News Roundup: April 9


Top Story

ABC and Ted Koppel sealed a deal that will ensure the future of the late-night news program Nightline for at least two more years in its 11:35 p.m. time slot, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Last month, ABC tried to woo David Letterman away from CBS to start a new late-night talk show in the 11:35 slot that Koppel has held for 22 years, casting doubt on Nightline‘s future. Meanwhile, Koppel still has four years remaining on his contract.


Manchester United soccer player David Beckham has bought his wife, Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, an armored Mercedes with one-inch-thick windows that can withstand gunfire and floors that are reinforced to protect against landmine blasts. According to the This Is London Web site, the car, valued at more than $200,000, also has an airtight passenger compartment in case of a gas attack. Two years ago, Scotland Yard uncovered a plot to kidnap the singer and their son, Brooklyn.

Fashion designer Stella McCartney, daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney, is causing a ruckus because of a rooftop shower she added to her multimillion-dollar house in west London’s Notting Hill, Reuters reports. The Westminster City Council has launched an investigation about the wooden shower and pallings atop McCartney‘s home after complaints from neighbors. Because the neighborhood and its period properties are a conservation area, residents and council officials are sensitive to change.

Boxer Mike Tyson is denying allegations that he assaulted a stripper and her boyfriend following an argument at a topless bar in Phoenix, Ariz., Sunday morning. A Phoenix police spokesman told Reuters there were no visible injuries on either of the alleged victims and that witnesses gave conflicting reports of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

In the Biz

Pre-production on the Fat Albert movie has stopped because of creative differences between the cartoon’s creator, Bill Cosby, and director Forest Whitaker. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Whitaker is now off the project, and the search for a new director is on. A representative from Fox described the director’s departure as amicable.

Australian thesp Russell Crowe may be teaming up again with Gladiator director Ridley Scott on a new film. Tripoli, a historical epic about U.S. soldier and diplomat William Eaton, who joined forces with an exiled king to overthrow the corrupt ruler of Tripoli (in what is now Libya) in the early 1800s, is expected to begin shooting this fall, Variety reports.

Universal pictures sealed a deal to pick up Robert Franke’s intergalactic thriller Razors, Variety reports. Described as The Dirty Dozen in outer space, the film is set 600 years from now and follows mankind’s terrifying expansion outward to fringe galaxies, including one that is inhabited by conscienceless superhumans.

Tube News

Blame it on Lisa. Rio de Janeiro’s tourist board is considering legal action against the producers of The Simpsons because of an episode that it says undermined a campaign to attract visitors to the Brazilian city, Reuters reports. In last week’s episode, the Simpsons leave the cozy confines of Springfield and head to Rio de Janeiro to find a missing orphan whom Lisa has been sponsoring. They run across monkeys and rats, which is what the board found most offensive, saying it made the city look like a jungle.

The finale for Fox’s hit television show 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland is being heavily guarded. According to Variety, anyone involved in the series’ production will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, promising not to disclose any information about the script or season finale. Production is set to begin April 18 and apparently contains some surprise twists and turns that would be spoiled if they leaked out.

NBC’s Today is launching an on-air book club in June, People reports. The news comes on the heels of Oprah Winfrey’s decision to scale back on the books she will promote on her show. But rather than have hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer recommend books, the show will invite top-selling authors to suggest books by lesser-known authors.

Music News

OutKast appeared at a music festival in South Carolina despite a call from the NAACP for an economic boycott of the state, the Associated Press reports. OutKast performed the song “Rosa Parks” and told the crowd that it decided to perform because people working at the festival would lose their jobs if it didn’t. The group said that it will continue to support the NAACP despite ignoring the boycott, which was organized to protest the continued use of the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds.


Suzan-Lori Parks became the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for her play Topdog/Underdog, a drama about sibling rivalry and dreams denied, the AP reports. The play first debuted at the off-Broadway nonprofit Public Theater last July and made its official Broadway debut Sunday night to rave reviews.

In Memoriam

Air Force Sergeant John Agar, who became an actor after marrying Shirley Temple, died Sunday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif. He was 81. Agar met Temple in 1945 when he was 24 and she was just 16. They began a romance and were married later the same year. The two starred in two films together, Fort Apache and Adventure in Baltimore and, in 1948, Temple gave birth to their daughter, Susan. Temple filed for divorced in 1949, troubled by Agar‘s drinking and many flirtations, AP reports. Agar went on to star in mostly Westerns and war movies, including She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Along the Great Divide.

Mexican actress Maria Felix, known as a femme fatale throughout Latin America and the one-time lover of the painter Diego Rivera, died of heart failure Monday at her house in Mexico City, Mexico, Reuters reports. Described as the country’s Marilyn Monroe, Felix appeared in 47 films, including La Generala and French Cancan.