It pays to have 'Friends'

New York City-- NBC expects to reap $70 million from the final night of "Friends," thanks to advertisers who are shelling out a record $2 million for 30-second spots, reports The New York Daily News.

That's a new mark for an entertainment show, and just shy of the $2.3 million price tag for a Super Bowl spot.

The sitcom world has not seen such hoopla since the "Seinfeld" farewell in 1998, when 30-second commercials went for $1.7 million.

NBC has sold out nearly all the spots for the "Friends" final episode, set to air May 6, capping the show's 10-year run.

Sara Lee dumps Jimmy Dean

Richmond, Va. -- Legendary country crooner Jimmy Dean says the Sara Lee Corp. has dropped him as spokesman for the sausage company he founded more than three decades ago.

In a statement Monday, the 75-year-old multimillionaire says the Chicago-based maker of food, apparel and household products told him last year he no longer meets the company's marketing needs.

"The company told me that they were trying to attract the younger housewife, and they didn't think I was the one to do that," Dean said in an interview. "I think it's the dumbest thing. But you know, what do I know?"

Julie Ketay, a spokeswoman for Sara Lee, said Monday that the company chose not to renew Dean's contract in May because the "brand was going in a new direction" that demanded a shift in marketing.

Stamp honors activist Robeson

Princeton, N.J. -- A U.S. Postal Service stamp honoring athlete, performer and social activist Paul Robeson was going on sale Tuesday in the town where he was born 106 years ago.

The elder Robeson was a football All-American and valedictorian at Rutgers University at a time when few blacks attended college. He later became an actor, singer and activist for racial justice and international peace.

The stamp, designed by Richard Sheaff of Scottsdale, Ariz., is a detail of a photograph of Robeson taken around 1943 by an unknown photographer.

The Postal Service plans to issue 130 million Paul Robeson stamps initially.

"I am very gratified," Robeson's son Paul Robeson Jr. told The Times of Trenton. "To say the least, the family and I are very pleased."


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