The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin said he did not realize the comments he made in The New Yorker magazine about the news coverage of the Bush administration would create such a flap. Referring to the special The Bush White House: Inside the Real West Wing, which aired on NBC Jan. 23, Sorkin said that the media were waving pompoms instead of providing objective news coverage and that anchorman Tom Brokaw let it happen. "There should be a difference between what NBC news does and what we do," he told the Associated Press. "And that night, there wasn't, except we have more interesting lighting." Sorkin later apologized to Brokaw at the request of NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker.
Anne Heche gave birth to a baby boy over the weekend. Homer Heche Laffoon weighed 7 pounds and is the first child for Heche and husband Coleman Laffoon. The two married in September last year and met while working on a documentary about Ellen DeGeneres' return to stand-up comedy, AP reports.
After shooting two back-to-back sequels for the 1999 sci-fi thriller The Matrix, Keanu Reeves will travel back in Hollywood time to work on a remake of the 1971 cult classic Billy Jack, Variety reports. Reeves will star as Billy Jack, a Vietnam veteran who's half Native American. Tom Laughlin, who wrote, directed and starred in the original film, controls the film rights and is in talks with Danny DeVito's Jersey Films to remake the retro hit.
Elizabeth Taylor will play the role of Elton John's wife in his new video "Original Sin," the BBC reports. His daughter will be played by teen singer/actress Mandy Moore. John, who normally hates appearing in videos, recently called on Justin Timberlake to take the lead in "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" so he wouldn't have to. John makes an exception for this next single, which is slated for release April 1.
Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham escaped injury in a six-car pile-up on Sunday near Stafford, England, the BBC reports. Beckham and her three-year-old son, Brooklyn, were in a minivan being driven by her father, Tony Adams, when he managed to swerve the vehicle away from the full force of the crash. None of them were injured. Beckham is expecting her second child with soccer star David Beckham in September.
Nightline host Ted Koppel said he hopes to stay with ABC but criticized the network for questioning the relevance of his show, AP reports. ABC has apparently had discussions with David Letterman about taking over Koppel's 11:35 p.m. time slot. Nightline ratings have been shrinking in the past few years while Letterman has been a longtime No. 2 behind NBC's Jay Leno.
The Fox network is set to revive four sci-fi TV series, airing reruns and creating new TV and film versions of Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants. The deal also covers any potential feature films, as well as merchandising and licensing.
Mary McCormack, who recently appeared in K-PAX with Kevin Spacey, will star in the CBS comedy pilot Julie Lydecker, which centers on a mother/daughter relationship. According to The Hollywood Reporter, McCormack will also be seen in the upcoming drama Full Frontal alongside Julia Roberts.
Yoko Ono, the widow of former Beatle John Lennon, has paid an estimated $213,300 to have the words "Imagine all the people living in peace" emblazoned on a billboard in Piccadilly Circus in London, Reuters reports. Ono, who already has the billboard up in Times Square and in Tokyo, thought people needed to be reminded of this message after the horrible events of Sept. 11.
After a three-year hiatus, former supermodel Cindy Crawford returned to the catwalk for designer Roberto Cavalli's autumn/winter fashion show. Although she enjoyed the return, the model-turned-mother of two told Reuters she would not do it for a whole season. "At home, I wear jeans and a T-shirt, so it doesn't matter if I get mucky...but then I put on a Cavalli top or trousers and feel like a sexy mum rather than a frumpy housewife."
Comic Kevin Meaney was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday for grabbing the butt of a gun held by a National Guardsman, Reuters reports. An airport police spokesman said Meaney got belligerent after his wife was subjected to a secondary security screening and had to lift up her blouse and show her bra to the screeners. Meaney, 45, was booked into the San Mateo County Jail on a felony charge of attempting to take a firearm from a police officer and two misdemeanor charges of battery and disturbing the peace.
Julia Child is recuperating from a bout with bronchitis that landed her in the hospital during the weekend. Child, 89, had to cancel an appearance at a rare-wine auction Saturday night at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the Bay Area after she had trouble breathing. She checked into a San Francisco hospital Saturday afternoon and was released Sunday, AP reports.
Edward Norton, Brett Ratner, James Whitmore and Anthony Hopkins will be some of the stars attending the 7th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival in West Palm Beach, Fla. The festival will take place April 11 through 18 and will feature more than 40 films, including American independent and Spanish-language films and entries from France, Israel, Ukraine and Italy.
Songwriter Harlan Howard died Sunday at the age of 74. Responsible for more than 100 Top 10 hits, including Ray Charles' "Busted" and Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces," Howard was known as the dean of Nashville songwriters. His death came after years of ill health. A memorial service for him will be held in Nashville on March 19.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2000 -- The infectious bug that has been plaguing TV series of late -- you know, the "I feel that my time with the show is up and I've decided to move on" epidemic -- has claimed another victim.
The latest casualty is none other than "Veronica's Closet's" Kathy Najimy. Trade papers report today that the actress, who plays Olive, Veronica's (Kirstie Alley) trusted sidekick and confidant, will bid farewell to the NBC comedy at the end of this season.
Najimy tells Variety that her decision to leave the show is based purely on personal reasons. With "Veronica's Closet" behind, Najimy reportedly plans to spend more time with her 3-year-old daughter, not to mention more of the same said time on a would-be "feature career."
Of course, the concept of "leaving" "Veronica's Closet" might become a moot point. The unbeloved comedy series, now in its third season, was already benched once this season by NBC for low ratings. It is currently mired in 85th place among all shows and is considered a long shot for fall renewal.
SUPERHERO SAVES FOX: Patrick Warburton, the guy who played Elaine's mechanic beau Dave Puddy on "Seinfeld," will return to the tube in the form of a blue superhero in the Fox comedy pilot "The Tick."
Once a Saturday morning toon on Fox, "The Tick" follows the adventures of a dim-witted crime fighter and his ex-accountant sidekick as they battle bad guys with names such as Chairface Chippendale, El Seed and Breadmaster.
The new live-action half-hour pilot will be directed by the enthusiastic Barry Sonnenfeld ("Wild Wild West").
"I've been a huge fan of 'The Tick' for years," Sonnenfeld told the Hollywood trade papers. "I like it even more than my 6-year-old daughter. It's really up my alley. It doesn't feel like anything on television today."
(Let us guess -- Mr. Sonnenfeld doesn't have cable.)
Warburton, meanwhile, has handled superhero duties prior to "The Tick." Dig this, "Seinfeld" fiends, the actor was the voice of Superman in those American Express commercials starring Jerry Seinfeld.
'LEEZA' IS DEAD: No, not Leeza Gibbons, but her fast-sinking eponymous talk show. Cause of its likely death? Ultra-bad ratings.
Word on the street is that "Leeza" will not live to see a second season in syndication.
The daytime talk show went through various transformation and network shuffles in its (technically) 7-year history. It was first conceived by NBC in 1993 as "John & Leeza," the John, of course, being Gibbons' "Entertainment Tonight" co-hort John Tesh. The show downsized to simply "Leeza" in 1994 when the above-mentioned Tesh bailed. In September, NBC decided to sell the show to non-NBC outlets, thereby banishing the show to syndication.
"LIP" SERVICE: Oscar- and Emmy-winning director-producer James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "As Good As It Gets," "Jerry Maguire") is set to endow the tube with a live-action romantic comedy series for ABC.
The comedy, still untitled, will be based on a character from the 1988 radio series "Lip Schtick." Joan Cusack, whom Brooks collaborated with on the 1987 flick "Broadcast News," will stake the title role.
Slated for a slot in ABC's 2000-2001 lineup, the show will mark Cusack's prime-time debut and Brook's first TV gig since his stint as the executive producer of the animated series "The Critic" in 1994.
RANDOM BITS: NBC has picked up a half-hour comedy pilot starring David Alan Grier ("In Living Color"). Grier is slated to play a Secret Service man in charge of protecting the first lady. ...
... CBS has greenlit a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor") drama pilot for the new fall season. The project is said to be an hour-long drama called "CSI." Starring William Petersen, the series revolves around forensic crime-scene investigators working in Vegas. ...
THE COURT OF POPULAR OPINION: Democracy sometimes flourishes in the most unlikely places, just ask Judge Judy -- one of the many, many finalists chosen by TV viewers of America for the 2nd Annual TV Guide Awards.
More than 1.5 million viewers cast ballots to determine nominees in 22 categories. NBC led all networks in mentions with 20 finalists. Winners will be announced March 5 in a Fox broadcast.
Here's the complete list of the TV Guide Award nominees, as announced today:
Favorite Actor in a New Series David Boreanaz, "Angel" (WB) Billy Campbell, "Once and Again" (ABC) Dan Futterman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Martin Sheen, "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a New Series Amy Brenneman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Tyne Daly, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) Sela Ward, "Once and Again" (ABC)
Favorite Actor in a Comedy Bill Cosby, "Cosby" (CBS) Michael J. Fox, "Spin City" (ABC) David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier" (NBC) Ray Romano, "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS)
Favorite Actress in a Comedy Jenna Elfman, "Dharma & Greg" (ABC) Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal" (FOX) Lisa Kudrow, "Friends" (NBC) Phylicia Rashad, "Cosby" (CBS)
Favorite Actor in a Drama David Duchovny, "The X-Files" (FOX) David James Elliott, "JAG" (CBS) Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue" (ABC) Sam Waterston, "Law & Order" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a Drama Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files" (FOX) Roma Downey, "Touched by an Angel" (CBS) Melina Kanakaredes, "Providence" (NBC) Julianna Margulies, "ER" (NBC)
Favorite New Series "Judging Amy" (CBS) "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) "Once and Again" (ABC) "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Comedy Series "Ally McBeal" (FOX) "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS) "Frasier" (NBC) "Friends" (NBC)
Favorite Drama Series "ER" (NBC) "Providence" (NBC) "The Practice" (ABC) "Touched by an Angel" (CBS)
Favorite Soap Opera "All My Children" (ABC) "Days of Our Lives" (NBC) "General Hospital" (ABC) "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
Favorite Sportscaster Terry Bradshaw (FOX) Bob Costas (NBC) Howie Long (FOX) John Madden (FOX)
Favorite Daytime Talk Show "Judge Judy" (Syndicated) "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" (Syndicated) "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (Syndicated) "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" (Syndicated)
Favorite Game Show "Hollywood Squares" (Syndicated) "Jeopardy!" (Syndicated) "Wheel of Fortune" (Syndicated) "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (ABC)
Favorite News Personality Tom Brokaw (NBC) Katie Couric (NBC) Peter Jennings (ABC) Matt Lauer (NBC)
Favorite Late Night Show "Late Show With David Letterman" (CBS) "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" (ABC) "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (NBC)
ONLINE NOMINEES Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Charmed" (WB) "The X-Files" (FOX)
Favorite Reality TV "Biography" (A&E) "Behind the Music" (VH1) "The Real World" (MTV)
Favorite TV Pet Eddie, "Frasier" (NBC) Happy, "7th Heaven" (WB) Salem, "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC)
Favorite TV Movie or Miniseries "Annie" (ABC) "Joan of Arc" (NBC) "Tuesdays with Morrie" (ABC)
Favorite News Program "Dateline NBC" (NBC) "Entertainment Tonight" (Syndicated) "20/20" (ABC)
Favorite Music Show "Behind the Music" (VH1) "Total Request Live" (MTV) "Pop-Up Video" (VH1)
Favorite Children's Show "Blue's Clues" (Nickelodeon) "Rugrats" (Nickelodeon) "Sesame Street" (PBS)
AOL KEYWORD: TV GUIDE EXCLUSIVE CATEGORY
Favorite Teen Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Dawson's Creek" (WB) "Popular" (WB)