NEW YORK (AP) - Sears is divorcing Paula Deen. So's QVC "for now" at least. Sears says they're phasing out Deen's products after "careful consideration of all available information." Sears joins about a half-dozen other companies in severing their ties with Deen. In a letter posted on the QVC website, President and CEO Mike George says they're going to "take a pause" in their relationship with Deen. She won't be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts and her products will be phased out. However, George says "people deserve second chances," so he says this is not a "forever" decision. Deen posted a reply on the QVC website saying she's going to concentrate on "setting things right." She says she's going to "work hard to earn your forgiveness."
NEW YORK (AP) - Now Home Depot is cutting ties with Paula Deen. They join Target, a diabetes drug-maker, Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods and the Food Network. Deen has asked Jesse Jackson and Judy Smith, the woman Kerry Washington's character is based on in "Scandal" for help.
The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week's ranking is in parentheses. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.
1. (1) The Rolling Stones; $7,969,276; $346.08.
2. (2) Taylor Swift; $2,072,961; $84.02.
3. (3) Kenny Chesney; $1,829,281; $76.47.
4. (4) Bon Jovi; $1,622,485; $106.01.
5. (New) Fleetwood Mac; $1,426,254; $111.75.
6. (5) Maroon 5; $879,457; $62.99.
7. (6) Jason Aldean; $754,571; $51.28.
8. (7) Brad Paisley; $578,398; $36.74.
9. (8) Carrie Underwood; $497,868; $62.07.
10. (9) Leonard Cohen; $489,734; $106.77.
11. (10) Green Day; $469,164; $50.47.
12. (11) Motley Crue; $332,400; $78.37.
13. (New) Widespread Panic; $281,496; $42.36.
14. (12) Bassnectar; $179,128; $36.44.
15. (13) Diana Krall; $176,499; $83.60.
16. (15) Chris Tomlin; $163,206; $28.29.
17. (17) Shinedown / Three Days Grace; $156,081; $39.40.
18. (16) Il Divo; $152,184; $76.21.
19. (19) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; $142,644; $52.23.
20. (20) Willie Nelson; $133,423; $55.67.
NEW YORK (AP) - Paula Deen's name is being stripped from four buffet restaurants owned by Caesars, part of the continuing fallout over her admission that she used a racial slur in the past. Caesars said Wednesday its decision to rebrand its restaurants in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; Cherokee, N.C.; and Elizabeth, Ind. was a mutual one with Deen. Meanwhile, the celebrity chef's representatives distributed four letters supporting Deen from other companies that work with her, as she fights to keep her business empire from crumbling. Deen appeared in a "Today" show interview earlier Wednesday, dissolving into tears and saying that anyone in the audience who's never said anything they've regretted should pick up a rock and throw it at her head. The chef, who specializes in Southern comfort food, repeated that she's not a racist.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Elvis Presley's Cadillac, Steve McQueen's old truck and prescription sunglasses worn by John Lennon are among hundreds of items once owned by celebrities that are scheduled to be auctioned in California next month. The Mecum Auction Company said Wednesday it will be displaying and auctioning about 2,000 pieces of celebrity-related memorabilia 26-27 in Santa Monica, California. Mecum, which specializes in the sale of collector cars, says one of the auction's highlights will be Elvis' 1972 Cadillac Custom Estate Wagon. "The King of Rock n' Roll" owned the car from 1972 until his death in 1977, according to Mecum's Web site. Mecum says items with ties to John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, Roy Rogers, Hunter S. Thompson, Jimmy Stewart, Burt Reynolds and Gene Kelly also will be auctioned.
NEW YORK (AP) - Paula Deen says that anyone who's never sinned should pick up a rock and throw it at her. The celebrity chef dissolved into tears during a "Today" show interview Wednesday, trying to explain she wasn't a racist despite saying in a legal deposition that she's used racial slurs in the past. Deen told "Today" host Matt Lauer that if there's anyone in the audience who's never said anything they regretted to "please take up that stone and throw it as hard as they can and kill me." She urged her fans not to boycott the Food Network, which dropped her last week, but said she wouldn't have fired someone in the same position.
PARK RIDGE, N.J. (AP) - A private viewing for James Gandolfini is scheduled for Wednesday in a small northern New Jersey town. The invitation-only wake for family and friends will be held at the Robert Spearing Funeral Home in Park Ridge between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. The 51-year-old star of "The Sopranos," who grew up in nearby Westwood, died last Wednesday in Italy. Broadway theaters will dim their marquee lights at 8 p.m. in memory of the actor, who earned a Tony Award nomination in 2009 for his role in the award-winning "God of Carnage." Gandolfini's funeral will be held Thursday at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City.
LONDON (AP) - The gown that an 18-year-old Elizabeth Taylor wore for her first wedding to hotel heir Conrad "Nicky" Hilton Jr. has fetched 121,875 pounds ($187,931) at a London auction. Christie's director Nicolette Tomkinson said Wednesday's sale price, more than double the highest estimate, reflected the gown's significance in the history of film and fashion. Taylor wore the cream-colored, seed pearl-encrusted satin dress - complete with waist-cinching built-in corset - to the first of her eight weddings in May 1950. Hundreds of guests including Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire turned up, and studio MGM boasted that "more stars than there are in heaven" attended. Taylor and Hilton divorced months later, and the actress went on to wed seven more times. She died in 2011, aged 79.
NEW YORK (AP) - Paula Deen has lost another job. Smithfield Foods is dropping her as a spokeswoman. Smithfield says it "condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind." QVC and Sears could be next. QVC says it's reviewing their deal to sell Deen's cookbooks and cookware. Sears is doing the same thing. A few days go, the Food Network said it wouldn't renew her contract after she admitted using racial slurs in the past. QVC says it "shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation." They say they have "no immediate plans" to have her on the network. Deen has rescheduled her interview with the "Today" show for tomorrow after pulling out at the last minute last week.
LONDON (AP) - Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes' reinterpretation of "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" is set to open in London's West End. Mendes' show based on the much-loved children's book by Roald Dahl features new songs along with sets and costumes designed to recreate the world of the factory run by the flamboyant yet secretive Willy Wonka. Appearing as the eccentric factory boss Willy Wonka is Douglas Hodge while former "Young Ones" star Nigel Planer plays Grandpa Joe. Stars including Uma Thurman, Lily Allen, Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick are expected to attend the premiere Tuesday at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The story tells of a young boy who finds a golden ticket that allows him a tour of a top-secret candy factory.