On Saturday Night Live, the cast member who anchors Weekend Update has always had a special role to fill on the show. Guaranteed a showcase, they are the one constant in an otherwise ever changing group of sketches.
The originator of the role, Chevy Chase, left after one season to find stardom in movies, setting an example that would be followed going forward: Weekend Update anchors moving on to bigger and better things. You may have heard of Chase's immediate successors — Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray — all of whom (along with Chase) continue working regularly in film and television 30-plus years later. But how about everyone else who's held the desk?
THE LOST YEARS
When first Jean Doumanian and then Dick Ebersol took over as executive producer after Lorne Michaels exited the show following the 1979 - '80 season, the segment went through a number of changes, including sometimes being called Newsbreak and Saturday Night News. The most prominent host during the early '80s was Brad Hall — known to most, now, as Julia Louis-Dreyfus' husband — who anchored from 1982 - '84. Many of the other anchors during that time — Charles Rocket, Christine Ebersole, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Mary Gross — did the segment for just a year (or less). Most members of this group have faded into the background, although Rocket, who famously dropped an F-bomb during a SNL sketch, made regular appearances on television and movies (Moonlighting, Dances with Wolves) until his death in 2005. Doyle-Murray (Bill's older brother) and Guest were established character actors before joining the show and didn't miss a beat after leaving. Doyle-Murray has been in everything from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to ABC's The Middle, usually playing some variation of a blowhard. Guest most famously played the six-fingered Count Rugen in The Princess Bride and earned additional praise for directing ensemble comedies like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show.
THE GOLDEN AGE
Since Michaels took back the reins of SNL in 1985, the format of Weekend Update has remained largely unchanged and the comics that have sat behind the desk have become some of the biggest names in entertainment. But, who's having the best post-SNL career? Starting with the mid '80s, we rank them from worst to best below:
Kevin Nealon (1991 - '94) and Colin Quinn (1998 - 2000)
Most non-hardcore SNL fans would have difficulty remembering anything about either Nealon's or Quinn's stint on Update, so maybe it's not surprising that they've had the least success since leaving the show (although they've still done significantly better than most of the Ebersol folk). Quinn was a stand-up comic before the show and just returned to doing more of the same when he left. He did host a show on Comedy Central for a while, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. Nealon's biggest success came playing hapless accountant Doug Wilson on Showtime's Weeds. Each is friends with fellow SNL alum Adam Sandler, so Nealon and Quinn also show up occasionally doing cameos in Sandler's films. Lately, we've seen Quinn show up on episodes of Girls as a boss and friend of Alex Karpovsky's character Ray.
Norm Macdonald (1994 - '97)
Like Quinn, Macdonald came to SNL with an established background in stand-up. He had the good fortune to be behind the desk during the O.J. Simpson arrest and trial, which provided endless fodder for the comedian… and possibly led to his dismissal after running afoul of NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer, a friend of Simpson. Macdonald had his own sitcom on ABC for three years (Norm), and keeps a steady schedule of stand-up dates. Besides doing voice-over and commercial work, he's also a frequent guest of Conan O'Brien and, like Quinn and Nealon, has a habit of showing up in movies that Sandler produces.
Seth Meyers (2006 - '14)
Meyers sat behind the Weekend Update desk longer than anyone, and is the only anchor that worked both solo and with a partner. He has only been gone a few months, so it's hard to grade him, but he's off to a rousing start as the host of NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers, maintaining his 30 Rock residence and boss Michaels. We're rooting for you, Seth.
Dennis Miller (1985 - '91)
Miller was the one responsible for returning Update back to something closer to Chase's original version. Unlike most of the others, Miller's sole role on the show was hosting the fake news segment, very rarely taking part in any of the show's sketches. Miller also might be the most controversial of the former anchors. After leaving SNL, he hosted Dennis Miller Live on HBO from 1994 - 2002, winning five Emmys. He also did a disastrous two-season stint as a commentator on ABC's Monday Night Football. After 2001, Miller's political views became increasingly conservative, leading to him to a gig at Fox News with a regular spot on Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor. Since 2007, Miller has also hosted a syndicated radio show. Oddly, when Miller is on vacation his frequent fill-in both on radio and with O'Reilly is Macdonald.
Amy Poehler (2004 - '08)
One of the founders of the influential improv group Upright Citizens Brigade, Poehler joined with Tina Fey to form the first all-female team on Weekend Update, and the two have been joined together ever since. Poehler was such a powerful presence on the show that she managed to make an appearance on the segment by frequent target Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin come off as charming instead of forced. Since SNL, Poehler has starred in the movie Baby Mama and has done the voices for more animated characters than we can count. She also just completed her sixth season starring in NBC's Parks and Recreation. Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011 and, oh yeah, and she has a little awards show hosting gig that she does with Fey.
Jimmy Fallon (2000 - '04)
Fallon teamed with Fey to turn Update back into a buzz-worthy segment, with the two of them trading quips at which Fallon would frequently crack up. He tried his hand at movies after leaving the show, starring in Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore and Taxi with Queen Latifah. It was when he returned to television, however, that he really hit his stride. Starting with taking over for O'Brien on Late Night, Fallon has steadily grown into one of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry as a late night talk show host. In February, he took over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, moving it back to New York from Los Angeles and earning accolades for his mix of goofy humor, music, and social media interaction.
Tina Fey (2000 - '06)
During her time on SNL, in addition to co-anchoring Update with first Fallon and then Poehler, Fey was the show's first female head writer. While still on the show, Fey wrote the hit teen comedy Mean Girls, and since leaving has starred in a group of comedies, including Baby Mama with Poehler and most recently Muppets Most Wanted. She wrote, produced, and starred in NBC's 30 Rock for seven seasons, and her book Bossypants was number one on the New York Times bestseller list for five weeks. She's won eight Emmys, most recently for her work hosting the Golden Globes with Poehler, and she was the youngest ever recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Dazzlingly smart and funny, it's hard to find many people that can match resumes with Fey.
In his day, Charlton Heston had the market cornered on the epic movie. The prolific leading man would turn his name into a genre watermark, delivering behemoth films about fantastic people and places. Teaming regularly with visionary Cecil B. DeMille, Heston breathed life into Bible stories from Testaments Old and New, and invited audiences to take a new, dramatic look at cultural icons. His career brought him to fallen empires, strange planets, and thrilling mysteries. And although many would argue that Heston's cinematic accomplishments cannot truly be duplicated, Hollywood will try, try again to relive his majesties. The latest in the film industry's many endeavors to reproduce a Heston classic involves Ben-Hur, William Wyler's three-and-a-half-hour drama that set the star as a Jewish prince forced into slavery and then thrust upon a revenge quest against the companion who betrayed him.
Deadline reports that MGM, the studio that produced the 1959 opus (and its 1925 silent film precedent), is looking to recreate the story of Judas Ben-Hur for modern audiences. The studio will call back to writer Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which inspired both pictures. Interestingly, Wallace's Ben-Hur stood as the second best selling piece of writing in the world, next to the Bible, from the time of its publication until the release of Gone with the Wind. Living up to the glory of its source material, Wyler's Ben-Hur maintained status as the only film to win 11 Academy Awards (Best Picture included) for almost 40 years (1997's Titanic broke Ben-Hur's record with 14 Oscar wins).
With this sort of legacy, the plight of a Ben-Hur remake will not be an effortless one. Looking at reattempted Heston pieces of past, we can surmise just what direction in which MGM might plan to take its bountiful new prospect...
The Tim Burton Travesty
In 2001, Tim Burton kicked off a long line of disappointing remakes with Planet of the Apes, transforming the 1968 science-fiction allegory into a misguided mass of Wahlbergian yelling. And just imagine what a field day Burton would do with Ben-Hur's famous chariot sequence, what with the endless reach of modern stop-motion animation at his disposal and an inexplicable penchant for spiraling appendages.
The Sub-Disney Animated Family Film
From Heston's Ten Commandments came a like-titled animated movie, with the likes of Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater, Alfred Molina, and Elliot Gould (as the man upstairs) offering voices to the Biblical characters. The reason you might not have heard of this 2007 picture is because of its critical panning, minute gross, and small studio backing. Ratatouille it was not. (Although a Pixar take on Ben-Hur might be worth exploring...)
The Tuesday Night Sitcom
A decade following Heston's turn in P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Show on Earth, Jack Palance took on the ringleader role in an ABC dramedy that involved the star in the trials and tribulations of his various circus performers. The show didn't last very long, failing in the ratings warfare with more popular comedies of the era. Today's small screen Judah B.? Probably something in the vein of Noah Wyle, if he can ever step away from Falling Skies.
The CGI-Heavy Franchise Seedling
A far more successful endeavor than any of those mentioned again stemmed from Planet of the Apes. The 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes was markedly more imaginative than Burton's turn with the material, this time predating the events of the original film with a prequel of sorts, placing ape Caesar at the center of the story. There aren't too many animals worthy of shifting the focus toward in Ben-Hur... maybe the racing horses? I wonder what they're thinking... Call Serkis.
[Photo Credit: MGM]
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This past weekend, guilt overtook me and I agreed to one of my bimonthly meetups with the gang from college. People whose post-grad lives have taken them to law school, jobs in finance, and existences sans Saturday Night Live. Something I managed to avoid during our four years at school together was that one of my old housemates has never watched an episode of NBC's immortal variety show — a fact I find befuddling. In a spring of passion, I began declaring all the great things that SNL has given to the world, topping my list with two of the funniest and most important names in contemporary comedy: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who have just been announced as the joint hosts of the upcoming 70th Golden Globes. Once their names came into the mix, that's when the conversation became volatile.
Another friend of mine took issue with my highlighting of these two women in particular. "Those are your top two?" he asked. "What about Dan Aykroyd? Chevy Chase? Rodney Dangerfield?" Yes, he said Rodney Dangerfield. And while I have no deficit of appreciation for the contributions that Aykroyd, Chase, Jim Belushi (whom my friend insisted he meant when he said Rodney Dangerfield) have made to comedy, I will not let their seniority sway me: the comic team of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler might very well be the best thing to come out of Saturday Night Live. Ever.
Fey and Poehler, SNL colleagues from the time the latter came on board the cast in 2001, began to showcase the bounties of their onscreen camaraderie when Poehler joined Fey as cohost of the show's Weekend Update segments in '04.
In Fey's 2011 memoir Bossypants, she illustrates her appreciation of Poehler as a voice for a progression of female comedy, and simply an innately funny individual:"Amy was in the middle of some ... nonsense ... and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can't remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and 'unladylike.' Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, 'Stop that! It's not cute! I don't like it.'
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second and wheeled around on him. 'I don't f***ing care if you like it.' Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit. (I should make it clear that Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there was never any real beef between them. Insert penis joke here.)
With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not f***ing care if you like it. I was so happy. Weirdly, I remember thinking, 'My friend is here! My friend is here!' Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone."The two would continue their Weekend Update partnership until 2006, when Fey left SNL to create and star in 30 Rock, but the camaraderie maintained. Fey's and Poehler's mastery of the small screen eventually earned them a place in theaters: Saturday Night Live writer Michael McCullers created the feature film Baby Mama as a vehicle for their dynamic comic chemistry, casting Fey as a straight-laced aspiring mother and Poehler as her white trash surrogate.
In addition to the movie itself, Fey and Poehler actually collaborated on several exemplary marketing campaigns which, if all strung together and projected in theaters, could stand as a perfectly sufficient Oscar-worthy comedy. Below is a featurette from the Moviefone series "Unscripted":
And a featurette from the Cinemax series "60 Seconds":
Baby Mama was highly effective in launching the magic that came organically when Fey and Poehler were placed next to one another and asked to say things. The pair's award presentation at the 60th Primetime Emmy ceremony later in 2008 is just another example of this very magic:
And finally, the most memorable event of Fey's and Poehler's 2008: the variety show's former head writer would return to her old stomping grounds, taking a position beside her friend in the highly influential election-themed send up of Hillary Clinton and (to a much greater extent) Sarah Palin.
Although the years to follow offered the world fewer collaborations between Fey and Poehler, their friendship remained perfectly, vividly intact. As Fey once joked in a 2011 NBC ad, "Amy Poehler and I have been friends for so long, we’re like Oprah and Gale. Only we’re not denying anything."
Earlier this year, Poehler took a brief guest cameo on 30 Rock, playing a high school-aged version of Fey's character Liz Lemon.
But we're still waiting for Fey to make it over to Parks and Recreation. Maybe as an old friend of Leslie Knope's who moved out of Pawnee to explore the world? A rival city councilwoman who makes trouble for the newcomer? Ron Swanson's terrifying younger sister? We'd be game for anything.
And we're game for the upcoming Golden Globes, fully optimistic about anything these two have in store for us. And if you're still not 100% won over by the prospect of Fey and Poehler at the head of the awards ceremony, here's this:
Bam. Lemon out.
[Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage]
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Top Story: James Brown Arrested for Spousal Abuse and Released
Legendary soul singer James Brown, best know for his hit I Feel Good back in the 60's, has once again run afoul of the law after being arrested Wednesday on charges of pushing his wife, 33-year-old Tomi Rae Brown, to the floor where she fell on luggage, Reuters reports. A police report said the incident happened at the couple's home in Beech Island, So. Carolina, and that Mrs. Brown had scratches and bruises on one arm and on her hip and was taken to a hospital for treatment. The 70-year-old singer appeared Thursday in an Aiken County, So. Carolina, court for a bond hearing and was released on personal recognizance, Aiken County Sheriff's Office spokesman Michael Frank confirmed. Brown, honored last month at the Kennedy Center, has had his troubles with the law in the past, serving three years for a chase with police that led them from South Carolina to Georgia. In 1998 Brown was given a two-year suspended sentence for weapons charges. If convicted on this domestic abuse charge, Brown faces a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
Judge Orders Kelly To Avoid Jackson
A judge has ordered singer and accused child molester R Kelly to avoid Michael Jackson at this year's Grammy Awards, Associated Press reports. Kelly, who is accused of taping himself having sex with an underage girl, has produced two songs for Jackson, You Are Not Alone in 1995 and One More Chance last fall. He is nominated for two Grammys and will most likely attend the awards ceremony February 8; however, Jackson is not expected to attend as he is not nominated for an award. Kelly was arrested in June 2002 and has been free on bond awaiting trial. Prosecutors and Kelly's lawyers said they never raised the issue of a meeting between Jackson and Kelly during a hearing this week about Kelly's travel and said Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan made the edict on his own. "What's the difference if someone makes an order not to see someone he didn't want to see in the first place?" Kelly's lawyer Edward Genson asked.
No Visit for Jackson Accuser's Dad, Judge Rules
In more Jacko news, the father of the boy at the center of the Michael Jackson child molestation case has been denied his request to see the boy, AP reports, although a hearing to hear any additional evidence showing why the father should be allowed to have contact with the boy has been scheduled for Feb. 24 . The boy's father, who was not named to protect the identity of the child, is barred from contact with his children after convictions for child cruelty and spousal abuse in 2002 and 2001, respectively. He requested to see the boy because of reports he is in ill health and requires a kidney transplant. The boy reportedly lost one kidney due to cancer surgery. Lawyers for the boy's mother declined to comment on the father's request.
Garfunkel Fights Marijuana Possession Charge
Singer Art Garfunkel, one half of the '60s duo Simon and Garfunkel, appears to be fighting a charge of marijuana possession rather than pay a $100 fine, AP reports. Michael Federoff, Garfunkel's attorney, appeared in court in Hurley in upstate New York on Wednesday. The judge in the case then set a Feb. 11 date for a hearing regarding the case. No further details were released. Garfunkel was cited for possession after his limo driver was pulled over for speeding in Hurley. The police officer smelled marijuana and searched Garfunkel, discovering six grams of the drug in his jacket pocket. Unless the offender has been convicted of a crime in the last three years, a $100 fine is all that is required to resolve the marijuana possession charge. Authorities won't say whether he has a prior record.
Stolen He Was--Yoda Statue Goes Missing
A statue of Yoda, the three-foot-tall Jedi master of the Star Wars films, has been stolen from the back of a truck in Pasadena, Calif., AP reports. The 170-pound statue was commissioned by Lucasfilm Ltd. as part of a series of works based on Star Wars characters. The artist, Lawrence Noble, was transporting the bronze statue from Artworks Foundry in Berkeley to Los Angeles where it was to be sold. The statue, valued at $20,000, was stolen from the truck sometime in the night. Noble is offering a $1,000 reward for its return.
Idol Reigns Supreme for Fox
American Idol pushed Fox to the top of the ratings heap with a stunning 29.6 million viewers watching Tuesday's episode--more than NBC, ABC, CBS, and UPN combined, Reuters reports. The talent show hit has consistently drawn high ratings for Fox during the past three seasons. More importantly, American Idol swept away the competition for the prized 18-49 demographic, gaining the highest ratings for a non-sports show this season. Due to the success of the first three episodes of Idol, Fox took the top spot in the Nielson ratings for the week.
Denis Leary To Star in FX Drama Series
Comedian Denis Leary has signed on for 13 episodes of a new FX series, Rescue Me, AP reports. The show will center on Leary's character, a New York City firefighter, and how he deals with anxiety over his profession in post-Sept. 11 New York. Says Leary about his decision to star in the show, "I am excited to portray a firefighter. I have many close friends and family members that are firefighters and many of the stories and characters will be drawn from them." The 46-year-old actor founded The Leary Firefighters in honor of his cousin who was killed in a Worchester warehouse fire in 1999 along with five other men.
Office Work in Carell's Future?
Sources at NBC revealed The Daily Show's Steve Carrell may be just the man to fill star Ricky Gervais' shoes in the American version of the Golden Globe-winning BBC comedy series The Office, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Though there is no official word whether or not Carrell will take on the role that won Gervais two Golden Globes this past Sunday (one for best comedy, the other for best actor in a television comedy), he
Top Story: Debra Messing Expecting First Child
Will & Grace star Debra Messing and her husband of three years, screenwriter Daniel Zelman, are expecting their first child next summer, The Associated Press reports. The network isn't saying whether the hit NBC sitcom will work her pregnancy into the show, or hide her midsection behind props. The Emmy-winning actress, who appeared in last year's Woody Allen comedy Hollywood Ending, will make her leading feature debut in the upcoming romantic comedy Something Borrowed. She also stars opposite Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston in Along Came Polly, which hits theaters early next year.
P. Diddy Runs NYC
Hip-hop mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs completed the 26.2-mile New York marathon Sunday in the official time of four hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds--despite suffering leg cramps for about half the distance. Combs, who called the endeavor "Diddy Runs the City," said in a diary about the marathon published in the New York Post that he trained for less than two months and had an injured right knee. His goal? To best Oprah Winfrey 's 1994 U.S. Marine Corps marathon time of 4 hours, 29 minutes. Combs said he raised a total of $2 million for New York's public schools, children suffering from HIV and AIDS and his own charity to foster social programs, Reuters reports.
Rappers Into Energy Drinks
Ice-T, Russell Simmons and Nelly, meanwhile, are hoping the energy drink market will translate into dollars. All three hip-hop entrepreneurs launched their own brands of energy drinks this year: Nelly's Pimp Juice, Simmons' Def Con 3 and Ice-T's Liquid Ice. Ice-T is also launching Royal Ice malt liquor in what he hopes will be a resurgence of the beverage back to the mainstream. Malt liquor, also known by the endearing pseudonym "liquid crack," has twice the alcohol content of beer with concentrated sweeteners to accelerate the intoxication process.
Laura Innes Honored by Gay Rights Group
Actress Laura Innes, who plays the gay character Dr. Kerry Weaver on the NBC's hit medical drama ER, received this year's Artistry Award from the gay rights organization Power Up, which promotes the visibility and integration of gay women in entertainment, the AP reports. The organization also honored the Bravo Network for its commitment to diversity and two-time Emmy winner Judith Light. She has been a strong supporter of gay issues since she portrayed the mother of Ryan White, the child who was rejected from school and friends when they learned of his contracting the HIV virus, in the 1989 ABC movie The Ryan White Story.
Phil Spector's Bail Extended
Phil Spector's $1 million bail was extended a second time to Jan. 9 while the district attorney's office considers whether to charge him in the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, the AP reports. Spector, 62, was arrested Feb. 3 after the body of Clarkson, 40, was found in the foyer of his Alhambra, Calif., home. Record producer Spector has denied killing Clarkson and suggested in an Esquire magazine interview that she may have shot herself. But in a report submitted Sept. 16, sheriff's detectives concluded Spector shot Clarkson.
Bernie Mac Shelved for November Sweeps
If you tuned in to catch the season premiere of The Bernie Mac Show Sunday night on Fox, you probably wondered what happened. That's because the network pushed the show's third season premiere to Nov. 30. Bernie Mac, which was moved from its Wednesday 9 p.m. slot to the coveted post-Simpsons Sunday 8:30 p.m. period, was scheduled to launch yesterday but Fox opted to run repeats of The Simpsons for the four weeks of sweeps instead. Networks often air reruns of their strongest shows to boost ratings during sweeps periods, which are used by local stations to set ad rates.
Sinead O'Connor Retires ... Really
Sinead O'Connor, who just released a two-CD set titled She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty, said she is retiring from music in order to concentrate on her theological studies and pastoral healing. This is not O'Connor's first attempt at retirement: She first tried to sabotage her music career in 1992 by ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live and has since announced her retirement from the music industry twice.
Role Call: Brother Bear Creative Team Pacts With Disney
Disney has signed an exclusive deal with Brother Bear directors Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker and producer Chuck Williams, to assure that their next yet to be determined project will roll out under the Disney banner. The animated feature, which took in about $18.5 million at the box office in its first two days since opening nationwide Saturday, marks the directorial debut for Blaise and Walker and the producing bow for Williams.
Oscar winner Barry Levinson (Bandits) received the Golden Eddie for filmmaker of the year Sunday at the 52nd American Cinema Editors Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Pietro Scalia won best edited dramatic feature for Black Hawk Down while Jill Bilcock won best edited comedy or musical for Moulin Rouge, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The television categories were dominated by HBO editors, which won three of the six awards. Veteran editors George Watters and Antony Gibbs received lifetime achievement awards.
Even after the 25th anniversary of his death, Elvis Presley is still drawing controversy. Elvis Presley Enterprises has licensed a company to replace George Washington on some of Tennessee's 2002 quarters with a color illustration of Presley. While defacing U.S. currency is considered a misdemeanor crime, the King of Rock 'n' Roll quarters are in a gray area because they are not part of a deceptive scheme, the Associated Press reports.
Harrison Ford, who divorced screenwriter Melissa Mathison last year, was seen strolling down Madison Ave. with Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, bundled in winter jackets and wearing blue jeans and caps. According to PageSix.com, the also couple attended a post-Globes party together, and when the waifish Flockhart spilled red wine on her dress, Ford kissed her on the cheek and told bystanders, "She's a beautiful girl."
Madonna has refused to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award this year, worried that it might make her seem old and out of date. According to People, the 43-year-old singer was asked to accept the award in recognition of her 18-year career that started in 1984. Instead, the award went to Sting, who insisted the title of the award be changed to Outstanding Contribution before he'd accept it.
Tom Cruise is indeed sporting see-through braces, his spokeswoman Pat Kingsley told Reuters. After taking one of his kids to an orthodontist in Beverly Hills, the doctor noticed that Cruise's bite was out of alignment. The 39-year-old actor will likely have the braces on for a year or so but will take them off for movies.
Sylvester Stallone saved his pregnant wife, model Jennifer Flavin, and good friend Mira Sorvino from a stalled elevator after the two women were stuck between floors in the backstage elevator. The incident occurred during the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Love Rocks party last Thursday at the new Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Stallone took off his jacket and manually pried open the doors with his own hands, pulling the women to safety, according to myvideostore.com.
Singer Kylie Minogue told British talk-show host Michael Parkinson that she intends to marry boyfriend James Gooding, reports Sky News. Minogue, who has had a string of high-profile relationships including late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, said she has found happiness with the British model.
Anjelica Huston has been added to the cast of Blood Work, a new suspense-thriller from Warner Bros. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is based on the novel by Michael Connelly and stars Clint Eastwood as an FBI profiler tracking a serial killer under unusual circumstances involving his own history and blood analysis. Eastwood is also helming the film, which began filming Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Paul McCartney returned home to Liverpool, England, for a surprise appearance Sunday at a tribute concert for George Harrison, Reuters reports. The audience joined McCartney in an impromptu version of "Yesterday" in memory of the late Beatle, who died of cancer last year at the age of 58.
Don't expect Paul McCartney's wedding to Heather Mills next month to be a showy affair. A friend of McCartney told Scotland's Sunday Mail that the couple considered marrying in Skibo Castle, near Dornoch--where Madonna married director Guy Ritchie a year ago--but decided to go for something simpler instead, either at a small church or register office. The couple got engaged last July after meeting two years ago at an awards dinner.
The Screen Actors Guild and the Association of Talent Agents reached a tentative agreement Monday that would allow talent agencies to make and receive investments in companies involved in production, reports AP. The current rules, which went into place in 1939, were drafted to prevent conflicts of interest and protect actors from exploitation by talent agencies working for either producers or movie studios. Movie studios and television networks, however, would still be banned from owning or investing in a talent agency.
“Traffic” and “Nurse Betty” were the top winners at the 5th Annual Golden Satellite Awards on Sunday night.
“Traffic” picked up a best drama award and another for its director, Steven Soderbergh.
“Nurse Betty” took home the best comedy award and a best actress prize for its star, Renee Zellweger, Daily Variety reports.
Held at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., the awards show is organized by the International Press Academy, a splinter group of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the group that puts on the Golden Globes).
The IPA also awarded “Chicken Run” the animated feature prize and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” the foreign film award. Leading dramatic acting honors went to Geoffrey Rush for “Quills” and Ellen Burstyn for “Requiem for a Dream.”
Bruce Greenwood took the actor in a supporting role for “Thirteen Days,” while Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris split the same award in the female category for their work in “Sunshine.” Michael Douglas took the best actor award in a comedy for “Wonder Boys,” Kate Hudson took the supporting actress prize for “Almost Famous” and the supporting actor nod went to Willem Dafoe for “Shadow of the Vampire.”
In the television categories, NBC’s “The West Wing” won the best TV series award and its co-star Allison Janney took the best actress prize. Tim Daly got the best actor in a drama award for “The Fugitive,” while “Sex and the City” won for best TV comedy. Frankie Muniz of “Malcolm in the Middle” and Lisa Kudrow of “Friends” took the best actor and actress in a comedy, respectively.
IN OTHER AWARDS NEWS: Oscar producer Gil Cates announced today that Roy Christopher will serve as production designer of the 73rd Annual Academy Awards on March 25. This will be Christopher's 13th post as production designer of the Oscars telecast.
Actresses Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon and Sigourney Weaver have been added as presenters at the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Jennifer Love Hewitt joins the adult race today, reaching the ripe-old, legal-drinking age of 21.
Hewitt will, presumably, display some very adult-like maturity in the forthcoming ABC biopic "The Audrey Hepburn Story," in which she portrays the late actress-turned-humanitarian, a role that departs from Hewitt's usual angst-ridden (and stalker-pursued) TV and film roles.
The real Audrey Hepburn, by the way, was 25 when "Sabrina" was released, 28 when "Funny Face" came out, 32 when "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was released and 34 when "My Fair Lady" premiered.
Good to know Jennifer's doing her best to catch up.
MEA CULPA: Back on the job after a nasty illness sidelined him for more than a month, Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein has this to say: Blame me.
You can't hold a grudge against a guy who came down with a bacterial infection that laid him up for weeks and caused him to lose 40 pounds. But Harvey says he it's his fault that "The Talented Mr. Ripley" didn't get an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, as many people thought it should have.
"I was the captain of that ship and I was, unfortunately, convalescing in the hospital and at home when I should have been out there campaigning for it," Weinstein says in the Newsweek magazine hitting stores today. "I would have just made sure the right people saw the film. Even though the movie is a tremendous financial success, it is hard to motivate Academy people. ... I feel like Matt Damon and Anthony Minghella got robbed because I was away."
Weinstein, 47, became ill while vacationing on St. Barthelemy Island in the Caribbean over the holidays with his family. While he was rehabbing, he missed the Golden Globes and Sundance, two popular Miramax stomping grounds.
Still, Harvey doesn't feel all that bad. Although "Ripley" didn't get the Best Picture nod, another Miramax picture, "The Cider House Rules," did. That means Miramax has had nine Best Picture nominations over the past eight years, a not-too-shabby streak.
"We know that pundits wanted to see us get our ass kicked, and we're sorry to disappoint them. We will continue to disappoint them," Harvey tells the newsmag.
As it turns out, the Oscar scenario might be a better deal for Miramax anyway. Miramax co-distributed "Ripley" with Paramount, with the latter studio taking the domestic receipts and Miramax hauling in the foreign box office; therefore, any Oscar-related windfall for "Ripley" would have gone into Paramount's pocket. Meanwhile, the post-nomination pipeline for "The Cider House Rules" feeds right into Miramax's coffers.
Harvey never misses a trick.
NEUTERING "CATS": Say it ain't so, Old Deuteronomy. The Jellicle Cats are headed for the big litter box in the sky.
"Cats," that incomprehensible-yet-wildly-popular Broadway musical, is nearing the end of its nine lives. Actually, it's more like 7,397 lives -- that's the number of performances that will have been given by the time the show closes this summer.
The show's promoters have announced that "Cats," which opened in New York on Oct. 7, 1982, will close June 25. By the end of its run, those mangy alley cats will have sung their kitty hearts out to more than 10 million theater patrons in New York and sold an estimated $380 million-plus worth of Broadway tickets. The show has also toured across North America and Europe.
Ticket sales for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, based on stories by T.S. Eliot, have been slow of late, but they are sure to surge as fans rush to see it one more time before it ends. And that, for the promoters, is the cat's meow.
"When you look at it, we're running into our 18th year, and the houses have been slow," Marlene Danielle, who has played Bombalurina since the show's Big Apple debut, told The Associated Press. "It's a business, and they have to make their money."
NOTHING ODD HERE: Too bad Tom Hanks isn't nominated for Best Actor this year. It might make things easier for the Las Vegas oddsmakers.
Joe Lupo of the Stardust Hotel says Kevin Spacey is the favorite to win the Best Actor award, with 9-to-5 odds, followed by Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.
In the Best Actress race, Lupo figures Hilary Swank is the favorite (3-1). And Best Picture? He's got that down for "American Beauty" (5-2), followed by "The Cider House Rules" (4-1).
If you wanna make a boat-load of money, bet on nominal Best Actress hopeful Meryl Streep (25-1) and pray for a freakin' miracle.
MIAMI VICE: Ah, to be mega-rich, to buy and sell multimillion-dollar homes on a whim. News flash: Madonna wants $9 million for her nine-bedroom home on Miami's Biscayne Bay. No word yet on whether she's simply bored with the drapes or she needs more space to unwind. According to Reuters, she bought the house for a mere $4.9 mil in 1992. Last year, she turned down a $6 million offer from Rosie O'Donnell to buy the place.
'Tis Valentine's Day, for loved ones to unite and lovelorn to show spite. In observance of this occasion, we find Tinseltown's love/no-love meter has been cranked up a notch.
Former bad-boy Christian Slater got married over the weekend to former television producer Ryan Haddon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. The ceremony Saturday night was attended by 150 guests, according to his publicist, and officiated by author Neale Donald Walsch. The vows were taken from Walsch's book ``Conversations with God, Book 3.''
Slater, 30, was once as notorious for his bad behavior as he was for his wicked eyebrows. After squiring actresses (and co-stars) Winona Ryder, Samantha Mathis and Patricia Arquette as well as Christina Applegate and supermodel Christy Turlington, he was sued for palimony by longtime girlfriend Nina Huang after their 1995 split. He was later arrested for allegedly beating then-galpal Michelle Jonas and a police officer during a drug and alcohol-fueled brawl and spent three months in jail.
But that's all in the past; Slater's a family man now. He and Haddon, 28, have a 10-month-old son, Jaden Christopher, who will accompany his parents on their Hawaiian honeymoon.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: David Bowie and wife Iman have announced that they're expecting their first child in August.
Says the once-androgynous rocker, "It's been a long and patient wait for our baby, but both Iman and I wanted the circumstances to be absolutely right, and didn't want to find ourselves working flat out during the first couple years of the baby's life," Bowie, 53, said in a statement.
He and 44-year-old Iman, the Somali-born supermodel, were married in 1992. They have one child each from previous marriages.
Meanwhile, Oasis rocker Noel Gallagher suffered a crib-death scare over the weekend when 18-day-old daughter Anais suddenly turned blue and stopped breathing for about 30 seconds, reports London's Mirror. The musician phoned paramedics and passed instructions to his mother-in-law, who lay the baby on her back to clear the airways. The hospital gave Noel and the baby's mother, Meg Mathews, a breathing monitor in case the problem recurs.
COUPLINGS AND UNCOUPLINGS: London is also the setting for an engagement between Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay and Brit TV star Denise Van Outen, according to the Sun tabloid. The paper reports that Kay (real name Jason Kay) proposed with a $15,990 engagement ring after popping the question over dinner at his home.
Across the ocean, all was not well on the Dominican Republic front, where singer-actress Diana Ross and husband Arne Naess formally divorced Friday. The nation, which is the place for quickie divorces as long as one of the spouses is present, granted the split to the couple, who were married in 1986 and separated in April. The former Supreme, 55, and Naess, 61, have two children; Ross also has three daughters from previous relationships.
But in New York, a happy marriage took place for, well, Sigourney Weaver's dog. The actress' pooch exchanged collars with a "studly" Italian greyhound, which she calls "the Mel Gibson of Italian greyhounds," in a pre-mating marriage ceremony (or "muttrimony") at an Upper East Side pet boutique, according to the New York Post. No word on the prenup agreement.
QUICK TAKES: Film critic Rex Reed was arrested Saturday after he was allegedly caught shoplifting three CDs from a Tower Records store. The New York Observer columnist, 61, was seen removing albums by Mel Torme, Peggy Lee and Carmen McRae and putting them in his jacket pocket. Security officials stopped him, and he was charged with larceny and criminal possession of stolen property ...
... Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein emerged last week at a party for the New York Post's Page Six after months of rumors about the illness that kept him away from Sundance and the Golden Globes. The company spokesman maintains that Weinstein, 47, suffered a bacterial infection and is now back in the swing of things -- minus 40 pounds and wearing a nicotine patch to keep him away from those cigarettes.
... Leonardo DiCaprio is supporting Al Gore for president, according to an interview in the new Time magazine. The star of "The Beach" says he's on the verge of joining his campaign and almost took the stage during the New Hampshire primary to cheer on the White House hopeful. "I was going to just stand onstage and look hardcore," Leo tells Time. But likely he knew that would elicit fainting spells from the campaigner's daughters.
YOUNG AND RESTLESS: We'd like to take this time and promote some starlets who, despite their fame, looks and Internet downloads, are in the mood for love this Valentine's Day.
Perennially chirpy Jennifer Love Hewitt says, "I'm afraid that I'll never get married because I'm a hopeless romantic." She's currently seeing a musician she won't name, but as the 20-year-old recently revealed at a magazine luncheon in New York, "I'm going to end up alone when I'm 95, sitting home surrounded by 19 cats."
And teen pop queen Britney Spears, who has exchanged e-mails with Prince William, has confided her Valentine's Day wish to TV Guide Online: "My dream is to make a movie and to have a love scene with Ben Affleck. He is so real and so warm."
But if Ben's not available, she'd still like to date someone in show business. "Of course, if I met somebody at McDonald's and I fell in love with him, I'd have to go with my heart. But it would help being in the same industry, because you know what that person is going through, scheduling-wise," Spears, 18, says.
So basically, if you're a celebrity or a McDonald's cashier, you have a shot.
Michael J. Fox has certainly proven that there's life after Parkinson's, but can the same be said for "Spin City" after Michael J. Fox?
The actor dropped a bomb in TV land Tuesday with his unexpected announcement to leave the hit sitcom "Spin City" at the end of its fourth season -- a decision, the actor said, that would allow him to better concentrate his efforts in combating the degenerative disease.
"After long and careful consideration, I have decided that following the completion of "Spin City's" fourth season (and the filming of our 100th episode), I will not be returning for a fifth year," said Fox in a statement.
"I feel that right now my time and energy would be better spent with my family and working toward a cure for Parkinson's disease. This does not mean I am retiring from acting, producing or directing, only that I want to relieve the strain of producing and performing a weekly network series."
Both ABC and DreamWorks Television, joint backers of the political satire, are tight-lipped about the future of "Spin City" (apparently out of commiseration), issuing only a generic statement of support in reaction to the news of Fox's impending departure late Tuesday.
"There are clearly more important things in life, and we wish Michael and his family our heartfelt thanks and continued support," said ABC in a press release. "We look forward to working with Michael in his future endeavors."
While the networks continue their support, in the form of golden silence on just about anything that has to do with "Spin City," trade-paper reports have not been as reserved on speculating about the show's possible future.
Variety reports today that one possible solution the networks are toying with is a "Spin City" spinoff -- a reincarnation of the sitcom that retains the original (minus Fox, of course) ensemble cast including Barry Bostwick, Michael Boatman and the new feisty addition in the form of Heather Locklear.
Yet another (contradictory) theory, reported by Daily Variety, states that ABC execs are unlikely to give the green light to a fifth-season "Spin City" without Fox.
Networks execs declined comment on either possibility. But one tube observer did opine that the viability of a post-Fox "Spin City" is not only slim but also futile.
"The show ["Spin City"] shouldn't have a future after Michael J. Fox. It does boast an ensemble cast and a bunch of very talented actors, but when you come right down to it, it's still Michael J. Fox's show. I don't think the networks will keep 'Spin City' without Fox," said David Bianculli, TV critic for the New York Daily News.
Bianculli continued: "Stars don't usually leave under these circumstances. When a character leaves a show, the writers can usually write around it. But when it's the central character that's leaving, and leaving so unexpectedly, it's really hard for the show to continue. Just imagine "M*A*S*H" without Alan Alda."
But such pessimism might not fly in the face of recent television history. "Cheers" without Shelley Long, "NYPD Blue" minus David Caruso and "ER" sans George Clooney are just some of the television prime-timers that continued their success long after the show's "star" left the show. Ironically, the same couldn't be said for Long and Caruso, whose careers became non-existent after dissociation from those shows.
Given the popularity of "Spin City," the networks may serve well to reconsider any possibility that could keep the show on the air. According to the Nielsen ratings, the show is currently the 42nd highest-ranking show on television and the third-most watched comedy behind "Dharma & Greg" (No. 22) and "The Drew Carey Show" (No. 25) for ABC.
Another footnote: A television series is usually profitable only after its fifth season. Cancellation of "Spin City," now in its fourth year, might result in a financial loss that neither ABC or DreamWorks want to entertain.
Fox first made public his incurable ailment in November 1998. He had reportedly told network producers and studio execs of his worsening health condition as far back as 1996, before the launch of "Spin City."
Fox has been television's favorite son since the '80s. He garnered three Emmys for his role as the overachieving young Republican Alex P. Keaton on the popular NBC sitcom "Family Ties" and continued his success on the big screen with the "Back to the Future" franchise.
He returned to the tube in 1998 to play a tough-talking deputy mayor on "Spin City," a role that earned him a best actor nomination at this year's Golden Globes. He has won the Golden Globe for the role the past two years.