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'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Argo' win screenplay honors

| Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The CIA thrillers “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” have won top screenplay honors from the Writers Guild of America.

The guild's adapted screenplay award Sunday went to Chris Terrio for “Argo,” director Ben Affleck's tale of the CIA's daring masquerade of six U.S. diplomats as a Hollywood film crew to rescue them from Iran during the hostage crisis there.

Mark Boal won the prize for original screenplay for “Zero Dark Thirty,” director Kathryn Bigelow's chronicle of the CIA's manhunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Director Malik Bendjelloul won the documentary award for “Searching for Sugar Man,” his portrait of acclaimed but largely forgotten 1970s musician Rodriguez.

The guild was the last of Hollywood's major trade unions to weigh in on the year's top films before next Sunday's Academy Awards.

Among the guild's TV winners:

Drama series: “Breaking Bad,” written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz and Moira Walley-Beckett.

Comedy series: “Louie,” written by Pamela Adlon, Vernon Chatman and Louis C.K.

New series: “Girls,” written by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Jenni Konner, Deborah Schoeneman and Dan Sterling.

— Associated Press

Discovery lights up with shows geared around pot culture

Cupcake makers, pawnbrokers and storage container raiders have all had their moments in reality television's spotlight. Now, the time might be right for marijuana growers — and the people who chase them.

The Discovery network debuts a six-episode series, “Weed Country,” on Wednesday. This spring, Discovery will air “Pot Cops.” Both series examine the marijuana trade in northern California.

Discovery had first planned to air both series back-to-back on the same night and promote it as “Weed Wednesday.” But network executive Nancy Daniels said the puffed-up promotion was abandoned when Discovery found it had a hole in its schedule to fill in April.

— Associated Press

C-SPAN series to shine light on first ladies

From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, C-SPAN is taking a look at first ladies.

On Monday, the public service network launched a 35-part series on first ladies that will stretch for a year. Almost all of the first ladies will get a single 90-minute episode.

Executive producer Mark Farkas says the stories are an interesting way to look at political and social history. Dolly Madison and Eleanor Roosevelt were very influential. There also have been tragic figures, like Jane Pierce, whose son was killed shortly before husband Franklin's inauguration. She didn't make an appearance as first lady for two years.

C-SPAN is working with the White House Historical Association on the series.

— Associated Press

Phipps offering free admission Feb. 25

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will offer free admission on Feb. 25, thanks to a grant from the Jack Buncher Foundation, a Downtown-based charitable organization.

Phipps visitors can explore all of the rooms and exhibits, including the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a research, education and administration facility at Phipps. Oakland-based Phipps will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Details: 412-622-6914 or

— Kellie B. Gormly

Newest Belushi making the rounds

The name on Hollywood audition lists and casting sheets must be unmistakably eye-catching: Rob Belushi.

The 32-year-old actor and comedian is from yes, that Belushi family. He's the son of Jim Belushi and the nephew of the late John Belushi.

Rob Belushi has guest starred on TV shows like his dad's “According to Jim” and “The Defenders.” He's appeared in made-for-TV movies and graced the stand-up stage. Now he's starring on the Spike TV reality program “The Joe Schmo Show” that airs on Tuesday nights.

He calls his famous last name a “double-edged sword.” “I would say people are very interested in seeing me or checking out what I have to offer,” Belushi said. “I also think that they have their own expectations of what that will be, and I am not my uncle or my father.”

The Spike TV show requires Belushi to act off-the-cuff, using skills he learned in Chicago's improv scene — where his father and uncle got their starts, too.

— Associated Press

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