News Roundup: Jan. 23

Top Story

In an interview with Dateline on NBC Tuesday, comedian Paula Poundstone said she never hit or sexually abused anyone, but had been “colossally stupid.” While Poundstone admitted she had a drinking problem, she said there was no worse punishment than returning from rehab to an empty house. “There are kids in orphanages in the Balkans that the state of California believes are better off there than with me,” she told Dateline. “It’s not a very good feeling.”

In General

Bruce Willis is set to star in a thriller about a man who has lost his memory and has to figure out whether he’s a hitman or a hitman’s target. Me Again, produced by Willis‘ partner Arnold Rifkin and Beryl Vertue, will begin production some time later this year, Variety reports. No director is attached to the project.

Billy Bob Thornton, Johnny Depp and Hugh Grant have been added to the spring lineup for Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio. According to Variety, the episodes will air from Jan. 28 to March 11. Telecasts for this month’s interviews with Bruce Willis, Debra Winger, Sarah Jessica Parkerand Sissy Spacek have yet to be scheduled.

Denzel Washington, who plays a financially strapped man who holds a hospital emergency room hostage to get a heart transplant for his son in John Q, does not necessarily agree with his character’s tactics. “What he’s saying basically is that my son’s life is more important than anyone else’s in that emergency room, ” he told reporters over the weekend. “The bottom line is he could have gone to a county hospital.”

British talent apparently does not impress Minnie Driver. Driver commented in an interview with a Los Angeles newspaper that some of England’s greatest actresses are also some of the plainest. Sky News reports that Driver said, “Maybe it is because theatre is the great love of England, but you can have Judi Dench, a very small, round, middle-aged, lovely, mothering type, playing Cleopatra.” Dench was 52-and menopausal-when she played the Queen of the Nile in London for director Peter Hall.

Janet Jackson said on Tuesday that she may never tour again. In an interview with the syndicated TV news show Extra, Jackson said she would only tour again if she could hit every place she needed to go within a month or two. “Touring is very grueling. It’s very taxing on the body and living out of your suitcase, going from city to city, night after night. It’s a tough job,” she told Extra, which provided a partial transcript of the interview to Reuters. The entire interview will air on Wednesday.

CBS, Fox and NBC have greenlighted more pilots for fall 2002. According to Variety, the former producer of Homicide: Life on the Streets will head R.U.S.H., a CBS pilot about an elite unit of the LAPD, while Fox has given the final OK for Fast Lane, an action series described as a cross between Starsky and Hutch and Miami Vice. NBC meanwhile has agreed to push the comedy Mr. Ambassador starring Rupert Everett to midseason.

Veteran broadcast journalist Connie Chung is leaving ABC News to join CNN, where she is expected to host a primetime show, Reuters reports. Chung‘s move intensifies the rivalry between CNN and the Fox News Channel in the all-news cable television category. Last month Fox stole CNN’s Greta Van Susteren to anchor a primetime news show, while CNN lured away Fox News Channel’s anchor Paula Zahn.

Moulin Rouge took home eight prizes at the International Press Academy’s sixth annual Golden Satellite Awards, including best director and best film, Variety reports. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring followed with four nods, In the Bedroom earned three wins and A Beautiful Mind nabbed two prizes. The International Press Academy is a breakaway group from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that organizes the Golden Globe Awards.

Pat Summerall announced Tuesday that he will leave John Madden, his NFL broadcasting partner of 21 years, after they call the Super Bowl for Fox Sports, the Associated Press reports. Summerall, 71, said he was not retiring and still wants to do games and work with the NFL.

AP reports that John Mellencamp is satisfied with the four-year suspended sentence and $10,000 fine given to homebuilder Timothy O. Eldredge, who pled guilty to a felony charge of theft of $137,471 by falsifying billing invoices in an effort to bilk the singer and his wife, Elaine Irwin. The couple had hired The Eldredge Group of Indianapolis to build a $2.5 million home near Lake Monroe south of Bloomington.

The WB has decided to halt production on the second season of the comedy Nikki, which star Nikki Cox as a Las Vegas showgirl and Nick von Esmarch as her wrestler husband. A total of 41 episodes will have been produced when the show wraps.

ABC and ESPN have won broadcast rights from NBC for the National Basketball Association games. The six-year deal starts next season, but the league said it would also create a new network with AOL Time Warner Inc. broadcast games. According to Reuters, the new deals will feature more than twice the number of regular season broadcasts as the current one.