News Nuggets: Meryl Streep to present Shirley MacLaine with AFI Life Achievement Award

Meryl Streep will present Shirley MacLaine with AFI Life Achievement Award. From the press release: “The private black tie gala will be held at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on June 7 and will air on TV Land on Sunday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT … ‘The world loves Shirley MacLaine,’ said Bob Gazzale, President and CEO of AFI.  ‘AFI’s challenge will be how to fit it all into one evening because hers is a life that spans from movies to television to Broadway, books and beyond.  Perhaps more than any other recipient, with Shirley I would underline the word life in Life Achievement Award,’ he said. ‘Hers is a story more than just movies. It’s an epic journey, and she has invited all of us to come along for the ride.'”

Matt Roush sings the praises of “The Middle“: “I haven’t seen a sitcom world this authentically lived-in since the Conners of the legendary ‘Roseanne,’ which incredibly was never nominated for a best comedy Emmy. ‘The Middle’ may well suffer that same fate. Living in ‘Modern Family‘s’ more sophisticated shadow, this series may hit too close to home for an industry more likely to embrace the droll absurdities of a ‘Parks and Recreation.’ As a former Hoosier, I can tell you the Indiana of ‘The Middle’s’ Orson is more genuine than Peabody-winning ‘Parks” Pawnee, which feels more San Fernando than Wabash Valley.” TV GUIDE

Patricia Heaton earns a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: “After more than 30 years in show biz, she got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a 15-minute ceremony attended by her television husbands, Ray Romano (‘Everybody Loves Raymond’) and Neil Flynn (‘The Middle’), as well as a cheering section of friends and family from Cleveland. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa capped the tribute by proclaiming it Patricia Heaton Day in Hollywood. ‘I’m overwhelmed,’ she said. ‘I came to Hollywood 20 years ago at the age of 30. I had no agent and no manager, which sort of made me like Seabiscuit. God opened a door for me and by God I mean Ray Romano.'” THE PLAIN DEALER

The Tony Awards host its second annual Tony Awards Showcase in New York. From the press release: “The Tony Awards will host the second annual Tony Awards Showcase at the Times Square Museum and Visitor Center (located on Seventh Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets).  The Tony Awards Showcase will run from today through the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 30th. Admission to the 2012 Tony Showcase is free to the public. ‘We are thrilled to be able to once again share these pieces of Tony history with Broadway fans, both here in New York City, and those visiting from around the world,’ said Heather Hitchens, Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing.”

Neil Patrick Harris talks about Tony Awards hosting anxiety: “I’m rarely nervous while it’s happening. A whole other energy kicks in in that situation because not only am I conscious of how I’m performing the content that I have to do, but I’m also having to be very aware of how long we are, whether we need to trim bits or just have a voice-over do an announcement. If something crazy happens, referencing it and if so, what’s the joke? There’s a whole lot of creative brainstorming that goes on throughout the show. So, being nervous really isn’t an option at that point. I’m much more nervous right now (laughs), 2 ½ weeks out. Right now I’m very nervous, but as we get closer to the day, and we lock things that we’re confident in, then my job is just to read the teleprompter.” WALL STREET JOURNAL

More performances announced for the 2012 CMT Music Awards. From the press release: “The star power on the 2012 CMT MUSIC AWARDS stage is getting hotter with the addition of Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Pistol Annies, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry and Hank Williams, Jr. as performers on this year’s show.  The 2012 CMT Music Awards will air live on Wednesday, June 6 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT on CMT and Toby Keith, who was previously announced as host of this year’s show with actress Kristen Bell, will return to the stage as the only artist to have performed at every CMT Music Awards since its 2002 launch.”

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