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Ryan Gosling in Drive
A Charlie Brown Christmas
"This little green one here seems to need a home." - Charlie Brown

It’s been an interesting week in the entertainment industry. Here are five news bytes from here, there and everywhere:

1. Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About a Charlie Brown Christmas. Egads! Linus’ “True Meaning of Christmas” speech was almost cut! And did you know some of the earlier runs included product placement by Coca-Cola? Kind of negates the whole anti-consumer spirit-of-the-season message, doesn’t it? Check out this fun piece on TheFW.com by my pal, Danny Gallagher.

Christopher Hitchens, 1960s
Christopher Hitchens on a picket line in the 1960s

2. Christopher Hitchens’ Death. The 62-year-old writer died of esophageal cancer on Dec. 15, 2011. Known for his sarcastic wit, smooth writing and unabashed mission to take on everyone from Mother Teresa to Bill Clinton to God, the British-American writer had columns in Vanity Fair, The Atlantic and Slate.

He was also known for his atheism, and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me when folks with this viewpoint die. Where do they go? Does God have a special place for non-believers? I guess only Hitchens knows for sure.

Read The Wrap’s round-up of celeb tweets and notes and Rabbi David Wolpe’s piece on Why Christopher Hitchens Mattered.

3. Betty White’s Upcoming 90th Birthday Extravaganza.Yep, the beloved Hot in Cleveland star is turning 90, and NBC will cover the event on January 16 with a 90-minute televised celebration, followed by a preview of her hidden-camera series, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. It’s sort of a Punk’d for oldsters.

Oh yeah, she’s also the executive producer. Take that, all you tired 50-year-0lds. Here’s Anderson Cooper’s interview with Betty:

4. The Golden Globes Nominations Are Out. And George Clooney is the man, with The Descendants and The Ides of March scoring multiple noms. I’m curious to see who wins for Best Drama and Best Animated Film, because those categories include such a diverse assortment of films. Read my report from Friday.

Hugo is up for Best Drama. It’d be great if it won, but I’m doubtful, simply because it’s a family film, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association seems to love the heavier dramas.

Ryan Gosling looking cool in 'Drive'
Ryan Gosling looking cool in Drive

5. Ryan Gosling Named Coolest Person of the Year. Ok, so he didn’t make People Magazine‘s Sexiest Man of the Year (that award went to Bradley Cooper, as Reel Life With Jane contributor Melanie Votaw reported), but the Crazy.Stupid.Love actor scored Time Magazine’s Coolest Person of the Year award (not to be confused with Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, which went to the Occupy protesters).

“There is not a genre he is not comfortable in,” said Coolest Person Committee member Henry Winkler. “Cool is being comfortable in your own skin. Everything stems from that.”

Yeah, I’m down with that. Gosling is pretty darn cool. When they come up with a Coolest Person of the Year Hammering Out Family Entertainment News in the Heartland award, I’m so campaigning for that.

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