News Roundup: Nov. 15

Top Story

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, set to debut in 3,672 theaters on Friday, looks to be on its way to breaking weekend box office records, Reuters reports. The record for widest opening belongs to Mission: Impossible, which opened in 3,653 theaters last summer and made $56.8 million. The record number of theaters scheduled to show Harry Potter could push the movie to surpass the $72.1 million three-day opening of The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997.

In Court

Singer Van Morrison won a libel suit against the London paper Sunday Independent over statements that he had an affair with singer Linda Gail Lewis. The paper has fully accepted that there was absolutely no truth in the allegation and agreed to pay substantial damages to Morrison, including legal costs, BBC News reports. Morrison, who recently recorded an album with Lewis, called the allegations a complete and utter fabrication.

In General

In the soon-to-be-released documentary Being Mick, Mick Jagger pokes fun at Britain’s royal family for not awarding him any royal honors, The Associated Press reports. Right before a meeting with Prince Charles, Jagger puts on an exaggerated upper-class English accent and jokes, “Is it true that you haven’t got anything at all? That is rather odd, isn’t it.” Paul McCartney and Elton John both wear the title of “sir.” The documentary will air on ABC on Thanksgiving.

Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special surprised CBS execs with a stunning 25.73 million viewers, the largest audience for a music special on any network since ABC’s Beatles Anthology in 1995. Variety, which dubbed it the “Wacko Jacko” effect, claims viewers tuned in not so much for the music, but to get a glimpse at the frighteningly pale and surgically altered Jackson.

For the first time in its 18-year history, Jeopardy! will increase the dollar amount on its question-and-answer board, raising the minimum amount to $200 from the current $100 and the top amount to $2,000 from $1,000, Reuters reports. The show’s longtime host Alex Trebek said he is happy that contestants will be rewarded even more for their hard work and vast knowledge.

Author Jonathan Franzen won the National Book Award for fiction Wednesday for his novel The Corrections, Reuters reports. Franzen found himself embroiled in controversy last month when he voiced reservations about having the novel included in Oprah Winfrey‘s book club. After complaining about having the club’s logo on the dust cover of his novel, Winfrey took back her invitation to have Franzen appear on her show.

Over the next two months, Jerry Springer, Sally Jessy Raphael, Penn & Teller, Dave Holmes, Cindy Adams, Gilbert Gottfried and Robin Leach will temporarily replace Dick Cavett as the narrator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Broadway. After Cavett warned his successors about the show’s crazed fans, daytime talk Raphael told AP, “People throw things? That’s part of my daily existence. I’m afraid that is not a stretch.”

A study by researchers at the University of Tuebingen in Germany indicates that the brain waves of professional musicians respond to music in a way that suggests they have an intuitive sense of the notes. Using brain-scanning MRI machines to peer into the minds of professional German violinists, neuroscientists found the subjects could hear the music by simply thinking about it, AP reports.