Names in the news, Oct. 31

Posted Oct. 30, 2011, at 9:10 p.m.

A suicide machine belonging to Dr. Jack Kevorkian was withdrawn Friday from an auction of the assisted-suicide advocate’s possessions after failing to draw a high enough bid, while 17 of his paintings tied up in a legal dispute with a suburban Boston museum found no takers. The paintings, including one Kevorkian did with a pint of his blood, and about 100 other personal items went on sale at the New York Institute of Technology. The estate had estimated the value of the 17 paintings at $2.5 million to $3.5 million. The assisted-suicide machine, known as a Thanatron, delivers intravenous drugs that put the person to sleep and then stop the heart. It was built out of household tools, toy parts, magnets and electrical switches. … The Google Inc.-owned YouTube video site said Friday that it’s launching more than 100 new video channels. The partners include an array of Hollywood production companies, celebrities and new media groups that will produce mainly niche-oriented videos. YouTube is shelling out $100 million to producers, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The money is an advance on advertising money the videos will bring in, and Google will recoup its portion first before splitting the proceeds. Advances are as high as $5 million per channel, said another person familiar with the arrangement, also speaking on condition of anonymity. Participants include Madonna, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, comedian Amy Poehler, actor Ashton Kutcher, “Office” star Rainn Wilson, spiritual doctor Deepak Chopra and “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara. Most are creating channels through their production companies. Madonna is a partner with the dance channel DanceOn, while O’Neal plans the Comedy Shaq Network.

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