Tom Snyder has leukemia

NEW YORK (AP) – Tom Snyder, a late-night talk show fixture for years, has been diagnosed with leukemia.

Snyder announced on his Web site Friday that doctors have told him that he has chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

“When I was a kid leukemia was a death sentence. Now, my doctors say it’s treatable! With pills or chemotherapy or a combination of both,” he said.

Snyder, 68, says he had been low on stamina, felt bloated and gained about 50 pounds – all symptoms that led him to seek tests. Coincidentally, he says his younger brother also has been diagnosed with the same disease.

“Suffice to say that 2005 has not been a bell ringer for the Snyder boys,” he wrote in an earlier posting.

Snyder hosted NBC’s “The Tomorrow Show” from 1973-82. He also had a four-year run on CBS’ “The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder,” which he left in 1999. The show was reformatted for new host Craig Kilborn.

Despite the news, Snyder was as upbeat and opinionated as ever. He brushed on topics such as Social Security, morning network television, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and celebrity memoirs.

He finished with the signoff: “Back soon, same time. Same station. “Night all!”

Ellen’s got a new girlfriend

Guess Ellen DeGeneres really has found the right gal.

Former “Ally McBeal” star Portia De Rossi, who currently stars on Fox’s critical darling but still woefully underwatched Emmy award winning show “Arrested Development,” has removed a tattoo on her ring finger with the initials of her ex-girlfriend – that’d be Ringo Starr’s stepdaughter, Francesca Gregorini – to show her true devotion to DeGeneres.

De Rossi tells Details mag she doesn’t really regret getting that tattoo, except, um, that she kind of does: “I’m not saying it’s anything I regret doing, because I don’t, but it just doesn’t make any sense now.”

– Knight Ridder Newspapers
Real ‘Exorcist’ prequel out

After months of rumors and anticipation, Morgan Creek Productions has finally decided to release Paul Scharder’s version of the prequel to “The Exorcist,” Variety reports.

The studio was unhappy with how the cerebral Schrader – who wrote Martin Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver” and wrote and directed the masterful ’97 character study “Affliction” – was making the flick.

The suits fired him and had Renny Harlin finish the movie, which came out to horrible reviews and anemic box-office (a mere $80 million worldwide) as “Exorcist: The Beginning.”

Scharder’s take, which premiered last month at a Belgium film festival, will be out in limited release May 20.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

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