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People

Comedian accused of assault

Twain
Plimpton

Comedian Katt Williams has been arrested after a man told Oakland, Calif., police that the entertainer hit him over the head with a bottle.

Authorities say the 41-year-old Williams was briefly taken into custody on suspicion of assault Wednesday night after the apparent victim said he was attacked aboard a tour bus that was parked outside a downtown hotel.

New ‘Today’ boss

NBC News is staying in-house in its effort to turn around the “Today” show.

The network on Wednesday appointed a 23-year veteran of the morning news show as its new executive producer. Don Nash began working for “Today” as a production assistant in NBC’s Burbank office in 1989 and will now run the broadcast.

Nash was most recently senior broadcast producer in the show’s control room. He replaces Jim Bell, who shifted to NBC Sports to run its Olympics broadcasts.

NBC also appointed Alexandra Wallace as the network’s executive in charge of the program.

Twain rides in

Country music star Shania Twain arrived on horseback Wednesday for a two-year headline gig at Caesars Palace, parading up the Las Vegas Strip with a herd of 40 horses.

Promoters called the event a stampede, but hooves were kept to a steady, slow gait by nine wranglers who escorted Twain to a reception crowd of several hundred people in front of the famous Caesars fountains.

Book awards

The National Book Awards honored both longtime writers and new authors, from Louise Erdrich for “The Round House” to Katherine Boo for her debut work, “Beyond the Beautiful Forevers.”

Erdrich, 58, has been a published and highly regarded author for nearly 30 years but had never won a National Book Award until being cited Wednesday for her story, the second of a planned trilogy, about an Ojibwe boy and his quest to avenge his mother’s rape. A clearly delighted and surprised Erdrich, who’s part Ojibwe, spoke in her tribal tongue and then switched to English as she dedicated her fiction award to “the grace and endurance of native people.”

The works of two other winners also centered on young boys – Boo’s for nonfiction, and William Alexander’s fantasy “Goblin Secrets,” for young people’s literature. David Ferry won for poetry.

Happy birthday

Among celebrity birthdays today: Actor David Leisure is 62. Actress Marg Helgenberger is 54. Jazz singer Diana Krall is 48. Guitarist Dave Kushner is 46. Actress Lisa Bonet is 45. Singer Bryan Abrams is 43. Actress Martha Plimpton is 42. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is 35. Singer Siva Kaneswaran of The Wanted is 24.

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