News Column

Philadelphia Daily News Molly Eichel column

October 23, 2013

YellowBrix

Oct. 23--WORD GOT OUT that Alycia Lane was fired from her anchor job in LA last week. It turns out former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte is also looking for work.

Mendte and Lane were embroiled in scandal in 2008 when he was busted for hacking into Lane's email.

A spokeswoman at New York's PIX11, where Mendte did commentary pieces that aired locally on PHL17's "Eye Opener," confirmed that Mendte was no longer with the station. When I inquired why, I got no response. Mendte's last report for the channel, on swimmer Diana Nyad, occurred on Sept. 3.

Mendte told me the decision was mutual. He liked doing the pieces but hated the commute up to New York. But Mendte says he has something in the works.

"It'll be fun when it happens and I'll be able to stay in Philly, which is the best part," Mendte said.

In his free time, Mendte is getting a master's in interactive media from Quinnipiac University.

'Franny' starts filming

Have you seen Richard Gere lately? You might.

His movie "Franny," also starring Dakota Fanning, has been popping up around town. I hear the crew has been spotted on Broad Street, at the Penn's Landing Marina and at the Bellevue.

"Franny," about a wealthy philanthropist who ingratiates himself in the lives of a young couple (Fanning and Theo James), will be filming throughout November.

Demme does Philly

Director Jonathan Demme has fond memories of Philadelphia. He should, considering he directed the movie.

Demme was in town yesterday to celebrate the 20th-anniversary screening of "Philadelphia," the Denzel Washington-Tom Hanks drama about a man fired because he has AIDS, at the Philadelphia Film Festival.

Demme praised the city, former Mayor Ed Rendell and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office's Sharon Pinkenson (whom he called "legendary") for opening their arms to him and his crew.

"It's a great human city, it's a great place to live, it's a great place to work," said Demme, who also shot the Oprah vehicle "Beloved" in the area.

Demme's must revisit spots? Reading Terminal Market. "I need my scrapple and eggs," he said.

OUT AND ABOUT

--N.J. Nets star Paul Pierce and friends stopped by Byblos Restaurant and Hookah Lounge (114 S. 18th St.) when record producer Irv Gotti showed up driving a convertible Bentley. Fancy!

--Former "Saturday Night Live" performer Will Forte went to see Pearl Jam at the Wells Fargo Center last night. Forte is in town promoting the local premiere of his movie "Nebraska" at the Philadelphia Film Festival.

--Director Guillermo Del Toro ("Pacific Rim") and his buddies at Legendary Entertainment, Thomas Tull and Michael Dougherty, stopped by Eastern State Penitentiary's "Terror Behind the Walls" on Saturday to check out the scares. The Philly mainstay runs through Nov. 9.

Film notes

--Philly filmmaker Rel Dowdell was celebrated last weekend at the Pocono Mountains Film Festival, along with "The Butler" star Cuba Gooding Jr.

--Locally shot horror film "Alpha Girls," by South Philly guys Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, is now available on demand from Xfinity and Time Warner. Wanna see it on the big screen? They'll be showing it at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) on Saturday at 9 p.m. Get half off the $10 admission if you come in costume.

QVC congrats

QVC host Courtney Cason got engaged to her boyfriend of 3 1/2 years. The couple met while living in Georgia and he moved up to be with her when she got the QVC job.

Charitably minded

--Joey DeMalavez -- former Sexy Single, trainer for Charles Barkley, 6ABC's Cecily Tynan and Adam Joseph, and owner of Joltin Jabs -- will hold a jump-rope-a-thon to benefit local cystic fibrosis sufferer Craig Konowal on Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Joltin Jabs (4303 Main St.). DeMalavez will jump rope himself from 1:30 to 3 p.m. straight to benefit Konowal.

--Stop by Lotus Salon in Marlton (36 W. Route 70) tomorrow from 4 to 7 p.m. for a Halloween-themed Happy Hour to benefit the Cancer Foundation for Personal Appearance. Show your stripes by getting pink hair extensions, among other perks.

Ailing Ross

Songwriter Jerry Ross, profiled yesterday by our own Stu Bykofsky, will not be able to attend his induction to the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame because he's in Nazareth Hospital. Get well soon, Jerry!

Email: eichelm@phillynews.com

Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip

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