News Roundup: Sept. 18


Top Story

Just when they thought they could go back to their normal lives (all except Kelly Clarkson, of course), the 30 finalists from the hit Fox series American Idol will reunite for a two-hour special in Las Vegas. The show, which will be taped Wednesday at the MGM Grand hotel-casino, will include Clarkson performing her new single “A Moment Like This,” plus two other songs. Viewers will be able to vote on which song Clarkson should record next. The special will air Sept. 23 on Fox.


The Associated Press reports a federal judge has thrown out a lingering lawsuit filed by the beef industry against talk-show guru Oprah Winfrey. The 1998 suit claimed Winfrey violated the Texas “veggie libel” law when, on her show, she talked about how there could be a risk of mad cow disease spreading in U.S. beef and how she vowed to never eat a hamburger again. U.S. District Judge Mary Robinson dismissed “all claims and causes of action asserted or that could have been asserted” by Cactus Feeding Club Inc.

Supermodel Christy Turlington admitted to she and actor-director Ed Burns broke off their engagement due in part to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Their nuptials were to take place late October 2001 in Italy but because of the fears of traveling, it was postponed several times until finally Burns and Turlington simply went their separate ways. Now everyone can sleep at night knowing exactly what happened to those two.

Kevin Spacey chastised New York magazine and gossip columnist Marc Malkin for its “totally inaccurate” reporting that the actor was renting a mansion on Fire Island, off Long Island’s southern coast. AP reports Spacey wrote a letter to the editor saying he has never been to Fire Island and quipped he had been at an amusement park in Boise, Idaho, all summer. OK, obviously a joke, but: “While I understand that most of your reporting is done in good fun,” Spacey wrote, “it is so completely untrue that it seems to warrant a re-examination by New York of the freedom it gives to reporters who write anything they want without concern for the facts.”


Variety reports LL Cool J will be S.W.A.T.-ing his way into theaters May 2003, as he joins Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez in the feature film S.W.A.T.. Based on the classic TV series, rapper LL Cool J (who will go by his real name, James Todd Smith) will star as a key member of the S.W.A.T. team assigned to transport an international criminal who has offered $100 million for anyone who can set him free.


Taking a cue from the British reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, ABC is planning to take eight celebrities–entertainers, sports stars, newsmakers–and dump them in a remote location with very few rations. The celebs, who will be playing for their favorite charities, will also be voted off by viewers, a la American Idol. Can’t see Tom Hanks doing this–again.

The other American Idol darling Tamyra Gray, whose early ousting created quite a stir on the show, may capitalize on her Idol fame–this time as an actress. Gray is in discussions to appear on Fox’s Boston Public in a multi-episode arc this season.


AP reports Dee Dee Ramone’s official cause of death in June was an overdose of heroin. The Los Angeles coroner’s office released the toxicology report stating Ramone had a lethal amount of the drug in his body at the time of his autopsy. One of the founding members of the punk band The Ramones, the bassist and songwriter was found dead June 5 on the couch of his home.