LONDON – Dr. Gregory House has long battled the blues. Now, the actor who plays the acerbic physician plans to play them.

Warner Music Entertainment said today that British actor Hugh Laurie has signed a deal to record an album of New Orleans-inspired blues.

“I am drunk with excitement at this opportunity,” Laurie said in a statement. “I know the history of actors making music is a checkered one, but I promise no one will get hurt.”

Despite his note-perfect American accent on “House,” Laurie is a longstanding member of Britain’s acting establishment, famous for his turns in the “Blackadder” comedies and as Bertie Wooster in “Jeeves and Wooster.” In 2007, Laurie was made a member of the Order of the British Empire.

On “House,” Laurie’s character often plays piano and the guitar. According to his record company, Laurie is a predominantly self-taught pianist because, in a very House-like scenario, he had “creative differences” with his childhood teacher. The album is to be produced by Grammy winner Joe Henry, who has also worked with Ani Di Franco, Elvis Costello and Loudon Wainwright III.

Earlier this month, Laurie received his fifth Emmy nomination for his portrayal of House.

New Jersey’s Gov. Christie is no fan of ‘Jersey Shore’

TRENTON, N.J. – “Jersey Shore” may have many fans, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn’t among them.

Asked Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” if he thought the MTV program — which focuses on the escapades of a group of hard-partying 20-something Italian-Americans at a shore house — was positive or negative for his state, Christie said negative. It “takes a bunch of New Yorkers, drops them at the Jersey Shore and tries to make America feel like this is New Jersey.” He says anyone who wants to learn about “the real New Jersey” should visit the state.

Many Italian-American groups have said the show is offensive and relies on crude stereotypes.

Jolie: Outlook good for U.S.-Russia relations

MOSCOW – Even though Angelina Jolie plays a suspected Russian sleeper agent in her latest movie, in real life she thinks U.S.-Russia relations are going well.

Jolie was in Moscow for the Russian premiere of the movie “Salt” on Sunday, just a few weeks after 10 Russian sleeper agents were expelled from the United States in exchange for four Russians accused of spying for the West.

She told reporters at the Oktyabrskaya theater, “you don’t want to focus on the negative behind this issue of the spy swap because I think that what is happening between our countries is wonderful these days, so many positive movements forward.” Fans waited hours in 95-degree heat outside the theater to get a glimpse of the star, who wore a scarlet gown with deep cleavage.

Wagner celebration opens

BERLIN – The yearly festival celebrating the music of Richard Wagner has opened in Bayreuth, the city where the celebrated German composer made his home in his later years.

The 99th annual event in the southern state of Bavaria opened Sunday with a staging of “Lohengrin” by director Hans Neuenfels. Many prominent politicians and celebrities attended, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The festival’s longtime patriarch, the composer’s grandson Wolfgang Wagner, died in March at age 90. He led the festival for 57 years before stepping down in 2008.

The festival is now led by his daughters Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner.