Chris Dodd's leading role

Wednesday, March 2, 2011; C02

Break out the buttered popcorn! Another front-runner has captured one of Hollywood's golden tickets: Chris Dodd is the new head of the Motion Picture Association of America.

The former senator, 66, has been rumored to get the $1.5 million-a-year job for the past couple of months, and was officially named on Tuesday.

The hire follows a year-long search to replace Dan Glickman. A number of names were floated - notably former senator Bob Kerrey - but Dodd landed the plum lobbying post, in part for his ability to reach across party lines.

"Senator Dodd is a battle-tested leader whose reputation as a strong leader on major issues facing this country has prepared him to serve as ambassador for the movie business," J im Gianopulos, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and member of the search committee, said in a statement released by the MPAA.

In the release, Dodd said taking the job "represents a continuation of my work in the Senate, from advancing the interests of children and families and creating and safeguarding American jobs to the protection of intellectual property and the expansion of international trade."

The sentimental Irishman's first day will be . . . March 17, St. Patrick's Day.

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