AFLAC HAS FOUND its new duck.
The commercial squawksman will now be voiced by a TV ad- sales manager from Minnesota.
Daniel McKeague, 36, a father of three from Hugo, beat out more than 12,000 quacking contestants to replace Gilbert Gottfried and become the new voice of the company's mascot.
Gottfried voiced Aflac's duck for U.S. audiences for 11 years but was ousted in March after tweeting insensitive remarks about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (Japan produces about 75 percent of Aflac's revenue, so this was not a bright move.)
Aflac soon announced a contest for Gottfried's replacement, though his gentler interpretation of the duck for Japanese audiences will continue.
Huh? The guy got the boot for his remarks about Japan and he gets replaced in America but stays on in Japan? The insurance business is so confusing.
McKeague recorded a 30-second clip at KQRS in Minneapolis, where he works, uploaded it to Aflac's website and later did a more formal video audition.
After learning early yesterday that he had been selected for the gig, McKeague said he's known for doing silly voices.
And for being mallardjusted.
"We thought he was the best by far. I can't explain to you why. It just was. Maybe it is part of the mystique of the Aflac duck," said Dan Amos, CEO of Aflac.
He gets a one-year contract in the low six figures that the company said will likely be renewed for several years.
The first ad with McKeague's voice aired last night - during "The Voice."
And so it begins . . .
Any idea how long it takes to find a principal player for the elite Philadelphia Orchestra?
The spots are so coveted, more than 100 top musicians might apply. Leading candidates will audition more than once and the process can drag on for a year or more.
Now in the middle of a phony bankruptcy and with the musicians having lost faith in mangement - they never had faith in the do-nothing board - some of the musicians are starting to field calls from other major orchestras.
The sad part is that they're now taking the calls seriously. Ricardo Morales, the orchestra's brilliant principal clarinet, will be leaving to join the New York Philharmonic after next season.
Puerto Rican-born Morales, who has five professional musicians as siblings, became the principal at the Metropolitan Opera at the tender age of 20.
He is married to Orchestra violinist Amy Oshiro - the pair has a baby daughter - so the Philadelphians might soon have another spot to fill.
Countdown to 'Countdown'
"Countdown with Keith Olbermann" will return June 20 at 8 p.m. on Current TV.
Olbermann joined Current, where he is also the network's chief news officer, last February after a call from network co-founder Al Gore.
(Disclaimer: Tattle's cousin works for Current but not on the programming side. We're not really sure what he does.)
"Nothing is more vital to a free America than a free media, and nothing is more vital to my concept of a free media than news produced independently of corporate interference," Olbermann said at the time.
And nothing is more antithetical to a free media than paying for Current TV on your cable bill.
Billboard.com reports that Eminem, Coldplay, Foo Fighters and Muse will help Lollapalooza celebrate its 20th anniversary Aug. 5-7 in Chicago's Grant Park.
Other featured artists playing the festival, founded in 1991 by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, include alt-rock mainstays My Morning Jacket, soul maestro Cee Lo Green, "Distant Relatives" collaborators Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley & Nas, and dance superstar deadmau5. Rising stars like Lykke Li, Two Door Cinema Club, Tinie Tempah and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are all headed to Grant Park, while Girl Talk, Pretty Lights and Kid Cudi will headline "Perry's" club-themed DJ stage.
Tickets are on sale at the festival's website, with 3-day passes available at $215.
* Fans of "The Book of Mor-
mon," rejoice: You'll soon be able to sing along with the musical at home.
This is the "Book of Mormon" written by "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and "Avenue Q" co-creator Robert Lopez - not the one that inspired "Big Love."
Ghostlight Records said yesterday it will release the original Broadway cast album digitally on May 24 and on CD June 7.
For more, see Jonathan Takiff's story on Page 31.
* According to the Hollywood Reporter, Tyler Perry has signed a deal with TBS for the dramedy "For Better or Worse," a series based on his "Why Did I Get Married?" film franchise.
Michael Jai White ("The Dark Knight") and Tasha Smith ("Couples Retreat") are set to reprise their roles as TV anchor Marcus and salon owner Angela.
* Katie Couric has officially confirmed that she is indeed leaving the "CBS Evening News."
Couric, 54, told People that she hasn't decided what she's doing next, but that she is "looking at a format that will allow me to engage in more multi-dimensional storytelling."
Scott Pelley ("60 Minutes") is expected to succeed her.
"There's a lot to be proud of during Katie Couric's time at evening news," said CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair. "CBS News, like Katie herself, is looking forward to the next chapter."
In other words, don't let the TV screen door hit you on the way out.
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.
Email gensleh@ phillynews.com.