Lt. gov.: 'Duck Dynasty' important to La. tourism
THE FLAP over "Duck Dynasty" continues.
Louisiana's lieutenant governor says the reality TV show is important to state tourism - and he wants to help the Robertson family find new producers if they cannot reach an agreement with the A&E network.
The network suspended patriarch Phil Robertson last week for comments he made to GQ magazine about gays.
The show is produced around the Robertson family's home base in Ouachita Parish. In an emailed statement, Jay Dardenne said the state "has the infrastructure in place to maintain their record-breaking program."
Dardenne runs the state tourism department and authored the state's film and TV tax-credit program. He volunteered to use his influence to help the Robertsons.
Dardenne said that regardless of what people think about Phil Robertson's comments, the program has drawn a huge audience eager to visit Louisiana.
Guess he adheres to the "even obnoxious publicity is good publicity" school of marketing.
Cracker Barrel crumbles
Same marketing principle apparently guides Cracker Barrel. The down-home chain had pulled some "Duck Dynasty" items from shelves in its restaurant stores, then reversed itself.
Excerpts from a Facebook "Dear Customer" letter:
"When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain 'Duck Dynasty' items, we offended many of our loyal customers. . . .
"We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different. We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family."
Cleveland rescuer signs book deal
Charles Ramsey, not Philly's police commissioner but the dishwasher of the same name who famously put aside his Big Mac to help rescue three women held captive in a Cleveland house for more than a decade, has signed a memoir deal with Cleveland publisher David Gray & Co. He will collaborate with freelance writer Randy Nyerges, who co-wrote Day of the Dawg with former Cleveland Browns defensive back Hanford Dixon.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and Berry's 6-year-old daughter escaped to freedom May 6.
"What you saw on TV doesn't even begin to tell the story," Ramsey said.
Which sounds like a sure best-seller, because what we saw on TV was dramatic.
Ramsey heard screaming from neighbor Ariel Castro's house, helped Amanda Berry escape through the front door and called 9-1-1.
He was hailed as a hero, and his animated TV interviews, offering blunt opinions on race, class and life in the inner city, made him a sensation. "Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms," he said.
Berry and DeJesus are working on a book that Viking is slated to publish in 2015. Knight's memoir will be released next spring by Weinstein Books.
Castro, sentenced to life in prison, was found hanged in his cell in September.
A Dwyane and Gabrielle union
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are engaged.
The Miami Heat star proposed to his longtime actress girlfriend Saturday. They announced the news through social media, about the same time as the two-time defending NBA champions were gathering for a team Christmas party.
"She said YES!!!" Wade posted to Twitter and Instagram, with a photo of Union flashing a large diamond solitaire on her left hand.
It will be the second marriage for both Union, 41, and Wade, who turns 32 next month. No wedding date has been announced.
Despite all the hard work she put in on the songs and videos from her new album, Beyonce had her doubts minutes before its surprise release.
"I was terrified. I was so scared. I already envisioned like the worst things that could happen," Beyonce said Saturday at a screening for her new music videos. "I was really nervous because this was a huge risk."
The singer's fifth album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week after it was released without advance notice. "Beyonce" sold 617,000 units in the U.S. in a week; it has sold more than 1 million albums worldwide.
"I felt like I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse and have my own empire," she said to cheers from the crowd. "And show other women when you get to this point in your career, you don't have to go sign with someone else and share your money and your success. You can do it yourself."
Howard Gensler has the day off.