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  • Monday, Apr. 21, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The owner of cable networks Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet said Monday that it has agreed to sell information website HowStuffWorks to Blucora Inc. for $45 million.

That's far less than the $250 million Discovery Communications Inc. paid for it in 2007.

HowStuffWorks publishes articles and videos that explain everything from how chocolate eggs are made to whether carrots are good for your eyesight.

Discovery will continue to have access to HowStuffWorks videos after the deal closes and partner with Blucora to provide advertising services for the site.

Blucora, based in Bellevue, Wash., owns search business InfoSpace.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Shares of Silver Spring, Md.-based Discovery slipped 39 cents to $77.44 in afternoon trading. Blucora shares rose 25 cents to $19.44.

  • Monday, Apr. 21, 2014
This Jan. 21, 2014 file photo shows American film producer and director Joss Whedon at the screening of "Much Ado About Nothing" in Paris. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Joss Whedon is releasing a film he wrote as a $5 digital download, bypassing the normal channels of independent film distribution.

In a video announcement Sunday following the premiere of the supernatural romance "In Your Eyes" at the Tribeca Film Festival, Whedon says the film will immediately be released online via Vimeo On Demand and InYourEyesMovie.com.

The film stars Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David. Whedon penned and produced it.

The release will be the second film release for Whedon's "micro studio" Bellwether Productions, following last year's adaptation of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing."

Whedon has experimented previously with digital releases. His 2008 miniseries "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" was among the first high-profile Web series.

Whedon currently is working on the "Avengers" sequel "Age of Ultron," to be released next year.

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  • Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014
In this Sunday, April 13, 2014 file photo, Lana Del Rey performs at the 2014 Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, file)
INDIO, Calif. (AP) -- 

When it first started in 1999, Coachella was a couple of stages and a dance tent. Tickets were $65. A few dusty stands sold hot dogs and Cokes. It was the end of grunge and the start of a new millennium, and it was all about the music. All for one weekend.

Now, tickets start at $375. Gourmet menus and VIP packages abound. And dozens of companies have hopped on the Coachella bandwagon, turning the music festival — now two back-to-back weekends — into a marketing hotspot. Adidas, Details magazine, Harper's Bazaar and Lacoste are just some of the brands that host offsite festival events for stylish celebrity guests.

Rolling Stone executive editor Nathan Brackett said the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has become a destination for fans and brands because organizers consistently deliver compelling lineups of diverse and unconventional musical acts. A reunited OutKast headlines this year's More

  • Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014
In this undated file photo provided by Kraft, a roll of Life Savers candy is shown. Life Savers is among the brand names that showed up on the standardized tests that more than a million New York students in grades three through eight. (AP Photo/Kraft, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

"Just Do It" has been a familiar Nike slogan for years, but some parents are wondering what it was doing on some of New York's Common Core standardized English tests.

Brands including Barbie, iPod, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers showed up on the tests more than a million students in grades 3 through 8 took this month, leading to speculation it was some form of product placement advertising.

New York state education officials and the test publisher say the brand references were not paid product placement but just happened to be contained in previously published passages selected for the tests.

Some critics aren't so sure and questioned why specific brand names would be mentioned at all.

"It just seems so unnecessary," said Josh Golin, associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which monitors marketing directed at children.

"It would be horrible if they were More

  • Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

A veteran Fox executive who used her company email account to plan aid for loved ones of the missing Malaysian airplane's passengers has been fired.

Darlene Tipton, who was vice president of standards and practices for the Fox Cable Networks Group, said Saturday she had wanted to arrange swift financial aid to families and other loved ones, sparing them lengthy court fights. She said she began by emailing Sarah Bajc, an American whose boyfriend, Philip Wood, was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and who has made frequent TV appearances since the plane's March 8 disappearance.

Fox spokesman Scott Grogin said Tipton's "conduct and communications" violated company policy. Citing privacy concerns, he declined to discuss particulars, but he said, "As soon as we became aware, we took appropriate steps." He confirmed that Tipton has left the company.

Tipton was with Fox for a quarter-century More

  • Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014
In this April 28, 2012 file photo, Robin Williams appears onstage at The 2012 Comedy Awards in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Fox 2000 is developing the sequel to the 1993 hit comedy "Mrs. Doubtfire," which starred Robin Williams.

The follow-up will be penned by "Elf" writer David Berenbaum, the studio's spokeswoman, Chelsey Summey, confirmed on Thursday.

While no deals are in place yet, Williams and Chris Columbus are in talks to join the production, Summey said.

The 62-year-old Williams would reprise his role as Mrs. Doubtfire, and Columbus would be back to direct and produce with his company 1492.

Williams starred in "Mrs. Doubtfire" as struggling actor Daniel Hillard, a father of three who disguised himself as Scottish nanny Mrs. Doubtfire to spend time with his kids. The former wife of Williams' Daniel was played by Sally Field. Pierce Brosnan also starred.

The original film made over $400 million worldwide.

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  • Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014
This March 2, 2014 file photo shows Oscar statues lined up backstage during the Oscars in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

The 87th annual Academy Awards will air live beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 22.

The date, announced on Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, marks the academy's return to their standard pattern after pushing the show back to March 2 this year because of the Olympics.

2015 Oscar nominees will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 15, which follows the academy's recent plan. 2014 nominations were announced Jan. 16. Voting for the 2015 nominees will begin on Dec. 29, 2014 and end on Jan. 8, 2015.

The Academy Awards' annual luncheon for nominees is set for Feb. 2, 2015.

Final Oscars voting will commence on Feb. 6, 2015. Voting will end Feb. 17.

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