EXCLUSIVE: Judge Judy weighs in on Jeanine Pirro’s new TV show

I was in Larchmont today covering a young women’s mentorship program sponsored by Judy Sheindlin, star of the court room show Judge Judy. She said she knows Jeanine Pirro, so I asked Sheindlin what she thought about Pirro’s own court show that debuted this week.tjndc5-5i3tpfwkob51jm8bzfc2_original.jpg

“I haven’t watched the show yet but I will get to see it,” Sheindlin said. “I’m sure she’s terrific.”

As a TV judge veteran, she also had some advice for Pirro, Westchester’s former firecracker district attorney.

“Just be yourself and have a good time,” she said. “Don’t let anyone run you — but you don’t have to tell that to Jeanine.”

Sheindlin lives in Greenwich and is no stranger to the Hudson Valley. Her son Adam Levy is Putnam County’s district attorney and her daughter Nicole Sheindlin lives in Larchmont and is the executive director of Her Honor, the mentorship program I was covering.

You can read my story about the mentorship program here.

( Photo by Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News )

Greenlights aren’t what they used to be

The writer’s strike has been over for almost a month now, but to look at the list of stalled movies, all of which had previously gotten the green light from studios, it feels like Hollywood is still on hiatus. Here are just a few that have ties to Lower Hudson Valley residents (or natives) and, according to Variety, are going nowhere fast:

aaron-sorkin.jpg• “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” to be directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin (right), was supposed to start shooting in April, but has now been put on hold. It looks like it won’t begin filming now until summer and fall, and Spielberg and Sorkin are planning to use the additional time to tighten their script. With a potentially blockbuster cast (among the names rumored on IMDB: Will Smith, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kevin Spacey, Colin Hanks, and Jeff Bridges), it’ll be interesting to see if the actors will still be available months and months down the road.

joseph-cross.jpg• “Justice League of America,” was once rumored to have Pelham’s Joseph Cross (right), of “Running with Scissors” fame, as one of its Hall of Justice superheros. And while the entire cast is still up in the air, the Variety account says that, despite delays, Warner Bros. is still trying desperately to begin shooting in mid-July, hoping for a summer ’09 release. Alas, that script needs work, too, and isn’t due to be finished for over a month.

ron-howard.jpg• “Angels and Demons,” Ron Howard’s “Da Vinci Code” prequel, appears to be the only film with a rock-solid plan. Shooting, which was supposed to begin before the strike, is now set to commence in Rome on June 5. Howard, who lives in Greenwich, “will spend three weeks shooting all of the film’s exterior scenes,” says Variety. “The rest of the film will be shot on Sony soundstages, where sets will wait, if necessary, until an actor’s strike is over. That allowed Sony to somewhat contain the costs to halt and re-start the picture.”

“Film greenlights in limbo” [Variety]

Travolta and family shack up in Greenwich

sendbinary.jpgGiven the non-stop Travolta sightings in the LoHud region this last month — while filming “Old Dogs” in Stamford, Shea Stadium, Central Park, etc — perhaps it should have been obvious that the star had found a temporary home here. Sure enough, UPI reports that the whole Travolta, including wife Kelly Preston and 7-year-old daughter, Ella, has relocated. And what’s more, all three have roles in the film (which also stars Robin Williams and Mamaroneck native Matt Dillon).

The Travolta house is on Round Hill Road, although the owners did not reveal the exact address.

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Ron Howard’s ‘Frost/Nixon’ film a go

tjndc5-5eg5uuypuau12c1uioa8_layout.jpg
Thanks to the raves it’s getting on Broadway, the film version of “Frost/Nixon” already has a green light. The play just debuted on the Great White Way April 22, and the movie will begin shooting in August. It’ll be directed by Greenwich resident Ron Howard, and adapted for the screen by the play’s author, Peter Morgan. According to Variety, both Frank Langella and Michael Sheen will likely reprise their roles as Richard Nixon and David Frost.

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How do you say ‘you’re pregnant’ to Bryce Dallas Howard — in Turkish?

tjndc5-5bsuizcbuu9mpu0f13p_layout.jpgIf you thought starting a blog about Lower Hudson Valley celebrities was a bit of a stretch, what about one devoted entirely to the adulation of celebuspawn? Meet the Celebrity Baby Blog.

It’s an impressively narrow scope for a blog. So, outside of the regular posts on Shiloh and Suri, how do they keep things fresh? For starters, like us, they’re quick to break out Byram Hills grad Bryce Dallas Howard.

This post about the Spider-Man 3 star reveals more than you could have ever wanted to know about her two-month-old son Theo (good name). Among the random trivia (most of which was gleaned from an appearance Howard made on “The Tonight Show”): Howard and her husband Seth Gabel learned she was pregnant a week after their wedding, while on a Turkish cruise ship with the extended Howard clan. During the trip she started to feel ill and decided to take a pregnancy test. Unfortunately, the test her dad, Ron Howard (of Greenwich), and other family members bought wasn’t all that useful: It was written entirely in Turkish.

When nobody else on the boat spoke Turkish, she found a tour guide to translate. “We got to the end of that phrase and I was like, Okay, so what does that mean?” Howard said. “And he said, ‘Put the stick between your legs and urinate.’ Finally we got down to the bottom and he figured out and said, Congratulations, youre pregnant.”

Click the link below for plenty more details on Bryce’s baby — like how Howard ditched her plan for a homebirth, how Ron showed up in the delivery room to direct, and then how Ron turned as green as “The Grinch” when Theo made his debut.

“How Bryce Dallas Howard found out she was pregnant” [Celebrity Baby Blog]

(AP Photo/Phil McCarten)

Time to put Stephanie Seymour, Vera Wang, and Rita Cosby up on the big board

In case you haven’t noticed, the Suburbarazzi Star Map (in our sidebar on the right) has been getting semi-regular updates and additions since we launched it in March. Star spotter Michelle Carter helped us fill out much of Putnam County and Northern Westchester last week, with pushpins going in for Dar Williams (Cold Spring), George Pataki (Garrison), Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman, from Peekskill), and Sally Jesse Raphael (Montrose).

Here are just a few of the recent additions (see the sidebar for our full slate of celeb sightings):
<iframe src=”http://www.platial.com/map/17233?IFRAMEMODE=true” style=”width:400px;height:300px;” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”2″></iframe>

Also, since our company has purchased a couple newspapers in Connecticut, I’ve been seeking to add more sightings in that state. One slight problem: I hardly know anything about the CT celebrity scene. Working for two years as an editor at the InTown magazines gave me a pretty solid base of knowledge in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam, but for the Nutmeg State, I need to turn to other reliable sources. Actually, all I really need is one: Susie Costaregni’s gossip column in the Stamford Advocate.

I’ve been sourcing Susie since we started this blog, but now her column is helping populate the CT portion of our star map. Thanks to her story last Sunday, we now have Greenwich residents Stephanie Seymour, Rita Cosby, Tommy Hilfiger, and Lara Spencer on the map, as well as Westchester’s Vera Wang, Chynna Phillips, and Billy Baldwin. Thanks, Susie!
Susie Costaregni column [The Advocate]

Howard on board for ‘Da Vinci Code’ prequel

tjndc5-5dl7iljj6w5uu87uf7e_layout.jpgNot that anyone ever seriously doubted whether Greenwich resident Ron Howard and his buddy Tom Hanks would reunite to adapt Dan Brown’s “Angels & Demons” for the big screen, but now it’s official.

After all, despite being a snoozefest and getting one of the worst critical drubbings in recent memory, the first one did make $758 million. Sony Pictures has set January as the start date for “A&D” to begin filming, and reportedly Akiva Goldsman is going to do the screenplay (again) — this time about a mysterious murder and age-old mystery involving the Illuminati and the Vatican.
Hanks, Howard near ‘Da Vinci’ prequel – CNN.com

(AP Photo/Glenn Cratty, American Society of Cinematographers)

The new Howard on the block

tjndc5-5czsn0oj7hs1fea011mp_layout.jpgMeet Paige Howard, the latest offspring of Greenwich director Ron Howard to follow in Opie’s acting footsteps.

A 21-year-old NYU theater student, Paige has been cast as the lead in a revival of “Mary Rose,” by “Peter Pan” playwright J.M. Barrie, which just opened on Feb. 1 at the Vineyard Theater in NYC. The play is about a young woman’s disappearance and mysterious return to her family, and it also stars veteran Keir Duella (pictured here with Howard).

OK, now I’m gonna make a few bold predictions: Paige will star in two or three more Broadway productions, star in a couple films by the next up-and-coming Hollywood director (say, Christopher Nolan), and then become the love interest in “Spiderman 4.” Anyway, that’s the exact path sister Bryce Dallas Howard took — NYU to off-Broadway to Shymalan’s “Village” and “Lady in the Water” to Spidey 3’s hot mamma.

Unlike Bryce, however, Paige didn’t attend Byram Hills HS in Armonk. According to this Women’s Wear Daily interview, she went to an all-girls boarding school in Maryland. Also interesting: Ron wouldn’t let any of his daughters work profesionally until age 18; the Howard clan stays in touch via videoconferencing; and Paige has a twin sister, Jocelyn.

No word yet on whether Jocelyn’s been bit by the acting bug, too, but if the Howard clan manages to dilute the redheaded acting pool any further, we may just have to lock up David Caruso (again) to restore some sense of equilibrium.

“Paige Howard to star in ‘Mary Rose’ at Vineyard” [TheaterMania]

(AP Photo/Sam Rudy Media Relations/Carol Rosegg)

How did Judge Judy make Forbes’s list of the 20 Richest Women in Entertainment?

tjndc5-5b1x0rxeyd21cdkyugqo_layout.jpgOr more to the point, how is it possible that a daytime TV judge could somehow have more money than Nicole Kidman and Cameron Diaz?

The Forbes list, which came out yesterday, includes the usual list of suspects: Oprah, J.K. Rowling, Martha Stewart, Madonna. But by far the most surprising name on the list is Greenwich resident Judy Sheindlin, who came in at #13, just behind Britney Spears. Judy’s net worth: $95 million. Apparently, that number was derived from a $100 million four-year contract she signed for her show.

Who knew that Judy was commanding a David Beckham-caliber salary? Furthermore, did her husband, Jerry — who practices law in Putnam — get a similar salary when he was on “The People’s Court” back in the late ’90s?

Suddenly Jeanine Pirro’s career change is starting to make a whole lot more sense.

“The 20 Richest Women in Entertainment” [Forbes]

(Judge Judy: Gannett Photo Network)

Why does Bedford’s Billy Baldwin never come to our Wine & Food Expo?

tjndc5-5cfesi4k3ua1n3psnzf_layout.jpgDoes Greenwich’s Bobby Valentine Celebrity Wine and Food Experience have something the Journal News’s Wine and Food Expo doesn’t? I mean, besides half the Mets roster and players from the Giants, Jets, Rangers, and UConn women’s basketball team. At least the tickets to ours only cost $75 — half the price of the $150 “Experience,” Billy!

That was just one of the items in this week’s Susie Costaregni gossip column in the Stanford Advocate. Among the other interesting nuggets:

• The Clintons like walking their chocolate lab at Rockefeller State Park.

• John Mayer grew up in Fairfield, CT (and goes back there for Starbucks).

• Mary Tyler Moore shops on Greenwich Avenue.

(AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)

Suburb-arazzi Challenge: Name that Howard!

Ron and Ryan HowardQuick, who is Ron Howard?

A. The Hollywood film director who helmed The Da Vinci Code, A Beautiful Mind, and Cinderella Man, and lives in Greenwich, CT

B. The Phillies slugger who just won the National League MVP

Guessed A? Congratulations, you’re now smarter than Philadelphia Mayor John Street, who managed to have several successive brain farts while complementing the wrong man at a ceremony honoring RYAN, not Ron, Howard.

“Mayor Sticks Foot in Mouth at Ryan Howard Day” [NBC10]

Spend your weekend with Opie

Fans of the great red-headed one, unite! Ron Howard will be at the Ridgefield Playhouse this weekend to screen directors cuts of “Cinderella Man” and “Cocoon.” One hopes that the dueling Lieberman and Lamont show up for some feel-good filmmaking, and then either duke it out or ride off into the sunset with aquatic aliens.

Although the “Cinderella Man” screening and Q&A on Saturday, 7:30 p.m., is sold out, as always we suggest calling the box office anyway (203-438-5795, ‘tell em we sent you). Tickets for the other screening — “Cocoon on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m. — are still available.

And while we’re on the subject of Ron Howard, can anyone settle a longstanding debate we’ve had in our office: Does the man live in Armonk or Greenwich? A recent issue of Esquire said the former, while Wikipedia and other sources point to the latter. Anyone know for sure?