News Roundup: Aug. 1


Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow has canceled her Aug. 6 concert at the Turtle Creek Casino in Williamsburg, Mich., after undergoing a surgical procedure, The Associated Press reports. The William Morris Agency, which represents Crow, said that she had “an unavoidable medical condition that required surgery.” Crow is currently resting at home and is expected to recover within two weeks.

Judging Amy costar Tyne Daly‘s, who plays Maxine Gray on the show, could return to the set Friday after she injured her back falling in Paris. In her absence, USA Today reports, CBS shot two episodes without referencing her character. The network has apparently offered to negotiate with Daly, if she returns to work.


Richard Pryor will be honored by a multiple sclerosis group with a comedy festival and a luncheon in his hometown of Peroia, Ill. Promoter Marc Porch told AP that even though the actor would probably not attend, he would be there “in voice and in video.” Besides recognizing Pryor, the event also will inform people about the disease. Pryor announced he had multiple sclerosis in 1991 and now spends most of his time at his home in California. The luncheon is set for Sept. 14 at the Bradley University Student Center.

In General

Could actor John Cusack could be the next president of the United States? A group of young Democrats launched an Internet presidential campaign for the actor on Wednesday, Reuters reports. The political Web site,, promotes the activities of a number of progressive organizations ranging from women’s rights groups to opposing drilling the oil in the Arctic. Cusack did not comment on the campaign because he is on vacation and is not reachable, his publicist said.

A mural drawn by a Baptist youth group depicting Elvis Presley–surrounded by a cross, a menorah and the Star of David–has been painted over because the religious symbols raised questions as to whether the painting was appropriate for public property, AP reports. The artwork was located above the stage of the city’s amphitheater where Presley first performed. Scott Banbury, spokesman for the Save Our Shell civic group, which maintains the amphitheater, said the mural was painted over Monday after city leaders complained about it.

Tiffani Thiessen will star in three episodes of the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me. Thiessen will play a new sex columnist for the series’ fictional Blush magazine, Reuters reports. Thiessen, known for her Saturday morning show Saved by the Bell and for playing Valerie on Beverly Hills, 90210, has focused on comic roles in recent years.

Cable network TNT is planning to produce a four-hour miniseries based on the Stephen King‘s vampire novel Salem’s Lot. The book was previously adapted into a TV movie in 1979 starring David Soul and James Mason. Producer Mark Wolper wants the remake to “terrify today’s audience” as much as the TV movie frightened him, he told AP. Screenwriter Peter Filardi, who wrote The Craft, has been hired to write the new script. No word yet when the movie will air.

John Mellencamp is tired of playing amphitheaters. According to, the singer said during his last tour that he would no longer play at venues owned and/or operated by SFX, the musical-industry conglomerate he has been critical of in recent years. “A lot of the stuff that I believed in the ’80s and early ’90s just didn’t seem to matter to anybody,” he said. “I’m not gonna sit there and do what Pearl Jam tried to do. It’s stupid, cause–you know, OK, noble cause, guys–at the end of the day, it ruined their career.” Mellencamp has finished working on his new album, Cuttin’ Heads, due out this fall.

Former President Bill Clinton is teaming up with Grammy-winning record producer and singer Babyface to fight AIDS in Africa through a new fund-raising and educational initiative. Peter Paris, a spokesman for the International AIDS in African communities, told AP that Babyface hoped to raise money to fight the disease by staging concerts and producing a CD.

According to a study conducted by the Parents Television Council in Washington, D.C., television has become more violent over the past two years, with more swearing and violence during the family hour. The number of swear words rose by 78 percent and violence was shown on average 2.8 times per hour, a 70 percent increase, Reuters reports. Among the networks, UPN was the biggest offender, with 18.1 incidents of offense per hour, followed by NBC at 9.1 and Fox with 7.8. As far as violence goes, UPN had three times as much as the WB. NBC got the highest average for sexual material with 5.7 per hour, followed by ABC with an average of 4.8 per hour.