If ABC was glitter and NBC was substance, Fox tried to impress the critics with both as it trotted out two days worth of very fancy food and a line-up heavy on new shows for the fall season. Gail Berman, the new Fox Network president, swore that the crash and burn of several predecessors didn't faze her at all. But the death of sex-and-angst dramas "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Party of Five" may have, so Fox is banking on two dysfunctional family sitcoms, "Titus" and "Malcolm in the Middle."
Also returning next season is "X-Files," with less Duchovny and more Robert Patrick ("Terminator 2"), who will be joining the cast as FBI Inspector John Doggett. Other forays into the paranormal include "Freaky Links," starring Ethan Embry ("Can't Hardly Wait") and "Night Visions," a "Twilight Zone"-style anthology series.
"Visions" co-creators Dan Angel and Billy Brown were on hand to tell scary stories at a lunch complete with flickering votives and mini-grave centerpieces. Later, "Dark Angel" producers introduced 19-year-old star Jessica Alba while co-creator James Cameron answered questions via satellite from a "secret location" (where he's probably honeymooning with new wife Suzy Amis).
Another cast of sexy young things appears in Darren Star's "The $treet," which promises to be a PG-13, male "Sex and the City" (another Star production) with three bonafide movie stars -- Tom Everett Scott ("That Thing You Do"), Jennifer Connelly ("Waking the Dead") and Adam Goldberg ("Saving Private Ryan"). "Ally McBeal" creator David E. Kelly also introduced his new ensemble drama "Boston Public," about improbably attractive school teachers.
Reporters grilled John Goodman and producers Bonnie and Terry Turner about changes in their new untitled show and wondered whether Goodman would bring "gay characteristics" to his character, a divorced gay dad who returns to Beantown after living in L.A.
Then there was a presentation on "The Tick," wherein Patrick Warburton (Elaine's boyfriend Puddy on "Seinfeld") plays the live-action version of the big blue animated hero.
Fox's only foray into reality TV this year is "American High," a show that follows real students in a middle-class Chicago suburb. One of the students, Morgan Moss, vied to become the next Puck (of "The Real World" renown), declaring: "I am a new breed of human being."
Moss and fellow students Robby Nathan and Sarah Mages looked appropriately Hollywood at Fox's starry closing bash, held at Yamashiro, a Japanese restaurant in the Hollywood Hills. Bart and Homer didn't show, but Rashida Jones (Quincy's daughter), Calista Flockhart, Goodman, Alba and other network stars (and stars-to-be) sake-bombed their way through the night's celebration.
We have nothing funny to say about this anymore: Eminem is No. 1 on the album charts for the sixth consecutive week. "The Marshall Mathers LP" moved 341,000 copies for the week ended Sunday, per industry sales stats released Wednesday.
Rounding out the Top Five: Britney Spears' "Oops!...I Did It Again" (No. 2, 257,000 copies); rapper Nelly's "Country Grammar" (No. 3, 253,000); Lil' Kim's' "Notorious K.I.M." (No. 4, 230,000); and Kelly Price's "Mirror Mirror" (No. 5; 157,000).
The discs by Nelly, Lil' Kim and Price were all newbies to the charts.
Annette Bening, Warren Beatty SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 26, 2000 - Ella Corinne. According to the Washington Post, that's the moniker Warren Beatty and Annette Bening have settled on for their newborn daughter, born earlier this month. The couple was tight-lipped about the child -- their fourth -- declining to give details as to where, when or how.
They did not (natch) divulge their baby-name pick. And they have not (natch) confirmed that Ella is it.
It sounds nice, though. At least the Travoltas think so. John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston named their new babe, born April 4, Ella, too.
GOODBYE, "DOLLY": The Broadway producer who empirically "presented" such Great White Way musicals such as "Hello, Dolly!," "42nd Street," "Oliver!" and dozens of others died Tuesday in London. David Merrick was 88.
BUDDY, BUDDY: Actor Walter Matthau, 79, and his frequent director Billy Wilder, 93, are laid up in the same undisclosed hospital suffering from "quite different maladies," Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd reports today. The office of Wilder's agent said it had no information on the legend. No comment yet from the Matthau camp.
BAD DAY FOR TUBA PLAYERS: This just in from Orlando, Fla. - Walt Disney World has decided to disband its marching band after a nearly 30-year run. Eighteen brass enthusiasts were canned Tuesday.
HE WINS AGAIN: In London, a judge has ruled that Oscar-winning "Sussudio" artist Phil Collins is due more than $390,000 in overpaid royalties to two musicians from the R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire. The dispute dated back to a 1990 Collins tour that the two rockers played on.
Mainstream A-list guy Denzel Washington in a Cassavetes movie? Yup. The film's called "John Q." And the Cassavetes is Nick, the directing son of indie icon John.
Reports today say Washington is a lock to star in "John Q," a drama about a regular John Q. Public who goes postal over (what else?) a health insurance snafu.
DOES THIS GUY EVER STOP MAKING MOVIES? No. Today's Hollywood Reporter says the ubiquitous John Travolta will next insert his mug into "Domestic Disturbance," about a guy who grows suspicious of his son's new stepdad.
APPARENTLY DOESN'T TAKE AFTER HER HUSBAND: Kelly Preston (aka Mrs. John Travolta) has dropped out of the Richard Rodriguez action-comedy "Spy Game" with Antonio Banderas. Preston gave birth to the couple's second child April 3.
MORE FUN STUFF: Haley Joel Osment, last seen as a tormented tot in "The Sixth Sense," will co-star with Willem Dafoe in "Edges of the Lord," a World War II drama about a little Jewish boy (Osment) terrorized by the Nazis.
John Travolta spawn No. 2 was born Monday. Travolta wife (actress Kelly Preston), Travolta offspring (the new one -- a daughter) and the entire Travolta clan are said to be "wonderful."
In a statement, the celebrity couple noted that their new child tipped the baby scales at 9 pounds. They dubbed her Ella Bleu. Ella has an older brother, Jett, who will turn 8 this month.
Travolta will next be seen on screen in the would-be sci-fi epic "Battlefield Earth," due out in theaters May 26.
The force was with "Star Wars" creator George Lucas today on the racetrack. The writer/director/Jar Jar-pusher was shaken but unhurt after smacking his car into a wall during warm-ups for the Long Beach Grand Prix's Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.
Lucas, badly injured as a teen-ager in an auto crash, fared much better this time. After being escorted off the track, the 55-year-old filmmaker declined medical treatment, reports Hollywood.com's Gerry Katzman from Long Beach. He even stopped to sign a (what else?) Yoda doll for a fan and joked that he planned to win the April 15 race by deploying an "Episode II"-appropriate bumper sticker: "If you want the part, pull over."
John Travolta, Kelly Preston POPULATING THIS 'BATTLEFIELD' EARTH: John Travolta, 46, and actress/wife Kelly Preston, 37, welcomed the birth of daughter, Ella Bleu, on Monday. The girl is the couple's second child.
LOVE MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS: Nicolas Cage, 36, has withdrawn his divorce papers and reunited with wife Patricia Arquette, 31, the actor's rep confirms to Hollywood.com. Nicolas Cage filed for the split Feb. 24. In the court papers, the "Con Air" thespian said that the couple had been living apart since January 1996 -- or nine months after their April 1995 wedding.
GROOM, BRIDEGROOM? 007 star Pierce Brosnan, 46, will wed the unwed mother of his infant son, one Keely Shaye-Smith, next month in a ceremony at an Irish castle, the Daily News of Los Angeles says.
FUN WITH DIVAS: It's the kind of Supremes reunion only Diana Ross could envision. The supreme Supreme today announced plans for a summer tour that will see Ross front a pair of "fake" Supremes -- aka hired hands who will sub for "real" Supremes Cindy Birdsong and Mary Wilson, who couldn't come to terms with Miss Ross. Actually, the "fake" Supremes aren't all that fake -- they're two singers who toured with the group after Ross pulled her (first) diva act and exited in the 1970s. Anyway, the tour is set to launch June 14 in Philadelphia.
Steely Queen Amidala is absolutely not a draft dodger.
Natalie Portman So says the rep for Natalie Portman, who played the battle-ready ruler in "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace," denying quotes attributed to the 18-year-old actress in an Israeli newspaper that had the Jerusalem-born star saying she'd "passed on" an army draft notice sent to her last year. (In Israel, all citizens -- men and women -- must do mandatory service upon turning age 18.)
"They made up the quotes," Portman publicist Kelly Bush tells today's New York Post. "She was never notified by the army for service." According to Bush, in fact, Portman is "exempt" from the army.
And as an official at the Israeli consulate in New York confirmed to the paper, Israelis do not have to serve in the army if they leave the country before the age of 16. Portman immigrated to the United States with her parents in 1988, at about age seven.
DEEP SIXX-ED: For those keeping score at home, rule-challenged rocker Nikki Sixx has more notches on his judicial belt. The Mötley Cr¨e bassist pleaded no contest Thursday in North Carolina to charges he kicked a security guard in the head and urged fans to do the same during a concert there in 1997. Ex-bandmate and melee cohort Tommy Lee did the no-contest plea thing last week. Both dudes got suspended sentences.
HE KILLED 'EM: Comic Rodney Dangerfield, 77, was in "stable condition" at a Las Vegas hospital for an undisclosed reason, reports Thursday said. The "no respect" stand-up checked himself into the medical center one morning after he wrapped a six-night-long gig at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.
OSCAR WATCH: Two-time nominee Edward Norton ("American History X") and onetime nominee Uma Thurman ("Pulp Fiction") have joined the presenters' roll for the 72nd Annual Academy Awards -- this gig, of course, hinging on whether there are any statuettes to hand out.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 20, 2000 - This pro-wrestling thing never ends. "The Mummy" As if it weren't bad (good?) enough that the walking, talking thyroid cases we call pro wrestlers dominate cable ratings, if not the thoughts of our young ones, now one of their leaders is coming to the movies.
The Rock, last seen hosting Saturday's edition of "Saturday Night Live" on NBC, is in talks to play the baddie in the planned sequel to 1999 box-office hit "The Mummy."
Trade-paper reports today say Mr. Rock (er, Dwayne Johnson) will play a half-man, half-scorpion, as opposed to the half-man, half-beast thing he does most of the time.
For the uninitiated, The Rock is a fine fellow known to entertain men, women and children with his battle cry: "Do you smell what The Rock's cooking?"
PIANO MAN: Writer/director Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff") is set to call the shots on a biopic about Liberace, the legendary entertainer you've heard about from your mother. For the uninitiated, Liberace was a fine fellow and Vegas showman known to entertain moms and grandmas by tickling the ivories. He died in 1987 at age 67.
INSERT WITTY PHRASE HERE: Martin Lawrence is set to star in "Untitled Martin Lawrence Action Comedy," described as a "Ghostbusters" meets "Clash of the Titans" romp in today's Daily Variety. Presumably, the thing will have a different title when it opens.
UNDERCOVER BLUES: Antonio Banderas and Kelly Preston will play a husband-wife spy team who are saved by their spy kids in the new Robert Rodriguez comedy, "Spy Kids." Not based on a true story.
Britney Spears was born Dec. 2, 1981. And now that it's the new millennium and stuff, the singer/dancer/icon has decided to reflect upon her nearly two minutes, er, two decades on this Earth in a book. Britney Spears According to today's New York Daily News, the memoir, titled "Britney," will be published in time for the release of Spears' follow-up album, due in record stores May 9. (Coincidences are the neatest things!)
We wanted to ask Britney's publisher stuff about how long the book is and what Britney talks about and all that, but nobody returned our call. Probably too busy digesting the import of their new scribe's tome, no doubt.
What we know is this: Britney's writing "Britney" with her mom. (Old people are such good spellers!) According to the News, the Britster, who became the leading teen-queen singer with her mega-selling 1999 debut collection "... Baby One More Time," will spill the goods on "the secrets of her success" and "the importance of family communication."
If all that sounds terribly, well, uninteresting, Miss Spears is at a disadvantage when pitted against celeb authors. Unlike her more experienced autobiographers, Spears doesn't have the usual made-money-lost-money-went-to-Betty-Ford-found-the-Lord tale.
She does, however, have some really cool outfits to show off in the exclusive pictures section!
CHAPTER TWO -- SHAMPOOS I USED: In other Britney Spears news, the ex-Mouseketeer has inked a deal to do the endorsement thing for Herbal Essences haircare products. Who said her life story had no pathos?
SPLITSVILLE! Actor Keifer Sutherland ("Young Guns") had filed for the Big D from his wife of three years. Sutherland, 33, and the former Kelly Winn wed Sept. 1, 1996. According to divorce papers filed recently in Los Angeles Superior Court, the couple had been separated since June 30.
COUPLEDOM! Now it can be told: "American Psycho" star Christian Bale, 26, wed civilian Sibi Blazic on Jan. 29 in Las Vegas, gossip maven Liz Smith and other sources report.
ROCKED, NOT ROLLED: Not a good week to be a rocker. Nigel Pulsford, guitarist for alt-rock band Bush ("Everything Zen"), is nursing a broken ankle suffered in a fall from a stage. Meanwhile, Amy Ray, one-half of folkie duo the Indigo Girls, is on the mend following two-fer surgery over the weekend for (1) an appendectomy and (2) an ovarian cyst.
"BEAUTY" PAGEANT: Some more fodder for your Oscar pool: "American Beauty" was named best picture, Kevin Spacey ("American Beauty") best actor and Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry") best actress by the Chicago Film Critics, as announced Monday.
Is Tom Cruise looking for his own "Private Ryan"?
The megastar, currently courting Oscar talk with a supporting turn in "Magnolia," is reportedly mulling a starring role in "Fertig," a battle flick based on the true-life experiences of a World War II hero named, um, Wendell Fertig.
According to today's Daily Variety, the "Fertig" script by William Nicholson ("Nell") caught Cruise's eye several weeks ago. While the actor personally has never engaged in armed combat, he did make an Oliver Stone movie ("Born on the Fourth of July"), which is kinda the same thing. Fertig, meanwhile, is no stranger to the spotlight himself. He was the subject of the 1963 nonfiction book "They Fought Alone" by John Keats.
CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION: Columbia Pictures execs are hoping John Travolta will agree to star in "Travel Agent," a newly scripted movie about a man who travels in time to thwart an assassination. Travolta is in arrears to Columbia: He owes the studio a movie for backing out of Roman Polanski's never-completed "The Double" in 1996. According to Variety, director Andy Davis ("The Fugitive") is interested in making "Travel Agent," and a screenplay has already been completed by Gregory Hansen ("Heart and Souls").
Travolta had planned to fulfill his debt by starring in a film called "The Shipping News" with wife Kelly Preston, but he dropped out of that project, too (as did Preston).
OH NO, ANOTHER MOB MOVIE: Count Mel Gibson as the latest Hollywood type to succumb to the (onscreen) allure of the mob. Gibson and partner Bruce Davey, of the star's Icon Pictures, have snapped up the screen rights to a new Mafia novel by two former NYPD cops, Variety says. "Lady Gold" tells the story of an undercover female cop who is assigned to guard a mobster turned police informant.
Gibson, who recently finished starring in "The Patriot" for director Roland Emmerich ("Godzilla"), is said to interested in directing the mob-cop flick.