News Roundup: Jan. 28

Top Story

British and Australian talent featured highly in this year’s Bafta awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars. Moulin Rouge and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring each received 12 nominations, Reuters reports. The two films will battle it out in the best film category against A Beautiful Mind, Shrek and the French romantic comedy Amélie. The stars of Richard Eyre’s Iris, Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville, each received nominations, as did Ian McKellen for his portrayal of the wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. Dench also received a best supporting actress nod for her role in The Shipping News. Nicole Kidman received a best actress nomination for The Others while fellow Aussie Russell Crowe won a nomination for best actor in A Beautiful Mind.

In General

Britney Spears looking…prim? The pop princess will appear in two Pepsi commercials dubbed “Now and Then” during the upcoming Super Bowl XXXVI wearing period outfits instead of her typical midriff-baring getups and singing jingles from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Internet users will then be asked to vote on their favorite generation. The winning era will be featured in a 30-second commercial shown during the second quarter of Sunday’s game.

Playboy Playmate Petra Verkiak, aka Miss December 1989, took a high school teen to his girl-ask-guy winter formal after reading his college entrance essay, The Associate Press reports. Verkiak, 35, said she thought Toby Hawking’s essay, which she received from a friend who got it from Hocking’s mother, was “really deep.” The former pinup showed up at Foothill High School in a limousine with the straight-A clarinet player and exclaimed, “This is like a fairy tale.”

Anschutz Entertainment, the company that built the new homes for the Oscars and the L.A. Lakers, has reportedly set its sights on the Emmys. According to Variety, representatives from the company met with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences board of governors and executive committee to sway them into moving their annual primetime Emmy awards show to a venue in downtown Los Angeles. Anschutz Entertainment plans to build a 7,000-seat theater across from its Staples Center, which would be ready in time for the 2005 ceremony.

Last Wednesday’s Inside the Real West Wing, an up-close-and-personal look inside the Bush White House that aired on NBC from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., surpassed The West Wing episode that followed it in the ratings race. While the special drew 15.2 million viewers, The West Wing averaged 14.7 million viewers. Perhaps the fact that the episode was a rerun was to blame. Figures show that on average, 18.4 million viewers tune in to President Josiah Bartlet.


Just a few months after CBS announced a full-season order of 22 episodes of The Ellen Show, the network has shut down production of Ellen DeGeneres‘ struggling comedy. The five remaining original episodes have been yanked through the February sweeps and will air instead in March and April.


Astrid Lindgren, the creator of braided redhead Pippi Longstocking, died Monday at her Stockholm home after several days of illness. She was 94. Lindgren wrote more than 100 works, including novels, plays, short stories and poetry, but her most popular character was Pippi Longstocking, the freethinking freckled girl with mismatched stockings.