News Roundup: April 21


Top Story

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, 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.

TV News

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.

Music News

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, 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.

In Memoriam

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.