Lazy Sunday News: Back to Hobbiton, Goodbye Paula, Futurama losing its voices

by W. Andrew Powell

The America Idol judges

The America Idol judges

LOTR Prequels: Lord of the Rings fans can rejoice a little this week as one set begins to take shape for Guillermo del Toro‘s prequel films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Scheduled for release in December of 2011 and December 2012, reported that construction has started on the latest incarnation of the Hobbiton set, which is being rebuilt in the same location as the original set for the Lord of the Rings films, near Matamata, New Zealand.

Photos from the set show that, in addition to construction work, greenery is being planted and several additions are being made, including building a number of new Hobbit holes.

In related news, rumours are also circling that a lead actor will be announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week, and the LA Times blog Hero Complex suggests that a few potential stars could be David Tennant, James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, or… Jack Black.


American Idol Judges: On the topic of American Idol, which begins the latest audition process in August, there is serious talk that Paul Abdul will not be returning for the show’s ninth season.

While this could just be a ploy to get more money out of Fox, Abdul’s new manager, David Sonenberg, told the Los Angeles Times that the former pop star had not received a new contract from the show’s production companies.

Since filming is not set to begin until August 6, that technically means that Abdul has a couple of more weeks to sign a new contract, and a lot can happen in that time.

As many have pointed out, this comes just a week after host Ryan Seacrest signed a three year deal worth up to $45 million.

Earlier this summer judge Simon Cowell threatened that he might not return for the latest season, although he is reportedly in negotiations still. Randy Jackson has already signed a new contract, and Kara DioGuardi has said she wanted to return for the next season, but nothing has been confirmed yet.


Cartoon Revival: Cartoon fans may have brightened up over the news that Futurama will return to television for 26 new episodes, but the bad news is that Comedy Central may have to replace the entire cast.

Futurama is expected back on the air in mid-season 2010, but casting is underway to replace the previous voice talent since agreements could not be made with any of the original stars.

Stars set for replacement include Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Billy West, and Tress MacNeille.

While nothing is certain yet, the problem seems to be that the original cast is asking for large pay increases that Comedy Central does not want to agree on.

Based on the popularity of the Futurama direct-to-DVD titles, an agreement is likely forthcoming, but in the meantime series fans are already fighting for their favorite performers to return to the show.

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