News Roundup: Feb. 15


Top Story

Actor Robert De Niro will be hosting 9/11, a CBS special on the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11. The two-hour program will feature exclusive footage from inside the complex, shot by two French brothers, Gedeon and Jule Naudet, who were at ground zero filming a documentary when the attacks happened. They were the only ones to capture the first plane hitting the World Trade Center.

De Niro is co-founder of the Tri BeCa Film Center, which is located just a few blocks from ground zero. Widely considered the quintessential New Yorker, De Niro was chosen as host for his long-standing association to the Big Apple. The show will air Sunday, March 10, at 9 p.m.

In General

Latino singing sensation Gloria Estefan will help bring a little salsa to the Olympic Games closing night ceremonies Feb. 24 in Salt Lake City. Estefan will be singing a medley of her greatest hits, and won’t that be fun?

ShoWest 2002 has picked Jennifer Lopez as their female star of the year. She’ll be feted March 7 at ShoWest’s gala awards in Las Vegas. Last year’s recipient was Sandra Bullock.

Another match made in pop-singer heaven: Pop artist Jessica Simpson, 21, has announced her engagement to Nick Lachey, 28, of boy band 98 Degrees. No wedding date has been set.

Former Playmate and MTV queen Jenny McCarthy will be getting a dose of reality soon enough. She and her husband, director John Asher (Showtime’s Going to California), are expecting their first child in June.

Bob Dylan‘s 1965 collection Highway 61 Revisited, Willie Nelson‘s 1975 breakthrough album Red Headed Stranger and Bing Crosby‘s popular single, “Swinging On a Star” were just some of the 55 recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame on Thursday.

NBC Studios and the Jim Henson Co. have discussed a deal to develop and produce an original Muppet movie for this year’s holiday season. It’s a Wonderful Muppet Christmas will blend parodies of classic Christmas films with feature guest shots and cameo appearances from NBC stars. Plus, Kermit the Frog will apparently kiss Miss Piggy full on the snout.

Stop the presses! Joan Collins, 68, will be taking the marriage plunge–for the fifth time–this weekend. She’ll wed her much younger paramour, 36-year-old Peruvian-born theater company manager Percy Gibson, at London’s Claridge’s Hotel.

Jada Pinkett Smith, the pixie-cutie married to recent Oscar-nominee Will Smith, says she and Will carry on like every day was Valentine’s Day. “I know this might sound a little cheesy but we really try to celebrate Valentine’s Day every single day,” Pinkett Smith told The Associated Press. “We don’t wait for the 14th to come around. We really, really try to do it every single day.” That’s sweet. Delusional, but sweet.

In a ruling Thursday, British pop singer Robbie Williams lost his copyright battle with Ludlow Music, who charged that Williams’ song “Jesus in a Camper Van” substantially copied from the Woody Guthrie song “I Am The Way.” The defendants will be expected to hand over 25% of the royalties earned from “Jesus in a Camper Van,” as well as pay for all legal expenses.

Actress Jami Gertz, best known for her recent stint on Fox’s Ally McBeal, is set to star as comedian and former SNL star Gilda Radner in ABC’s movie It’s Always Something: The Gilda Radner Story. Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989. ABC plans to air the movie this spring.

The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint Wednesday to shut down Access Resource Services Inc. and Psychic Readers Network, the companies responsible for those popular psychic hotlines currently being hawked on television. The FTC objects to their rampant deception, and included a suit against the service’s spokeswoman Youree Dell Harris, known as “Miss Cleo.” Harris now has to prove she is a clever shaman from Jamaica. I guess she can’t quite predict everything.