Hundreds of stars are expected at the British Academy Television Awards in London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane tomorrow. This year's BAFTA TV Awards, which cover news, documentary and sports programs, will be hosted Chris Tarrant, who hosts the television quiz show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?. The event could attract criticism if the current affairs spoof Brass Eye wins either of the two major awards for which it was nominated: best comedy and best innovation. The controversial program was the subject of thousands of complaints following a show about pedophilia, the BBC reports. The Television Awards will air on Monday, April 22 at 8:30 BST.
'N Sync member Lance Bass has some competition for his paid seat on a space flight sometime in October or November. According to PageSix.com, 40-year-old mom and former space-mission planner for NASA Lori Garver is also under consideration, as is 39-year-old Polish millionaire Leszek Czarnecki. Bass, you may recall, has already begun a documentary on his preparation for the 10-day mission called Celebrity Mission: Lance Bass.
Just when you thought Tonya Harding's life couldn't possibly take any more bizarre turns, the former figure skater was cited for drunken driving early Saturday morning in Battle Ground, Wash. According to The Associated Press, Harding crashed her pickup truck into a ditch and failed a field sobriety test and breath test administered by deputies from the Clark County Sheriff's office that arrived on the scene. Neither Harding nor her passenger was hurt.
In the Biz
Paramount Pictures was granted exclusive television rights to H.G. Wells' 1938 science fiction novel The War of the Worlds by a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge, Reuters reports. As trustees of the author's estate, Wells' grandchildren had started negotiations with Hallmark to produce and distribute a television miniseries based on the novel. But Paramount asserted exclusive ownership of the TV rights based on a contract signed by H.G. Wells' son Frank in 1951. In a ruling made public Friday, Judge Ira Gammerman said Paramount has the right to televise the motion picture since it has the right to produce it.
Lisa Bonet, who played Denise Huxtable on NBC's The Cosby Show, will not be taking part in the show's upcoming reunion next month. While NBC blames her busy schedule for her absence, Bonet told People magazine that she was uncomfortable with the whole vibe of the show, saying she was offered a "take-it-or-leave-it" type of deal. Bonet also went on to say she thought the reunion project "felt disingenuous and motivated by corporate profit" and that the deal made her feel devalued and disrespected. The episode airs May 19.
It's official: The Osbournes is the biggest hit series in MTV's 21-year history. Last Tuesday's episode was watched by 6.3 million people--up from 6 million the week before--and according to Nielsen Media Research, it's bumped professional wrestling as cable television's biggest show. MTV has three more original episodes on tap before the season ends and is talking to the family about filming another season's worth of shows, the AP reports.
The two surviving members of Nirvana want Kurt Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the AP reports. Bassist Krist Novoselik and drummer David Grohl want Love to be removed from the business partnership they formed in 1997, which Love argues should be dissolved because her judgement was significantly impaired when she signed it three years after her husband's death. A lawyer representing Novoselik and Grohl said a psychiatrist's evaluation would most likely show that Love was competent when she signed the agreement and that her competence has since deteriorated.
Always willing to embrace controversy, Grammy-winning rapper Eminem is appearing in the video for his new single "Without Me" dressed up like Osama bin Laden and spoofing the Sally Jessy Raphael Show. According to MTV.com, the song is the first single from Eminem's album The Eminem Show, which is due out June 4. The video for "Without Me" will debut in early May on an episode of MTV's Making the Video.
A new scholarship fund will be established at Park City High School in Utah in the name of actor Robert Urich. Urich, who was best known as Dan Tanna on Vega$, and his wife, Heather Menzies, were strong forces in the Utah art community, People reports, helping to raise funds for a performing arts center at the high school when Urich was alive.
Antonio Banderas received the first Anthony Quinn Award for Excellence in Cinema and the Arts Friday at the 10th annual Providence New Latin American Cinema Festival. Quinn, who was born in Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles, died last year at age 86.
Rusty Burrell, a retired sheriff's deputy who served as bailiff on The People's Court, died Monday at his home in Rosemead, Calif., after suffering from lung cancer, the AP reports. He was 76. Burell was a real-life bailiff during the high profile trials of Charles Manson and Patty Hearst, and joined Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Wapner in the reality TV show The People's Court in 1981. The series ended in 1993, but the two reunited several years later to work on Animal Planet's "Judge Wapner's Animal Court.
Shooting on the romantic adventure film Beyond Borders starring Angelina Jolie will begin Thursday in northern Thailand. Co-producer Lloyd Phillips told The Associated Press on Wednesday that main filming on the movie will wrap up following about five weeks of shooting in the country. The Thai locations will stand in for Cambodia in the 1980s during the devastating rule of the Khmer Rouge. In the film, Jolie plays a married American socialite in London who falls in love with an idealistic doctor played by Clive Owen. Filming began in December, with previous shooting done in Namibia, standing in for Ethiopia, and Montreal, standing in for London and Chechnya. Beyond Borders, directed by GoldenEye's Martin Campbell, is expected to be released around Christmas.
It's absolute rubbish. That's what Madonna's spokeswoman told Reuters about media reports that the pop icon had made a series of unreasonable demands before taking to the stage for Up For Grabs debuting next month in London. Recent press reports claimed Madonna demanded a raised stage to stop fans from rushing her, theater staff were told not to have eye contact with her and cast members were told not to call her "Madge." Up For Grabs debuts in London May 23.
Noah Wyle, ER's handsome Dr. John Carter, and his wife, Tracy, are expecting their first child in November, the AP reports. Wyle, 30, met Tracy Wyle, a makeup artist, on the set of The Myth of Fingerprints in 1996. They became engaged on Valentine's Day in 1999 and have been married for about two years.
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer will marry her boyfriend, British producer Matthew Vaughn, before the end of the year, Ananova.com reports. Schiffer's mother reportedly told Germany's Bunte magazine that rumors of the couple's split were false and that her daughter will "marry within the next six months." Schiffer, the one-time companion of magician David Copperfield, and Vaughn, who produced Guy Ritchie's films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, live together in London's Notting Hill.
Former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jason Priestley will drive for Kelley Racing in the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, the AP reports. The 32-year-old actor has competed in several racing series before and has worked as a TV commentator at Indy Racing League races.
Pippi, Ozzy Osbourne's little black Pomeranian, is missing. A regular fixture on the MTV series The Osbournes, Pippi has apparently been lost for two months. According to MTV.com, the family is offering a $500 reward for any information leading to the dog's retrieval.
In the Biz
Billy Bob Thornton has been cast in the title role of Terry Zwigoff's Bad Santa, Variety reports. The Dimension Films comedy, which is set for a Christmas 2003 release, follows two con men who travel to malls dressed as Santa and his elf.
Darren Star, the creator of HBO's successful comedy Sex and the City, will direct a film adapted from the book Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl: A Nancy Chan Novel by Tracy Quan for Sony's Revolution Studios. The book, based on Quan's Salon.com column, centers on the diary of a call girl working on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Variety reports.
Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnettare in talks to star in another Revolution Studios project about a pair of cops who become involved in a crime that revolves around the music business, Variety reports. The untitled police drama will be helmed by Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed White Men Can't Jump and Tin Cup, and is set to begin production this fall.
CBS chief Leslie Moonves said Tuesday the network likely would not air the Robert Urich movie Not in Our House because of its rough subject matter. According to Reuters, Urich plays a pedophile in a story about a family a year after an incestuous relationship comes to light. The film co-stars Meredith Baxter.
Francophone Celine Dion will headline this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami Beach, Fla., on May 12, the AP reports. The Canadian singer's song "My Heart Will Go On" became the first and only English-language single to top the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart. Dion will join previously announced performers Marc Anthony, Jaci Velasquez and Thalia.
Will Smith may have walked away from this year's Academy Awards empty-handed, but the rapper-turned-actor hasn't lost steam. According to MTV.com, Smith's next album will hit stores on June 25 and will feature two singles from Men in Black 2. Smith has not released new material since Willennium in 1999.
Rosie O'Donnell presented Gene Wilder with the first-ever Roche Beauty of Giving Award on Wednesday at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. The award was handed out as part of the Cosmetic Executive Women's Beauty Awards. Wilder is the founder of Gilda's Club, a support network named after his wife, Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. O'Donnell also praised the beauty industry's commitment to charities that support women with cancer.
Warren Beatty and Kevin Spacey will be honored at this year's San Francisco Film Festival. According to the BBC News, Beatty is being awarded the Akira Kurosawa Award for lifetime achievement in film directing, while Spacey is being honored with an acting award. The festival opens today and closes on May 2.
Science fiction writer Damon Knight died Monday at a hospital in Eugene, Ore., of age-related causes, the AP reports. He was 79. Knight, whose final novel Humpty Dumpty: An Oval was published in 1996, was also an influential teacher, critic and organizer, helping to found the Science Fiction Writers of America. He also served as editor for the science fiction anthology series Orbit. Knight is survived by his wife, two daughters, two sons, two stepsons and seven grandchildren.
Jimi Hendrix's father, James Al Hendrix, died in his sleep at home Wednesday after a long battle with congestive heart failure, the AP reports. He was 82. Hendrix, a former Golden Gloves boxer, worked as a plumber, electrician and gardener before retiring in 1979 due to poor health. Hendrix is survived by daughter Janie and son Leon.
What do ABC execs have in common with teenage girls? They can't say no to Leonardo DiCaprio's mug, either. After a week of hand wringing, the network announced Tuesday it will air Leo's interview with President Clinton. Just to show that network suits are cagier than your average teenybopper, ABC won't say how much of the 10-minute chat will make it to your TV set.
The Leo-meets-Clinton summit will be seen during an ABC Earth Day special scheduled for April 22.
ABC newsies were in an uproar when it was learned that DiCaprio had gotten interview time with the Commander in Chief during an Oval Office visit last month.
But how can you stay mad at that face?
THEY'RE NOT? An angered David Schwimmer placed a call to a London radio show today to complain that the hosts were greatly exaggerating the salary demands of he and his fellow "Friends." "When I hear figures like that [$1 mil per show] I get a little upset,'' Schwimmer said. "...People get this idea that we are this group of spoilt actors demanding ridiculous amounts of money."
KILLED 'EM: Sunday's season finale of "The Sopranos" was watched by an estimated 9 million people, making it HBO's most-watched program since it premiered "Titanic" in 1998.
REALLY IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT A SHOW YOU NEVER WATCHED: ABC has pulled the Peter Berg-created medical drama "Wonderland" from its schedule after only two broadcasts.
DON'T MESS WITH DAN TANNA: Robert Urich is seeking at least $1.47 million in damages from the studio behind his 1995-96 series "Lazarus Man." The actor's lawsuit alleges the show was canned because he was diagnosed with cancer in July 1996.