News Roundup: Jan. 16

Top Story

Wanna own your own movie studio? If you’ve got $7 billion, you can buy MGM. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio has been put up for sale by controlling shareholder and billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who has hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to manage the deal. As yet no one is biting, and some analysts have said a more realistic price will fetch more offers. Although no one is commenting on potential buyers, Disney has been forecasted as a likely contender.

In General

Backstreet Boy Justin Timberlake is now an impersonator, and no, Elvis is not in the picture. Timberlake appears in Elton John‘s new video, “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore,” in ’70s drag, donning oversized glasses and bright, funky clothes. The similarity is so real, People reports, that John admitted, “[Timberlake] had obviously done his homework. It freaks me out.”

Mariah Carey, Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters made several journalists wait an hour and a half before giving scheduled interviews at the Sundance Film Festival for their film “Wise Girls,” according to Obviously their film’s title doesn’t reflect their knowledge of good manners.

Speaking of Sundance, HBO and Showtime are proving a prominent presence this year, the Associated Press reports. HBO hosted the festival’s opening and featured centerpiece films, The Laramie Project and Hysterical Blindness, respectively, and Showtime premiered Our America last weekend, proving “independent film” seems to be “depending” heavily on big-name corporations for funding and promotion.

Chris Rock will star in and direct DreamWorks’ political comedy Head of State, which is set to begin production in May, Variety reports. Rock co-wrote the script that has him entering a presidential race to replace a deceased candidate. If only George W. were so amusing.

In other laughable news, Comedy Central funnyman Jon Stewart will host the 44th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Feb. 27, Reuters reports. This will be Stewart‘s second year in a row.

“Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel will receive the Chairman’s Award at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention in Las Vegas, according to Variety. The award, given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the TV industry, will be presented during the 9 a.m. opening session Tuesday. Sounds about as exciting as “Nightline,” doesn’t it?

Paul McCartney will perform his song “Freedom” at the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in Louisiana, Reuters reports. McCartney wrote the song as a result of the Sept. 11 tragedy and says he is “honored to add my voice to the message of tribute that this year’s Super Bowl will carry.”

Martha Stewart‘s company may discontinue its deal with the Kmart Corp. if the discount store files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Reuters. Stewart’s line of home décor is considered one of Kmart’s most important suppliers. Apparently, association with financial problems wouldn’t be “a good thing” for Stewart‘s products.

Expect to get burned if you’re playing with Eminem…er, fire. Eminem‘s movie “8 Mile,” which has a scene with a burning house in it, infuriated residents of Highland Park, Mich. (where the scene was being filmed), who claimed the fire would be ruinous to their neighborhood’s reputation. The fire injured four crew members who were taken to the hospital and treated for burns but were back on the set the same night, according to People.

ABC’s Once and Again, starring Sela Ward, has been pulled (once again) from the network’s schedule, according to Variety. ABC says, “The show simply hasn’t worked on Fridays, so we’re returning it to [Monday] where it had its greatest success.” The show is set to go back on the air on Monday, March 4.

Some of the students at Tom Brokaw’s alma mater will soon be $50,000 richer, thanks to his newly established scholarship for American Indians attending the University of Iowa. The first recipient is expected to be named this spring and will receive the scholarship for the 2002-03 school year, the AP reports.

New wave ’80s singer Adam Ant has been confined to a psychiatric ward in The Royal Free Hospital in London, Reuters reports. Charged in January with assault and possessing a firearm after a stint at a local pub, the 47-year-old claimed he’d fallen victim to a sinister plot and that he’d been “abducted by the police again.” Wait…was that Adam Ant or Adam Alien?

Willie Nelson is multimedia man extraordinaire, it seems. The 68-year-old country singer is not only back on tour for his new album, “The Great Divide,” (which features duets with other famous voices), but Random House has just released his new book, “The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes.” At least now we know what he means when he sings “Always on My Mind.”