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Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   Nov. 30, 2001 at 4:45 AM
MY VH1 MUSIC AWARDS

Arnold Schwarzenegger, actress Kate Beckinsale and comedian Ellen Degeneres have joined the list of presenters who'll appear on "My VH1 Music Awards '01," which airs live Sunday (at 9 p.m. ET/PT) from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

"Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack is hosting the show, which will feature performances by Mick Jagger, Creed, Sting, Nelly Furtado, Lenny Kravitz, No Doubt, Jewel and Mary J. Blige (who'll also perform a duet with Sting).

Other presenters include "Dharma & Greg" star Jenna Elfman, Kim Delaney ("Philly"), Gary Sinise, Christian Slater, Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier"), Benjamin Bratt ("Traffic"), Damon Wayans ("My Wife and Kids"), "Ally McBeal" star Calista Flockhart, Henry Simmons ("NYPD Blue") and Michael Michele ("ER").

U2 and Dave Matthews Bands are tied for the lead with six nominations each, followed by Gwen Stefani with five. Staind and Alicia Keys have four nominations, and Bon Jovi, Moby, Train, and the Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink collaboration for "Lady Marmelade" received three nominations each.

Categories include "My Favorite Group," "Best Actor in a Video" and "Must Have Album," as well as "Damn I Wish I Wrote That (Song of the Year)," "Navel Academy ," "Is It Hot in Here, Or Is It Just My Video?" and "Big in Japan (International Award)," among others.

Fans suggested the categories, picked the finalists and are now voting online for the winners (at VH1.com).


IS 'MILLIONAIRE' TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

Comedian-turned host Regis Philbin increased his worldwide visibility with the instant popularity of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" The show got so popular it began to be a multiple night thing.

Now, USA Today is wondering if the show's recent slump in the ratings is why ABC is not sure where to put it in next year's programming lineup. The publication quotes one of the heads of the network's entertainment division as saying the show might not appear on the fall 2002 schedule at all.

It's not unusual for networks to not commit this far out to a show, but "Millionaire" has been such a phenomenon, many are wondering if it's headed for the dumpster.

The New York-born, "always on" Philbin first gained national attention when he took over for Steve Allen on a nationally syndicated late night show, then became "second banana" to comedian Joey Bishop when Bishop went head-to-head against Johnny Carson. In the late 1980s, "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee" became a national daytime success, earning him seven Emmys.

(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)


STEVEN SPIELBERG

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures says it'll give its Billy Wilder Award for Excellence in Film Direction to Steven Spielberg.

The prestigious organization plans to announce its annual film awards next Wednesday, kicking off the 2001 movie awards season.

The Oscar-winning director of "Schindler's List," Saving Private Ryan" and "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" will pick up the Wilder award -- named for the Oscar-winning writer-director of "Some Like It Hot," "The Apartment" and "Sunset Boulevard" -- at the NBR's awards dinner on Jan. 7, 2002 at Tavern on the Green in New York.

In a prepared statement, the non-profit board said Spielberg is being honored for his "innovative and extraordinary career spanning almost four decades as one of America's most gifted filmmakers."

Other Wilder award winners include John Frankenheimer ("Seven Days in May," "The Manchurian Candidate"), Martin Scorsese ("Raging Bull," "GoodFellas") and Stanley Donen ("Singin' in the Rain," "On the Town").


PRODUCERS HALL OF FAME

The Producers Guild of America has announced that the movies "Network" and "The Manchurian Candidate" and the TV shows "Maude" and "Happy Days" will be inducted into the guild's hall of fame.

"Network" won four Oscars in 1976 -- including best actor (Peter Finch), actress (Faye Dunaway), supporting actress (Beatrice Straight) and original screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky). It was nominated for best picture and director (Sidney Lumet).

John Frankenheimer was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Directors Guild of America award for best director for "The Manchurian Candidate," but the picture was largely overlooked at the Oscars. Angela Lansbury was nominated for supporting actress.

"Happy Days" -- starring Ron Howard and Henry Winkler -- ran on ABC from 1974-84. "Maude" -- a spin-off from "All in the Family" starring Beatrice Arthur, Bill Macy and Adrienne Barbeau -- ran on CBS from 1972-78.

They'll be inducted into the PGA hall of fame at the guild's annual awards ceremony March 3.

(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


HARRY POTTER AND THE WEB CROWD

Warner Bros. says the Web site for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is drawing some intense traffic. The movie studio estimates HarryPotter.com has been averaging 8.5 million hits per day domestically, with an additional 2 million daily hits internationally.

Jim Noonan, senior vice president and general manager of Warner Bros. Online, told the Los Angeles Daily News: "We've never had anything else even close. We believe this is the most popular movie Web site ever."

The film based on the popular children's book is expected to hit the $200 million box office mark this week.

(Thanks to UPI's Joe Warminsky in Washington)


HARRY POTTER AND THE BOOTLEG DISK

With bootleg digital copies of the blockbuster hit "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" already showing up on street corners, Motion Picture Association of America head Jack Valenti wants the Chinese government to crack down on video piracy.

According to a story in the Hollywood Reporter, Valenti wants the Chinese to take more forceful action, but without interference from Washington.

As part of the deal that bought Washington's support of China's entry into the World Trade Organization, Beijing pledged to get control of rampant video piracy in that country. On the whole, the Chinese have made good on that pledge, Valenti said. Still, the Reporter says, the appearance of "Potter" on China's streets points out the difficulty in dealing with the problem. The MPA estimates that piracy in China still racks up $120 million a year, while the Asia-Pacific region rakes in more than $500 million a year.

(From UPI's Capital Comment)

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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