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Braff to debut on Broadway

Braff
Cusack

Zach Braff will make his Broadway debut next year in a musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s crime caper “Bullets Over Broadway.”

“Bullets Over Broadway” follows a struggling young playwright who is forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his latest drama. Braff will play the hero.

Performances will start in 2014 at the St. James Theatre.

Trademark debated

Will.i.am says a trademark Pharrell’s company tried to register is too similar to his “I AM” trademark.

Will.i.am has owned the “I AM” trademark since 2001. He filed oppositions in March and May against Pharrell’s company, i am OTHER. It launched in 2010.

In a statement Thursday, will.i.am’s attorney Ken Hertz says trademark lawyers for will.i.am and Pharrell “discussed the matter for several months.” He says because of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s deadlines, will.i.am “had no choice but to lodge his objection at the time he did.”

‘Today’ ratings up

Judging by the television ratings, one place where chef Paula Deen is welcome is on the “Today” show.

The NBC morning show beat its rivals at ABC’s “Good Morning America” with a Thursday episode that featured Matt Lauer’s interview with the celebrity chef. Deen is trying to keep her career cooking following admissions that she had used a racial slur.

The Nielsen company says that “Today” had just under 4.8 million viewers on Thursday, while “GMA” had 4.63 million. It was the first time “Today” had a bigger audience since November during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

On average, the ABC show beat “Today” by 900,000 viewers a day last week.

Welk home for sale

The State Historical Society of North Dakota is considering buying the boyhood home of Lawrence Welk, though some worry the farmstead may not draw many tourists because most of the famed champagne music bandleader’s fans have died or will do so soon.

So the organization proposes to use Welk’s home in the tiny town of Strasburg to also highlight the importance of agriculture and the region’s German-Russian heritage.

“Even with the Welk legacy aside, it’s history worth preserving,” said Sen. Robert Erbele, R-Lehr.

Happy birthday

Among celebrity birthdays today: Comedian-director Mel Brooks is 87. Comedian John Byner is 76. Actor Bruce Davison is 67. Actress Kathy Bates is 65. Actress Alice Krige is 59. Actress Jessica Hecht is 48. Guitarist-violinist Saul Davies is 48. Actress Mary Stuart Masterson is 47. Actor John Cusack is 47. Actor Gil Bellows is 46. Actress Danielle Brisebois is 44. Actress Tichina Arnold is 44. Bassist Tim Nordwind is 37. Bassist Mark Stoermer is 36. Country singer and former “American Idol” contestant Kellie Pickler is 27.

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