Talk show guru Oprah Winfrey has decided to cut back on her book club recommendations, which have been known to send a book straight to the Top 10 best-sellers list, because she is finding it more difficult to find books she can rave about. “It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share,” Winfrey said in a statement on her show Friday. “I will continue featuring books on The Oprah Winfrey Show when I feel they merit my heartfelt recommendation.”
Winfrey has also decided to cut back on traveling because she says she doesn’t feel safe, recently postponing a trip to South Africa to promote the launch of her magazine, O. “My instinct says things aren’t right in parts of the world. All parts–and to get from my part to your part, I’d have to travel over other parts,” Winfrey told a South Africa newspaper Sunday Times.
Is it him or isn’t it? Two-time Grammy winner R. Kelly is having to answer questions about allegations that he appeared in a sexually explicit videotape with a minor that is being sold illegally across the country and on the Internet. The R&B artist denies all claims but Chicago police are investigating. Meanwhile, some radio stations in the Chicago area are boycotting the singer’s music.
Tony-winning actress Jane Alexander and her husband, director/producer Edwin Sherin, are taking up teaching positions at Florida State University in the fall as part of its Eppes Professor program, which invites high-profile professionals to join the academia.
John Ashcroft may be the U.S. attorney general, but his first love is music. To prove it, he is scheduled to make an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, during which he may sing a few songs for the audience. Letterman has been poking fun at the attorney general recently, showing clips of Ashcroft singing his own song, “Let the Eagles Soar,” at a theological seminar in North Carolina. The Late Show segment is being taped Tuesday, AP reports.
Following on the heels of the successful Carol Burnett Show reunion special which aired last year, TV nostalgia will reign again when CBS airs a Mary Tyler Moore Show retrospective May 13 during the all-important “sweeps” month. The special will star members of the old cast, including Moore, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod and Betty White.
Actor/singer Harry Belafonte will receive the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s lifetime achievement award. Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter, told AP, “Mr. Belafonte has been a great role model, possessing not only professional gifts and talents, but he also reflects the gift of social sacrifice and political consciousness that has helped African Americans in their struggle.”
Roy Huggins, writer/producer of TV classics such as Maverick and The Fugitive, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif., of natural causes. He was 87. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Adele Mara, and their three sons, Thomas, John and James.