November 3, 2008

Fox Counts Down to 24 Premiere

For those suffering from Jack Bauer withdrawals, Fox has the cure for what ails you: a firm premiere date for the long-awaited, delay-plagued seventh-season premiere of 24.

The network today announced that Kiefer Sutherland and his terrorism-fighting costars will return to kick off their new run with a two-night, four-hour premiere Jan. 11 and 12.

The fourth hour of the premiere will mark the series' milestone 150th episode. The season will run without interruption through to May.

Jessica Simpson's BFF Injured by Paparazzi

He's the hairstylist to the stars, but Ken Paves just took one for the team.

E! News has learned that Paves was rushed to the hospital early this morning after being injured by paparazzi while leaving a popular restaurant with Jessica Simpson and her entourage.

"There were so many paparazzi waiting for Jessica and trying to get a picture of her that they all started pushing," says an onlooker. "Jessica was ducking down and Ken Paves and her other male friend were trying to cover her and that's when Ken was hit in the face with a camera."

The perfectly coiffed group was leaving Madeo restaurant at 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning when they were mobbed by waiting paparazzi. Paves' face was cut during the melee.

A source close to Simpson tells E! News that it seemed like Paves didn't really think much of the blow to the eye at first. "He seemed shocked at first," says a source. "He said something to the photographer like, 'Dude, you just hit me,' but that's all he really said before getting into the car."

Once Simpson was safely in the backseat and Paves was in the front passenger seat, the other male in Simpson's entourage went around to the driver seat. Before getting inside, he tangled with another paparazzo.

"It seemed like Jessica's friend was just really frustrated because the photographers were overstepping their bounds and had just hit Ken in the head," says another eyewitness.

Once Paves got into the car, "blood was running down his nose," the bystander continues. "I guess that's when Jess and the driver realized Ken might need to get stitches, because they went straight to Cedars-Sinai [Medical Center]."

As of 1:15 a.m., Simpson and Paves were still inside the hospital.

McCain's No Palin, But SNL's Not Complainin

On Saturday Night Live, as at campaign rallies, John McCain gets outdrawn by Sarah Palin.

Last night's show, featuring a QVC-pitching McCain, pulled a 9.0 in the overnight ratings, per Nielsen stats, about 15 percent off last month's Palin-powered SNL.

Overall, the McCain show was another winner for SNL, which saw the combination of the presidential candidate, wife Cindy McCain, faux running mate Tina Fey (as, natch, Palin) and host Ben Affleck (as Keith Olbermann, among others) boost ratings 27 percent over last week's show.

Total viewer figures were not available, although, using last week's numbers as a guide, a guess could be made that as many as 12 million tuned in. (About 14 million watched the Palin SNL.)

For the season, SNL is up nearly 70 percent over last season.

Family, Friends Mourn at Hudson Memorial Service

Hundreds of mourners lined the street in front of Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago this afternoon to mourn the loss of Jennifer Hudson's slain mother, brother and nephew.

While Hudson herself did not attend the public memorial—a private, invite-only service is scheduled to take place Monday morning—she was clearly on the minds of those who did come to pay their respects.

"She has been doing good," Demitrias Jackson, a cousin of the Oscar winner who attended the community memorial, told E! News. "She's very strong and she's holding the family together."

In order to do so, Jackson said, Hudson will temporarily be putting her career on the back burner.

"She is going to take a break from acting," Jackson said. "She'll be taking time for herself and to be with her family."

As it is, relatives weren't the only ones who came out for the memorial held on the city's South Side. Friends, neighbors and well-wishers alike were out in full force to pay their respects to the Hudson family.

"I came here because I had a mother and a son die, so I have been hit by a double tragedy as well," local resident Alice Ghant said. "For Jennifer to have all that success and then have this happen, makes me cry."

Ghant wanted to show her support for the whole Hudson family and offered them advice for their trying times: "Keep your head up and it will get better with prayer, faith and time."

Joseph Murphy, who says he worked as a security guard for the onetime American Idol contestant back in 2006, said he too is praying for the Hudsons.

"The reports of Jennifer being the strength of the family are definitely true," Murphy said. "I contacted her through MySpace to tell her I'm always praying for her."

Chicago residents were lined up an hour before the doors for the memorial opened at 4 p.m., after a private service for relatives had concluded. The church was simply decorated with white flowers and photos of the slain family members.

During the service, several churchgoers spoke, sang and offered various recollections of 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, 29-year-old Jason Hudson and 7-year-old Julian King. Donerson and Hudson were found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in their Englewood home on Oct. 24; King was found in an SUV on Oct. 27 and declared dead of the same cause.

Outside the church, mourners left flowers, cards and other offerings, with one guest leaving a teddy bear, ostensibly in memory of Julian.

The community memorial lasted several hours, with the last of the mourners leaving the church around 6 p.m.

As for Hudson, she remains holed up with her sister Julia, Julian's mother, and various other family members at the Trump International Hotel & Tower. The family is expected to attend a private memorial service at Chicago's Apostolic Church of God at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the newly formed Hudson-King Domestic Violence Protection Fund.