News Roundup: Aug. 15

Top Story

The roommates of CBS’ Big Brother 2 and NBC’s Friends will be fighting for television ratings the evening of Sept. 20.

The Big Brother 2 $500,000 winner will be revealed that night, as chosen by contestants previously voted off the show, Reuters reports. The series has been gaining numbers in rating as the fights within the roommates increased in recent weeks. Thursday’s Big Brother 2, which featured Kent’s dismissal, attracted a season-high of 9.7 million viewers.

Big Brother 2‘s finale will serve as a lead-in to the second season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, followed by The Agency series debut.

NBC has finalized plans to air an NBC White House special the first Wednesday of the season, which will air Sept. 19 before the season premiere of The West Wing. The reality game show Lost, which would air on that time slot, has been moved to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18.


Dixie Chick Martie Seidel is engaged to Irish College professor Gareth MaGuire. The couple met at the wedding of fellow Dixie Chick lead singer Natalie Maines. But Kathy Allmand, spokesperson for the Dixie Chicks could not confirm the engagement to The Associated Press on Monday.


French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo is spending his days at Saint Joseph’s hospital in Paris recovering from a stroke he suffered last week. He is no longer in intensive care. The hospital said his health is improving and that treatment and re-education are continuing, Reuters reports.

Inspector Morse star John Thaw, 59, is responding well to cancer treatment and wants to return to work, his wife, Sheila Hancock, told AP. The British actor announced in June that he had cancer in the esophagus and would undergo treatment.

In Courts

Former Allman Brothers member Dickey Betts has been charged with domestic battery after he reportedly punched his wife Donna in the face while she was driving, police told AP. The musician was arrested Saturday and was released from jail Sunday on a $2,000 bail, the Sarasota Herald-Tribute reports. Betts was convicted of domestic battery in January and has had a number of arrests and attended various rehabilitation centers in southwest Florida in recent years.

In General

The Web site carried a poll of more than 17,000 film fans that voted for their “best baddie” in cinema history, Reuters reports. Among the big winners: Anthony Hopkins‘ in Silence of the Lambs Oscar-winning role of Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter; Star Wars‘s Darth Vader; and Psycho‘s Norman Bates. Other classic baddies included Christopher Lee‘s 1958 Dracula and Kevin Spacey for his roles in Usual Suspects and Seven.

The Irish rockers of U2 will bring their “Elevation” summer tour back to the United States for 25 new dates, London’s Times newspaper reports. The tour is expected to bring in $33 million on top of the estimated $142 million the tour has already generated worldwide. If it happens, U2 would rank as the third top-grossing tour of all time, following 1994’s Rolling Stones ($121.2 million) and Pink Floyd ($103.5 million). The European tour wraps on Sept. 1 at Dublin’s Slane castle.

Bluesman Robert Johnson, who died in 1938, will receive a third grave marker 63 years to the day after he died, Reuters reports. Experts believe that they have found the real burial site for Johnson, who has grave markers at two other locations. Claude Johnson, who recently was declared the bluesman’s legitimate son, historian Steve Cheseborough, and record collector Gayle Dean will unveil the headstone Thursday at the Little Zion Baptist Church, located just outside Greenwood, Miss. Experts think that this is where Johnson is buried because the graveyard used by the plantation owner on whose land Johnson died.

Steven Spielberg‘s Band of Brothers has been dropped from London’s BBC1’s primetime fall schedule after TV execs feared the World War II series wasn’t mainstream enough. According to Reuters, local war veterans claimed that the story line gave the impression that Americans won the war by themselves. The series has been bumped to sister channel BBC2, which gets audiences half the size of those for BBC1.