Bush Inauguration:
eXoNews Pix of the Week Dept.
Democracy In Action!

A protestor against President George W. Bush (L) and a Bush supporter (R) wave their opinions from the sidelines during the Bush inaugural parade in Washington, January 20, 2005. Anti-war chants competed with pomp and circumstance as Bush's second inauguration took place amid the barricaded streets of central Washington. (REUTERS/ Joe Giza)

January 21, 2005 (eXoNews) - If you watched the Bush Inauguration live on US television, you probably didn't see much of those thousands of anti-Bush protesters in Washington DC. Not to mention the protests in other US cities and coordinated anti-war protests happening in major cities across the globe.

So we thought we'd dispense with the usual News Outside The News this week and show you a couple dozen wire photos of the protests instead. Most of them were peaceful. Only a few arrests. One incident with pepper spray (see below.)

It might take a while to load if you're arriving here at eXoNews via a dial-up connection, so be patient.

Our favorite, this week's Pix of the Week above, shows Americans with two opposing political viewpoints standing side by side and serves as a reminder of why democracy can be a good thing, no matter who gets elected to the White House. Ed.

Protest Photos - January 20, 2005
Demonstrators with posters watch security officers after US President George W. Bush took the oath of office for a second four-year term in Washington, DC. Though the demonstrations were peaceful -- mainly booing of Bush's motorcade and marches and rallies -- about 50 anarchists tried in one incident to push past security checkpoints and advance toward the parade route, but were pushed back by police. (AFP/ Leslie E. Kossoff)
Anti-War Network (DAWN) demonstrators carry mock coffins draped with the US flag as they arrive in downtown Washington, DC for the inauguration of US President George W. Bush. (AFP/ Oscar Mataquin)
Three protesters sit locked to gasoline pumps with bicycle locks, awaiting arrest during a protest in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. At least 2,000 activists marched through downtown Portland, to protest President Bush's inauguration, the Iraq war and the administration's economic and social policies. Police said that from 11 to 15 people were arrested during the day, most of them at the gas station. (AP Photo/ Don Ryan)
A protester burns an American Flag to protest President Bush's second inauguration during a march in downtown Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. (AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer)
Carie Lunsford, right, shouts anti-war slogans during a protest denouncing President Bush's inauguration on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/ Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators gather for a protest denouncing President George W. Bush's inauguration on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/ Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators rally as the parade for the inauguration of US President George W. Bush passes by on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, DC. (AFP/ Paul J. Richards)
Protestors shout as the presidential limousine passes by during the inaugural parade of President Bush in Washington, January 20, 2005. As the president's motorcade made its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House amid the tightest security in inaugural history, thousands of protesters along the parade route and nearby downtown streets booed, chanted slogans and carried placards condemning Bush's policies at home and abroad. (Shannon Stapleton/ Reuters)
A protester dressed as President George W. Bush carries an inflatable globe as another dressed like Vice President Dick Cheney pulls strings like a marionette puppet on the streets of Washington, January 20, 2005 on the day of the presidential inauguration. Thousands of protesters and supporters of Bush gathered in the nation's capital to witness the second inauguration of Bush. (Jason Reed /Reuters)
A demonstrator stands beside coffins draped with American flags as part of a protest to memorialize American soldiers who have died in the war with Iraq at Washington's Malcolm X Park, January 20, 2005. Flag-draped coffins and anti-war chants competed with pomp and circumstance on Thursday at the inauguration of President Bush along the snow-dusted, barricaded streets of central Washington. (Shannon Stapleton/ Reuters)
Protesters hold up signs as U.S. President George W. Bush passes by during the inaugural parade in Washington, January 20, 2005. The entire parade route was lined with heavy security as thousands of anti-Bush protesters turned out to voice their dissent. (REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque)
George W. Bush passes by during the inaugural parade in Washington, January 20, 2005. (REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque)
Police hold their line as U.S. President George W. Bush passes by during the inaugural parade in Washington, January 20, 2005. The entire parade route was lined with heavy security as thousands of anti-Bush protesters turned out. (REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque)
The presidential limousine of President George W. Bush passes protesters assembled along the parade route during the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., January 20, 2005. Anti-war chants competed with pomp and circumstance as the inauguration of Bush for a second term took place amid the barricaded streets of central Washington. (REUTERS/ Joe Giza)
Washington, D.C. riot police march into position near the White House as police clash with protesters during the presidential inaugural parade in Washington, January 20, 2005. Anti-war chants competed with pomp and circumstance during the inauguration of President George W. Bush for a second term as president took place amid the barricaded streets of central Washington. (REUTERS/ Jim Bourg)
Police officers fire streams of pepper spray over a crowd of protesters after demonstrators threw objects over the fence at police as the Bush inaugural parade passed by on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, January 20, 2005. Anti-war chants competed with pomp and circumstance as the inauguration of President George W. Bush for a second term took place amid the barricaded streets of central Washington. (REUTERS/ Jim Bourg)
Vietnam veteran Jim Hart joins other demonstrators at a rally to protest the inauguration of President George W. Bush, at the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. (AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli)
Anti-war protesters march to the state Capitol in Atlanta, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, for a rally. The march was organized by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, joining several Inauguration Day protest marches being held across the nation. (AP Photo/ John Bazemore)
Children stand by a coffin marked with the number 10,000 to represent the dead and hold candles during a protest outside the U.S embassy in London to remember the dead in Iraq January 20, 2005. The silent protest was timed to coincide with the inauguration of U.S. President Bush in Washington. (REUTERS/ Russell Boyce)
W.J. Monagle, a member of the Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice, places a poster depicting President Bush in a mosaic made from photos of U.S. soldiers who have been killed in Iraq before a protest on the steps of the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. The protest was timed to coincide with President Bush's inauguration. (AP Photo/ Danny Johnston)
A Buddhist monk holds up a placard at a rally against U.S. President George W. Bush ahead of his inauguration ceremony to take up the second term as re-elected president in Tokyo, Thursday, Jan 20, 2005. About 150 protesters and activists turned out in the protest near the U.S. embassy. (AP Photo/ Junji Kurokawa)
A South Korean protester holds a sign at a rally near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul January 20, 2005. Dozens of protesters denounced U.S President George W. Bush on Thursday and demanded the U.S. stop occupation in Iraq ahead of his inauguration to be held in Washington D.C.. (REUTERS/ Lee Jae-Won)
A protester is surrounded by anti-Bush posters during a rally Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005 in Manila in time for his inauguration as reelected U.S. president. The protesters accused President George W. Bush as a war monger and violators of human rights with its alleged occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Pat Roque)
Amy Edelen sits on the steps of a monument in front of one of the many signs of protest during a daylong vigil denouncing President Bush and the war in Iraq Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, in Louisville, Ky. While Bush's inauguration was cause for celebration among some Kentuckians, the start of his second term sparked fresh protest from others. (AP Photo/ Ed Reinke)
Inauguration Protests
AP National Writer

Washington January 21, 2005 (AP) - Thousands of people in dozens of cities across the nation walked out of work and school, held mock coronations, intoned the names of the Iraq war dead and held candlelight vigils to show their disapproval of President Bush as he was sworn in for his second term.

From Bridgewater, Mass., to San Francisco, the protesters carried a similar message Thursday, deploring the war in Iraq, angry about the Patriot Act and concerned about the next four years.

"The administration thinks it's got a mandate to continue its policies," said David Williams, a 49-year-old construction company owner from Oakland, Calif., who wore a T-shirt to the San Francisco march with Bush's picture and the description, "International Terrorist."

"This is my way of saying, 'I don't think so.' The Bush administration has no respect for human rights outside the United States and they have no respect for people anywhere else in the world," he said.

Crowds were larger than organizers expected in some communities — more than 1,500 people took to the streets of New Orleans in a "jazz funeral of democracy," an event that took on the appearance of a lugubrious Mardi Gras ball, a raucous street protest, Halloween freak show and traditional New Orleans jazz funeral rolled into one.

About 1,000 people rallied in Seattle, more than 2,000 in Portland, Ore., and several thousand gathered in downtown San Francisco, where protesters waved signs and carried banners with slogans such as "Not Our President," "Drop Bush Not Bombs," and "Hail To The Thief."

There were dozens of smaller rallies, marches and walkouts as well. Two hundred protesters filled a city block marching through downtown Atlanta, 150 marched on the state capitol in Lincoln, Neb., and in Denver, several hundred demonstrators were joined at the state Capitol by a group of women wearing witches' hats who chanted "We've been under a spell." The crowd cheered when they added "But we are waking up."

In Santa Cruz, Calif., about 250 marchers followed a 20-foot-tall Statue of Liberty puppet to the Town Clock in a demonstration where former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern was the featured speaker.

Many demonstrators said the protests were galvanizing, a way to motivate anti-Bush activists.

"We need to build a massive movement for change in this country because it's going to be a bleak four years," said Margo Polley, an organizer with Not in Our Name, which sponsored rallies at the federal courthouse in Seattle.

Besides those in Washington, D.C., there were few arrests — one in Seattle, and another in Portland, Ore., where clusters of Bush supporters got into shouting matches with protesters as they marched by.

But hundreds clashed with police in the nation's capital at the inaugural parade. Gary Gillespie, an activist in Baltimore, said he had planned to travel the 35 miles for the larger demonstrations, but decided "local action" was important.

Many demonstrators said they deliberately avoided watching or listening to the inauguration.

"I missed the whole thing, thank goodness," said Pat Neary, 62, a real estate agent who joined about 50 people gathered on the snowy town common in Bridgewater, Mass.

Associated Press writers Chuck Brown, Sarah Brumfield, Cain Burdeau, Terence Chea, Melanthia Mitchell, Colleen Slevin, Niki Sullivan and Kristen Wyatt contributed to this report.
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Genre News: Point Pleasant, Alyson Hannigan, Charmed, Keanu & Sandra, Stan Lee & More!

The devil's daughter - Elisabeth
Harnois as Christine - not in Jersey (Fox)
Point Pleasant: The Series
By FLAtRich
eXoNews Surf Reporter

Pt. Pleasant Beach NJ January 22, 2005 (eXoNews) - It is currently 22 degrees and snowing in Pt. Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. There are no palm trees here. In fact, there are no leaves on any of the trees here. Only a few pinecones left over for foraging grey squirrels this time of year.

In the new Fox genre series, Point Pleasant, the sky is blue all day and kids are surfing and picnicking on the beach at night. Word has it that the producers of Point Pleasant, who include Marti Noxon (Buffy and Angel) and Dawn Parouse (Tru Calling), took one look at New Jersey and decided it was too gloomy here.

Too grey and cloudy all the time.

Too gloomy for a series about the devil's daughter? Hey, isn't Fox is the network who once took viewers into the depths of darkness with Chris Carter's X-Files and MillenniuM? (Yeah, but Fox also invented the Barbie world of Melrose Place and a multitude of series like Point Pleasant's regular Thursday night lead-in, The O.C.)

So let's get past the biggest question haunting real Pt. Pleasant Beach, New Jersey residents: why didn't Fox just set the show in Southern California if they were shooting it there? Answer: everybody in Southern California watches The Sopranos, but nobody in Southern California understands this question.

Forget about it! Let's look deeper into the mysteries of Point Pleasant, The Series!

The real Point Pleasant - 22 degrees and a blizzard
is fast approaching. (eXoNews)

The premiere episode, which Fox presented following their big hit [gag, retch] American Idol last week, was pretty shallow.

We are introduced to Elisabeth Harnois as lead character, a teenaged Buffy-Lana type named Christina Nickson. Somewhat like the beginning of the now long-dead Fox series John Doe, Christina splashes down into the ocean from nobody knows where.

Hey, it worked for John Doe - except he arrived naked and Christina Nickson drops from the sky fully clothed and carrying a red knapsack. Oh, well. Christina gets naked later.

And get that name? Christina (little Christ) Nickson (old nick is a slang term for the devil + son) Oo-ee-oooh!

All the kids are languishing on the Point Pleasant beach in their bikinis and Speedos when a cold wind blows in from the real New Jersey and mysterious storm clouds gather overhead. Head lifeguard Jesse Parker (Sam Page) and his best pal Terry (Brent Weber) round up Jesse's best gal Paula (Cameron Richardson) and the other babes to send them home when Jesse notices something floating in the water about 100 yards out.

"There's something out there," Jesse tells his frightened friends. They're frightened because there are clouds in the sky, you understand? They wouldn't want to get wet if it rained. This is Point Pleasant, after all.

So, Jesse saves Christina and takes her to local doctor Ben Kramer (Richard Burgi) who puts her to bed. When Christina wakes up, she instantly becomes an adopted member of the Kramer family and meets daughter Judy (Aubrey Dollar) and mom Meg (Susan Walters). There is also a dog, but we don't see him until the next episode.

That's about it for hard plot in the pilot, which was co-written by Marti Noxon and John Mclaughlin. There are some soapy and spook side threads dropped along the way.

On the soapy side, Jesse's gal Paula is jealous of Christina, who is hot for Jesse. Best friend Terry is hot for Paula. Jesse fantasizes about getting it on with Christina (and Christina gets naked - we told you she would!) Terry gets it on with Paula in a heated pool. (Forget really doing it in a heated pool! Better bring Viagra, boys!) Doctor Ben is hot for Paula's mom (Dina Meyer). Doctor's wife Meg is still getting over the death of her other daughter, which makes Judy feel bad. Jesse's dad (Alex Carter) is the town cop and jealous of Jesse's mom who is very religious but did some unnamable bad thing in the past.

Resident bad Lucas Boyd (Grant Show)
in Fox's Point Pleasant. (Fox)

Christina, on the spooky, is the subject of a dialogue between two suits on a park bench in the Big City (perhaps New York, or maybe, in keeping with the show's location confusion, Sacramento?) The conversation tips us that Christina's father is a Really Big Bad, maybe even The Devil! (Oo-ee-oooh!)

One of the suits on the bench is James Morrison (Space: Above and Beyond and many wonderful genre guest shots), who wants to protect Christina's innocence despite her dark parentage. The other guy says Christina will probably like being bad, what with her being Satan's kid and all.

Proving the bad suit right, Christina blows up Jesse's truck at a gas station because she is jealous of Jesse and Paula. (There's also a bit where a local priest gets stung to death by an evil swarm of bees, but that's not really Christina's fault - or is it?)

Oh, and Christina has the Sign of The Devil imprinted stylishly in the cornea of one eye. (Oo-ee-oooh!)

Whew! Was I glad when that was over!

But Fox came right back the next night with another episode of Point Pleasant, this time written entirely by Marti Noxon, and things got better. Not a lot better, because Marti seems to have lost the comic edge she learned working for Buffy creator Joss Whedon, but certainly deeper.

What this show really needs is Xander
Harris (Nicholas Brendon)

I'm not going to summarize the whole second episode, but let's just say that the suits (Wolfram & Hart?) send in a resident bad named Lucas Boyd (Grant Show, remember him from Melrose Place? Neither do I - why are bad guys always named Lucas?) And Lucas tips Christina that she may just be even badder than him.

And, of course, Paula's slut mom goes after Lucas and Doctor Ben, Jesse and Christina make out, etc.

Lack of comic edge is the key to my disappointment with Point Pleasant. I can live with palm trees in New Jersey, but Marti Noxon gave us Leather Willow, for Beelzebub's sake! Marti wrote the Buffy Meets Dracula episode! Where are the yucks, Marti? Where are the wise cracks? Where the hell is Xander Harris?

Will Marti take my advice and lighten up Point Pleasant, The Series? Will Point Pleasant, The Series even survive on Fox long enough to air its meager 13 episode first season order? (The ratings are not promising - the second episode scored only 4.1/6, a 49% drop from the pilot, which wasn't all that high at 8.0/11 the previous night considering its [gag, retch] American Idol lead-in. Mediaweek's guru Mark Berman is already calling it a loser.)

Tune in next week. Or don't. Watch CSI forever for all I care. (Meanwhile, Marti, there is a full-scale blizzard happening right now in Pt. Pleasant Beach, New Jersey!)

Point Pleasant Official - http://www.fox.com/pointpleasant

Alyson Hannigan to Veronica Mars

Alyson Hannigan poses for photographers in London.
(Stephen Hird/ Reuters)

January 22, 2005 (eXoNews) - Alyson Hannigan has been signed to appear on the UPN show Veronica Mars playing the sister of Jason Dohring (Logan) according to E! Online's Kristin. It does seem to be true, even though Kristin was the same gossip columnist who once told us all that Angel had been confirmed for a sixth season.

Alyson Hannigan played Sarah Michelle Gellar's pal Willow for seven years on Buffy and Angel.

Kristin quotes Veronica Mars' creator, Rob Thomas as saying he begged Hannigan to join the cast and Hannigan "said she loved the show. She knew everything that was going on and she's a really big Jason Dohring fan."

She also reports that Jason Dohring thinks adding Hannigan to Veronica will be "great, 'cause Alyson will bring the Buffy crowd."

We'll see. I don't think that many of us Buffy fans have ever seen Veronica Mars, which has only been with us for one season. Like Fox, UPN, which former Roswell producer Jonathan Frakes dubbed "the UnPopular Network", drops most of their genre shows after a season or two, so why invest time watching them?

Hope it isn't a mistake for Alyson.

Veronica Mars airs Tuesdays at 9 PM on UPN. Alyson Hannigan will join the show during February sweeps.

Veronica Mars Official - http://www.upn.com/shows/veronica_mars_tmpl

The Charmed Ones' Final Spell?

The ever-Charming Rose

Hollywood January 21, 2005 (Sci Fi Wire) - Brad Kern, longtime executive producer of The WB's Charmed, told SCI FI Wire that he's still not received word as to whether or not the network intends to renew the fantasy show for an eighth season, and he added that if he doesn't hear by late February, he'll write a series finale.

"They really want the right to hold off as long as they can, and they have that right," Kern said in an interview. "I only keep appealing to them on behalf of the fans, that the fans deserve a series finale if this is going to be the last season."

Kern added, "That means I need some advance notice. At the same time I don't want to hold a gun to their heads and bug them so much that they finally say, 'Listen, if you want us to tell you now then you're gone.'

"So it's a balancing act. I'm trying to cajole them on behalf of the fans, so that I can write a series finale, if that's the way it's going to be. At the same time I don't want to force their hand prematurely and have it be bad news."

"Honestly, if I don't know by the end of February I'm going to write a series finale, and if they pick up the show late, I'll have to worry about how to get out of it next year," Kern said.

"But I cannot, in good conscience, not do a series finale for the fans. I'm beholden to them. We all are. Seven years is a long time, a huge commitment on their part. So if I haven't heard from [the network] by the end of February I'm writing a series finale, and if we're lucky enough to do an eighth season I'll figure out how to get out of it."

Charmed airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Charmed Official - http://www.thewb.com/Shows/Show/0,7353,||156,00.html

John Goodman Sitcom Pulled
By Nellie Andreeva

John Goodman

LOS ANGELES January 21, 2005 (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS has pulled the freshman John Goodman comedy "Center of the Universe" off the schedule, effective immediately.

The network will air "The King of Queens" reruns in the Wednesday 9:30 p.m. time slot until veteran "Yes, Dear" returns to the schedule and takes over the time period Feb. 16.

"King of Queens" and "Yes, Dear" ran in a Monday 8-9 p.m. block during the 2002-03 season.

"Center of the Universe," which boasted an all-star cast also including Jean Smart, Ed Asner and Olympia Dukakis, struggled to hold onto its "King of Queens" lead-in. In November, CBS ordered two additional episodes and six scripts from producer Warner Bros. TV, bringing the total order to 15 episodes.

Betty White Nude?

Betty White. (AP/Chris Pizzello)

NEW YORK January 21, 2005 (AP) - Actress Betty White — yes, that Betty White — goes flesh-toned for a scene in her new TV movie.

During the filming of the Hallmark Channel original movie "Annie's Point," White, 83, and co-star Amy Davidson went bare, sort of, for a grandmother-granddaughter skinny-dipping scene.

"We were not method acting," White said in a statement Friday. "We had little strapless bathing suits on. I mean, we can act like we're naked."

But they couldn't act like they weren't cold. The non-heated pool caused both actresses' teeth to chatter during their scenes, which were shot at 2 a.m.

"It was so cold! It was freezing," Davidson said.

"I was scared to death for her. I'm like, `Get this woman out of the pool!' But the director was great because he did the scene as fast as we could."

In "Annie's Point," White, best known for her role as Rose Nylund on television's "The Golden Girls," plays a grandmother who travels over 2,000 miles with her free-spirited granddaughter to spread her husband's ashes over a bluff.

In case you want to turn away, the skinny-dipping scene occurs halfway through the movie, which premieres Saturday night.

Hallmark Official - http://www.hallmarkent.com

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock Reunited

LOS ANGELES January 19, 2005 (AFP) - The stars of the 1994 mega-hit thriller "Speed", Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, are set to team up again in a romantic comedy that will begin shooting later this year.

Reeves and Bullock in Speed

The pair have signed on to co-star in Warner Bros.' studios "Il Mare", which will be directed by Argentinean filmmaker Alejandro Agresti, according to Daily Variety.

The script for the movie, an English-language remake of a South Korean film Siworae (2000), will be written by Pulitzer-winning playwright David Auburn.

Bullock will play a lonely doctor opposite Reeves' frustrated architect who fall in love through a series of letters they exchange through a mailbox that mysteriously bridges time.

The film, to be produced by Vertigo Entertainment's Roy Lee and Doug Davison, is scheduled to begin shooting in March and will be released in early 2006.

Reeves is the star of the hit "Matrix" movies while Bullock, who shot to fame in the terror thriller "Speed," starred in "Miss Congeniality" (2000), the sequel to which, "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous," is due out this year.

[I saw a theatrical preview for Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous last week and I predict it will be a smash hit. Sandra Bullock is really great, isn't she? And she has Bill Shatner in that one too! Ed.]

Nick Cage and Wes Bently Do Marvel's Ghost Rider
By Liza Foreman

LOS ANGELES January 21, 2005 (Hollywood Reporter) - Wes Bentley has signed on to play the bad guy opposite Nicolas Cage in the Marvel Comics adaptation "Ghost Rider."

The Columbia project stars Cage in the title role. He plays a former motorcycle stuntman who agrees to let his body become host to a vengeful spirit, Ghost Rider, a bike-riding demon, to secure the safety of his true love. Bentley will play Black Heart. Mark Steven Johnson ("Daredevil") is directing.

"Ghost" previously was set up at Dimension Films, with "Blade" veteran David S. Goyer attached to direct. Bentley most recently appeared in the 2002 release "The Four Feathers." His breakthrough role was as a disturbed neighbor in 1999's "American Beauty."

Stan Lee Due Millions from Marvel

Stan Lee (AP Photo/ Matt Sayles)

NEW YORK January 19, 2005 (AP)- Stan Lee, co-creator of such characters as "Spider-Man" and "The Hulk," could be about to lay a mighty blow on Marvel Enterprises Inc.'s pocket book.

A judge in Manhattan federal court has ruled that Lee, chairman emeritus at the comic-book publisher, is entitled to 10 percent of the profits from movie and television productions involving Marvel characters, as well as movie-related toys manufactured and sold by the company itself.

It also determined that a claim to share profits from Marvel's ventures with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Studios to produce Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk merchandise will have to be resolved by jury verdict.

"This is pretty much a sweeping victory for us," said Lee's attorney Howard Graff of the firm Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky of New York.

Responding Wednesday, Marvel noted the court rejected Lee's claim to share in money from third-party manufacturers of movie-based merchandise.

"We intend to appeal those matters on which we did not prevail and to continue to contest vigorously the claims on which the court did not rule," Marvel General Counsel John Turitzin said in a statement Wednesday. He said the ruling would not affect the company's financial forecasts.

FCC Chairman Powell Quits
Associated Press Writer

FCC's Michael K. Powell (AFP)

WASHINGTON January 21, 2005 (AP) - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell, who opposed tight regulation of telecommunications but backed unprecedented fines against broadcast indecency, announced Friday he is resigning.

Powell, who has held the job for four years, said in a statement that he informed President Bush that he would depart in March.

Powell, the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, who also is leaving the Bush administration, said he had completed a "bold and aggressive agenda" and looked forward to spending more time with his wife and two sons.

"Chairman Powell has been a valued member of the administration," White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said. "He has shown a strong commitment to expand the reach of new communications technologies and services and has helped advance the president's goal that all Americans should have access to affordable broadband by 2007."

There was no immediate word on a successor.

Powell cited the growing popularity of cell phones, digital television, and digital music players as evidence of the technological advances during his tenure.

"Evidence of our success can be seen increasingly in the offices, the automobiles and the living rooms of the American consumer," Powell said. "The seeds of our policies are taking firm root in the marketplace and are starting to blossom."

Jonathan Cody, a friend and FCC adviser to Powell on media ownership, said Powell assessed his tenure at the FCC during the holidays and felt that he had accomplished his goals.

Powell, a champion of deregulation who critics had said was too pro-big business, rose from commissioner to chairman when Bush took office in 2001. His term was to run until 2007.

While tackling complex issue ranging from telephone competition to rules for media ownership, Powell is perhaps best known for overseeing a dramatic crackdown on broadcast indecency that began before the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during singer Janet Jackson's Super Bowl halftime performance last February.

The FCC received more than 1 million indecency complaints in 2004, most of them involving Jackson. CBS is contesting a proposed FCC fine of $550,000 for the incident.

Fines for indecent programming exceeded $7.7 million last year, a huge increase from the $48,000 imposed the year before Powell became chairman. Powell has praised the record fines, saying the commission was "wielding our sword" to protect children and viewers who object to racy programming.

"It's the most uncomfortable area you'd ever want to work in, enforcement," Powell said of indecency fines at a July 2004 symposium. "I'm a big believer in the First Amendment, but often I'm incredibly uneasy about lines we have to draw. No one takes pleasure in trying to decide whether this potty-mouth word or that potty-mouth word is a violation of the law."

No show produced more FCC fines than that of raunchy radio personality Howard Stern, who last October confronted Powell in a surprise phone call while the FCC chairman was a guest on KGO-AM radio in San Francisco.

Stern accused Powell of using the FCC to stifle free speech on radio and TV and contended Powell got the job because of his family name. Powell responded, "I think it's a cheap shot to say just because my father is famous, I don't belong in my position."

Powell also told Stern, "I don't think that, you know, we have made any particular crusade of the Howard Stern show or you."

Stern accused Powell of using the FCC
to stifle free speech on radio and TV

Powell led the Republican-dominated FCC in easing decades-old rules governing ownership of newspapers and television and radio stations. The commission approved changes in 2003 that allow individual companies to own TV stations reaching nearly half the nation's viewers and combinations of newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same community.

Major media companies said the changes were needed because the old regulations hindered their ability to grow and compete in a market altered by cable television, satellite broadcasting and the Internet.

But lawmakers from both parties and a broad range of groups criticized the changes, saying the FCC regulations give large media companies too much control over what people see, hear and read.

Congress and the courts are considering several efforts to modify or repeal the rules.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Powell "instinctively sided with industry," but praised him for fighting to allow consumers to keep their cell phone numbers when they switch carriers.

"This is an important achievement and is one that will lead to increased competition and better service for all cell phone users," Schumer said.

An aide to Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said Stevens has recommended to Bush that a former Stevens adviser, Washington attorney Earl Comstock, be nominated for the spot on the commission once Powell steps down.

But Stevens' office said there have been no discussions with the White House as to who should assume the chairmanship.

Federal Communications Commission: http://www.fcc.gov

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