News Roundup: March 21


Top Story

Rosie O’Donnell, who recently came out as a lesbian and expressed her opposition to the Florida ban on adoptions by gay parents, has asked to have her name and narration removed from the Oscar-nominated documentary short Artists and Orphans: A True Drama. The film is about a New York theater group that goes to the former Soviet republic of Georgia to assist orphaned and abandoned children.

The talk-show host’s publicist, Cindi Berger, told the Associated Press that O’Donnell found out the film’s creators, including the director, Lianne Klapper McNally, were tied to the Fourth Way School, a cult-like group that focuses on personal development but apparently bans homosexuals and believes they should not be parents. O’Donnell, who has three adoptive children, was “angry that the background [of the filmmakers] wasn’t disclosed to her,” Berger added.

In General

Gwyneth Paltrow is complaining Hollywood is just too “male dominated.” According to, she told a German newspaper, “I would like to leave. At the moment, there is definitely a lack of interesting female roles and nothing that I would really like to undertake.” The “real” world isn’t much better, Gwyneth. Get used to it.

Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger are in negotiations to star in Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain, the big-screen adaptation of Charles Frazier’s best-selling novel about a wounded soldier’s treacherous journey home from the Civil War. Tom Cruise was reportedly attached to the project last year but has now dropped out of the picture. Good thing for ex-wife Nicole–that could have been awkward. Filming is tentatively set to start in July.

First celebrity boxing, now amateur nude modeling. How low can you go? Fox is developing a two-hour special, Girl Next Door: The Search for a Playboy Centerfold, that will follow 12 women shooting for a chance to be the next pinup for Playboy, Variety reports. There is no air date as yet (sorry, guys), but Fox is aiming for a May sweeps airing.

Comedian Paula Poundstone received high praises from Judge Bernard J. Kamins for following her terms of probation, including attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and regular counseling sessions, in the child-endangerment case against her. Poundstone lost custody of her three adopted children when she pleaded no contest last year to driving the children while under the influence. She will return to court June 5 for a probation review.

USA Today reported that NBC has decided not to air liquor commercials, after all. Three months ago, NBC lifted its self-imposed ban against televised liquor ads but received such a backlash of criticism from lawmakers and advocacy groups that the network reconsidered. NBC said in a statement, “We are, therefore, ending the first phase of branded social responsibility advertising on our network and will not proceed into the next phase of carrying product advertising for distilled spirits.” In laymen’s terms, you won’t be seeing anyone on NBC swigging down a bottle of vodka to try to get you to buy it.

R&B crooner Alicia Keys is going to have to build a trophy case in her house soon. She picked up three awards, including female entertainer of the year, at the 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards on Wednesday. The other big winner of the evening was the Isley Brothers, who also took home three awards.

Irish rocker Bono may be headed for Parliament before he knows it. U2’s lead singer and his tireless campaign to help the world’s needy were recognized by U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill on Wednesday. At a United Nations press conference, O’Neill told Reuters, “This is a person who’s invested enough of his own time and energy to learn about and go see what life is like on the ground that he has my respect.” The two will be traveling to Africa next month. How cozy!

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in favor of artist Stevie Wonder, saying that he did not violate copyright laws with his song “For Your Love.” Derrick Coles and Gwendolyn Daniles, who claimed Wonder stole the copyrights of the song from them, were unable to provide proof of their allegations.

Singer Bonnie Raitt got her own little bit of fame Tuesday as she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame–right in front of her record label, Capitol. “I can’t believe that in my 50s, I’m standing here with my Walk of Fame star,” Raitt told CNN. “If someone proposed this to me 20 years ago, I would have said, ‘No way,'” she said.