General News

NEWSMAKERS: Inside Katie Couric -- Literally

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Next on "Today": A peek up Katie Couric's butt.

Yes, it's come to this. Just weeks after a pair of total strangers married on live TV in the name of unholy matrimony, America's leading morning-news show is offering up footage of its anchor's recent colonoscopy. The fun started today. More goodies from Couric's electronic cancer screening test are scheduled to air Tuesday.

Top that, Bryant Gumbel.

"Today" "Today's" look-at-Katie's-colon segment is part of the NBC show's weeklong series about colon cancer. Couric knows first-hand how serious the disease is; her husband, NBC legal commentator Jay Monahan, died from it in January 1998 at age 42. Since then, Couric has been championing education and preventive measures to combat colon cancer, which claims 55,000 American lives each year.

This is all well and good, but the question begs: Does America really want and/or need to see Couric's innards?

"We're showing it to demonstrate that there's no reason people should be scared," "Today" executive producer (and fellow colon-cancer patient) Jeff Zucker told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We try to do sit with tremendous sensitivity. We don't show a lot of her colon. We're not going to gross anybody out."

THE GREATEST NUT OF ALL? In New York, Whitney Houston has obtained a restraining order against a 36-year-old woman who says the singer/actress/diva is her, you know, "supernatural reincarnated mother." According to Houston's camp, Desiree D. Weeks began sending rambling letters to the entertainer in August. The missives reportedly referred to Houston's 7-year-old daughter as Weeks' "little sister" and Houston's mother as Weeks' "nana." Authorities says Weeks also sent Houston a four-tiered cake, underwear and other unspecified gifts -- although why you'd need other gifts after scoring a free four-tiered cake, we have no idea.

TEENY-WEENY BOPPER: The ex-drummer for the Bay City Rollers, the 1970s-era, plaid-clad pop group that once dominated the teen-idol press on the (relative) strength of one catchy hit ("Saturday Night"), pleaded guilty to kiddie porn charges Friday in his native Scotland. Police there say they found the offending photos and videos during a raid of Derek Longmuir's apartment. The former teen idol, now in his 40s, most recently worked as a nurse at a local Edinburgh hospital. He'll be sentenced at a later court date. No comment on the case from his erstwhile bandmates. Like the guy named Woody.

GET YER STINKIN' GUN LAWS OFF ME! "Planet of the Apes" survivor and National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston has canceled an appearance today alongside gun-control activist James Brady. Heston was scheduled to take part at a campaign kickoff for Colorado Project Exile, a program aimed at cutting gun-related crime in Colorado. A parent of a child killed in the Columbine High School massacre is also taking part. An NRA spokesman said some last-minute things came up on Chuck's schedule. (Time to reload?)

OSCAR WATCH: Drew Barrymore has been added to the list of celebrity presenters at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards on March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. We're sure the appearance is in no way timed to her upcoming movie "Charlie's Angels." We're sure of that. We think.

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