Organizers of this year's Country Music Association awards say that Reba McEntire will sing "I'm a Survivor" during the broadcast. The song is currently being used as the theme for her new sitcom, "Reba." By the way, the network just gave her the news that "Reba" will run a full season, at least. "The 35th Annual CMA Awards" is slated for Nov. 7 on CBS. Mary Stuart has been tapped to honor a dozen new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Also appearing on the show will be Alison Krauss and members of Union Station, singing "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow." Trace Adkins, Tammy Cochran, Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Gilman, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Kenny Rogers will be among the presenters.
MASTER SONGWRITER REMEMBERED
It's the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Richard Rodgers and the tributes and special presentations are getting underway. In a major article, USA Today notes that when another giant of music -- Andrew Lloyd Webber -- was just beginning his career, his goal was to write something as memorable as Rodger's "Some Enchanted Evening," from "South Pacific." The publication says that Rodgers represented a "standard of quality, accessibility and sheer ubiquity unrivaled by any other 20th century composer." During his career Rodgers published more than 900 songs, many of them standards in the American musical theater catalog. He collaborated with the best lyricists on such Broadway biggies as "Oklahoma," "The King and I," "Carousel" and "The Sound of Music." Many of his songs became mainstream hits, including "My Funny Valentine," "My Romance," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and "With a Song in My Heart." Look for a lot of it on radio and in collections as the centennial of his birth is celebrated.
L. A. THEATER GROUPS BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS
It's being called "barrier-free theater." A group in Los Angeles is producing a series of plays in which it throws most of the usual stereotypes to the wind and even uses actors with disabilities in non-traditional roles. Its first series of one-act dramas is being called "Collected Shadows." The theater's director, Elizabeth Bell-Haynes, tells United Press International that she was simply looking for "great actors, without there being any racial typecasting or physical barriers in the way." The cast is multi-racial, multi-cultural and two of the major players are handicapped. One of the plays to be produced has the interesting title, "Tell Me Which Way A Hanged Man's Feet Will Hang." The dramas will be staged at the Secret Rose Theatre in the Los Angeles enclave of North Hollywood.
GARTH BROOKS' NEW SOFT DRINK AD TO DEBUT
During a recent news conference and presentation of one of the songs from his upcoming "Scarecrow" CD, country king Garth Brooks announced that he has signed a major contract to do spots for Dr Pepper. The news provider country.com says that the first of those ads will air this weekend. Brooks, who has been in a kind of self-imposed hiatus from the country scene, has re-emerged to hawk his long-awaited music project and to do the soda pop campaign. By the way, Brooks says he will be using radio extensively in promoting his new CD. He plans to appear on several nationwide talk format broadcasts in which he will play cuts from the "Scarecrow" project and take calls from listeners. By the way, the new Dr. Pepper spots are Brooks' first-ever product endorsement. Some of the spots will contain short mentions of "Scarecrow" and the bottler plans a discount coupon tie-in with the CD.
HARRY POTTER ACTOR'S VOICE DUBBED
When Daniel Radcliffe prepared to do the final scenes for the soon-to-be-released first Harry Potter movie, it seems that the 12-year-old actor's voice suddenly seemed too "dark and adult" for producers. What to do? Well, according to the London Sun, the production crew went ahead with filming but had another boy actor dub in the part. It seems that the young Mr. Radcliffe was beginning his "journey into adulthood" a little earlier than producers had hoped. The publication says that another actor -- who had originally tried out for the part -- was tapped to do the overdubbing. There are also reports that the Harry Potter stand-in is the voice used on several video tie-in games that are Potter-themed. The initial Potter movie premieres this weekend in London. Radcliffe, hormones not withstanding, is under contract for a sequel.
BATTISTA THE LATEST CNN DEFECTION
Bobby Battista, the long-time anchor of the truly "stand and deliver" show "TalkBack Live," has turned in her resignation at CNN. The Journal and Constitution says the departure of the 49-year-old journalist is just the latest in a long exodus of recognizable talent from the financially troubled network. Other CNN anchors and hosts will fill in for Battista until a new permanent host is named. Battista worked her way through the ranks at CNN over a 20 year period. She tells the publication that she plans to stay in Atlanta and work with her husband who is a media consultant. As a parting shot she suggests moving the broadcast to New York City where the audience would likely be larger and guests would be "local" instead of on satellite hookups. The suggestion comes as CNN has been moving other parts of its lineup to the Big Apple.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 194
Yesterday I was browsing through a TV Guide at the checkout. By the way, while in college at Indiana University, an aging professor told all of the journalism students that for the rest of our lives we had the right to read the tabloids and TV Guide magazines while in the checkout lines WITHOUT paying. He said we had a waiver. Anyway, I began to realize that there was not a single actor, except for Richard Dreyfuss, that I recognized in any of the publications. So, here's today's question: "Am I the only person who has given up watching television -- except for urgent news?" Put WATCH in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 189 (LAUGH)
Last week we asked when was the last time you laughed so hard you cried. Here is a sampling of the replies: MANSE says that the last time was watching an old Jonathan Winters skit. I'm sure he would smile about that. A good 20 percent of the replies noted that the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" caused that reaction. Several, including pp, mentioned specific movies. "Liar, Liar" was a common choice. RTM's choice is the "Academy Awards segment from 'Naked Gun 3,'" he writes. Kathy says her dad does a side-splitting imitation of an insurance clerk. BarbaracsII is also a fan of Jim Carrey and mentions a "Porterhouse Steak" line from one of his movies. Finally, PS says her husband is a stitch. GBA.