News Roundup: Jan 9

Top Story

Michael Jackson has (finally) solidified his plans for the upcoming American Music Awards and Grammy ceremonies. Jacko‘s not even appearing at Wednesday night’s AMA awards; he’s simply sending in a prerecorded performance of his tune “Man in the Mirror.” What Jacko‘s doing for February’s Grammy Awards is still up in the air, but this is an obvious ploy in hope that he’ll still be invited to perform.

In General

If you’re familiar with director Steven Soderbergh‘s Ocean’s Eleven, you’ll see some familiar faces in his upcoming film Full Frontal. Ocean’s star Julia Roberts will star in the Miramax-made movie, as will Jerry Weintraub, who served as producer on the casino-heist film, according to Variety.

Viewers who tuned in to Carson Daly‘s new NBC late-night talk show on Monday night were probably disappointed: the MTV star’s show, Last Call, did not debut. According to, Daly had not yet signed a contract with NBC.

Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, busted on Jan. 2 for resisting arrest following an argument at a Tampa nightclub, phoned MTV on Tuesday, claiming he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and stressing his innocence.

The National Board of Review revealed their list of winners for 2001 on Monday night. Monster’s Ball‘s Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton won for best actress and best actor, respectively. Steven Spielberg was honored with the Billy Wilder Excellence in Direction Award.

In other Monster’s Ball news, the film’s director, Marc Forster, will next helm a film about the creator of Peter Pan, James Barrie. Titled Never Land, the film is based on the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan, written by Allan Knee.

At February 3rd’s Super Bowl, Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony will kick off the festivities by singing America the Beautiful, accompanied by the Boston Pops and a group of firefighters, policemen and military personnel. The NFL made the announcement on Tuesday, adding that Mariah Carey and U2 are still slated for halftime performances.

It may seem unthinkable, but Disney will be releasing several sequels to animated classics in 2002. First will be Cinderella II in February, followed by Peter Pan II in March and Dumbo II and The Jungle Book II coming out later in the year. All of the sequels will be animated in the “classic” Disney style, according to the BBC.

Late singer Aaliyah is on course to snag the number-one spot on the British charts with her single “More Than a Woman.” It currently leads the way among singles, as of Wednesday, Reuters reports.

First the drummer goes, now the lead singer. Chris Robinson left the rock group The Black Crowes–after 15 years with the band–in December, reports. The group’s spokesman said on Tuesday that the band was “taking a hiatus” and that Robinson is pursuing a solo career.

Universal Studios told Variety on Tuesday that 2.9 million of the available 3.4 million copies of The Fast and the Furious DVD have already been sold–just since Jan. 2!

On Tuesday, members of the Screen Actors Guild reinforced the results of its recent election for president of the group, which some members have called into question. A reelection will be held from March 15 to April 10, to determine the result of the dispute, but actress Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prarie) is expected to retain her current role as president, according to Variety.

On Friday, Muhammad Ali will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jan. 17 will also be named “Muhammad Ali Day” in Hollywood, said Hollywood Mayor James K. Hahn.

For the first time in seven years, opera legend Luciano Pavarotti will perform at London’s Royal Opera House on Friday, starring in a performance of Tosca.

On March 3, producer Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, West Side Story) will receive the Producers Guild of America’s Milestone Award. Previous winners include Steven Spielberg, Bob Hope and Alfred Hitchcock.