded to interview a cavalcade of big-name stars, many of whom had never graced Kimmel's couch before: Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Demi Moore and Reese Witherspoon, who just so happened to be walking by the studio, made spur-of-the-moment visits, but not until they'd been assured Kimmel wasn't hosting. As if that weren't enough, Ben Affleck, Robert De Niro, Don Cheadle, Sally Field and Oprah Winfrey made cameo appearances.

— Meredith Blake

Nominees of the Drama Critics

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle announced its nominations for its 2012 awards. Leading with five nominations each were productions of August Wilson's "Jitney," "Silence! The Musical" and Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."

The awards will be handed out at a ceremony on March 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. "Third Rock From the Sun" actor French Stewart, a habitué of the L.A. theater scene, will host.

"Jitney" was produced at South Coast Repertory and transferred to Pasadena Playhouse. "Silence!," the bawdy musical parody of "The Silence of the Lambs," ran at the Hayworth Theatre. "Godot" was a Center Theatre Group production at the Mark Taper Forum.

Nominees were announced late Thursday. Production of the year nominees are "Jitney" and "Silence" as well as "Cyrano," presented by the Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre; "Justin Love" at the Celebration Theatre; the national touring production of "The Book of Mormon" at the Pantages; "The Grönholm Method" at the Falcon Theatre; the national tour of "War Horse" at the Ahmanson; and "Bad Apples" by Circle X.

"Godot" was nominated in the category of revival alongside "Heartbreak House" at Theatricum Botanicum and "West Side Story" at Chance Theatre.

— David Ng

Palin parts ways with Fox News

After three years as a highly paid contributor on Fox News, Sarah Palin has officially parted ways with the network.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed our association with Gov. Palin. We wish her the best in her future endeavors," said Fox News executive Bill Shine in a statement to the New York Times. The news was first reported Friday by the political website Real Clear Politics.

Palin signed her deal with Fox in early 2010, not long after resigning as governor of Alaska, and was for a while one of the network's most popular personalities. Her lucrative deal earned her $1 million a year.

But as her star began to fade, rumors began to swirl that she was on the outs at Fox News.

Network chief Roger Ailes stoked the fires when he said that he only hired Palin because "she was hot and got ratings" and said she had "no chance" at being elected president.

The spat heated up again this August, when Palin took to her Facebook account to grumble about being shut out of the network's coverage of the Republican National Convention.

— Meredith Blake

'Sleepless' days for director

Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps is set to direct the world premiere of "Sleepless in Seattle — The Musical," when the show opens at the theater in May. He replaces Lonny Price.

Jeff Arch, who wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1993 romantic comedy that starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, wrote the book for the musical. Ben Toth composed the music and Sam Forman wrote the lyrics.

"I am pleased that a recent change in my own schedule allows me to take on the joy and excitement of directing this musical and working even more closely with Jeff, Ben and Sam," Epps said in a statement.

Epps has previously said that the musical, which has Broadway aspirations, is "very, very faithful to the film script."

Epps, artistic director since 1997, has seen the Pasadena Playhouse through the financial woes that forced it to close for eight months in 2010 to reorganize.

— Nardine Saad


TV appearance: The White House says President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will give "60 Minutes" their first joint interview. It will air Sunday.

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