LOS ANGELES – “Veronica Mars” fans eager for a movie based on the TV series have a chance to put their money where their hopes are.

Series creator Rob Thomas launched an online funding campaign Wednesday to make a big-screen version of the show. “Veronica Mars,” which starred Kristen Bell as a young sleuth, ended its three-season run in 2007.

On the Kickstarter website, Thomas said the $2 million fundraiser represents “our one shot to see a ‘Veronica Mars’ movie happen.” Within hours Wednesday, more than 23,000 backers had pledged $1.5 million and counting.

It’s the fastest project yet to reach $1 million on Kickstarter — in 4 hours, 24 minutes — and the most heavily funded film or video project to date, according to a spokesman for the site.

Previous top movie fundraisers are the planned “The Goon” ($442,000) and “Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa” ($406,000), both animated.

Thomas said “Veronica Mars” owner Warner Bros. has given the project its blessing, and Bell and other cast members are ready to begin production this summer for a 2014 release. A studio spokesman said a limited release, meaning it may not be on thousands of screens or in every city, is likely at this point.

The fundraising campaign, which was confirmed by Thomas’ representative at United Talent Agency, ends April 12.

“You have banded together like the sassy little honey badgers you are and made this possibility happen,” Bell said in an online message, promising the “sleuthiest, snarkiest” movie possible.

Bell is back on TV in “House of Lies,” the Showtime series starring Don Cheadle.

She and several “Veronica Mars” cast members appear in a lighthearted video on Kickstarter in which they mull the prospect of reuniting.

Vogue editor to set vision for Conde Nast empire

NEW YORK – Conde Nast is expanding the role of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. She has been named the company’s artistic director.

The appointment was announced Wednesday by CEO Charles H. Townsend.

Wintour’s new duties include developing an overall “creative vision” for Conde Nast, which has a portfolio of 18 consumer magazines, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Allure and GQ.

Wintour, 63, will continue to run Vogue on a day-to-day basis, which she has done since 1988. She will also continue to serve as editorial director of Teen Vogue.

Townsend said the promotion comes at a time to “leverage Anna’s extraordinary vision and leadership.”

Wintour created Fashion’s Night Out and sits on President Barack Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

While Wintour is widely credited with helping to shape women’s fashion, she has also drawn criticism for fostering elitist views.

Rodman’s bizarre tour hits big snag

ROME – After raising eyebrows by going to North Korea, former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman continued his bizarre global tour by visiting Rome — purportedly to help Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson become the first black pope.

But Rodman didn’t seem too sure who he was supposed to be promoting when asked about it Wednesday. “From Africa, right?” Rodman asked, wearing a hat and T-shirt promoting the Irish betting firm that organized his trip.

Rodman unsuccessfully predicted the next pope would be black, saying he hoped to meet him in Africa on his self-styled mission to promote world peace.

Even Rodman’s plans to enter St. Peter’s Square in a custom-built “pope-mobile” were uncertain Wednesday: The vehicle had been delayed by snow in northern Italy.