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Gates ads deleted

TV viewers can return to their favorite programs without fear of seeing Bill Gates shaking his tushie now that Microsoft Corp. has retired a bizarre two-week ad campaign featuring the software giant's chairman with comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

Bloggers and online media have suggested that the Redmond, Wash.-based company yanked the Seinfeld ads after they were poorly received.

The ads show Gates and Seinfeld trading banter at a mall shoe store and while living with a suburban family, trying to get in touch with regular people. Seinfeld asks Gates nonsensical questions about the future of computing, and Gates responds with “signs” that he's on the right track, including an awkward hip shake and doing “the robot.”

However, a senior vice president in Microsoft's central marketing group, Mich Mathews, said in an interview Thursday that it was always the plan to replace the Seinfeld-Gates ads with ones that focus on Windows.

“The notion that we're doing some quick thing to cancel (the Seinfeld ads) is actually preposterous,” Mathews said.

“Today was always the day. … Media buying is something you have to do months in advance.”

Mathews described the three Seinfeld spots as ice breakers with a limited shelf life, designed to grab people's attention in a tongue-in-cheek way without the pressure of having to talk about the product.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Swank has benign growth removed

Hilary Swank is recovering after a hospital procedure to remove a small, benign growth, a representative for the Oscar-winning actress said Thursday.

“She was experiencing some discomfort and went to see her doctor, who prescribed an immediate course of action that included a brief hospitalization” to eliminate the growth, Swank's manager, Jason Weinberg, said in a statement.

“Her condition has been resolved and there are no continuing health issues, with the exception of some short-term rest and recuperation,” Weinberg said.

He would not provide further details.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Man claims injuries, sues Coleman

Gary Coleman has been sued by a man who claims the actor punched him and ran into him with his truck in a Payson bowling alley parking lot, causing knee, back and neck injuries.

Colt Rushton, 24, of Spanish Fork, says he and Coleman got into an argument Sept. 6 after he began taking pictures of the “Diff'rent Strokes” actor with a cell phone.

Coleman, 40, was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and disorderly conduct in Payson City Justice Court. A court clerk said Thursday there had been no notification that Coleman is represented by a lawyer.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Birthdays

TV host James Lipton, 82. Actor Adam West, 80. Actor Jeremy Irons, 60. Actress Twiggy Lawson, 59. TV personality Joan Lunden, 58. Country singer Trisha Yearwood, 44. News anchor Soledad O'Brien, 42. Actress Sanaa Lathan, 37. Comedian Jimmy Fallon, 34.

This day in history Sept. 19

1982: Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott Fahlman proposed punctuating humorously intended computer messages by employing a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis as a horizontal “smiley face.” :-)

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