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By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Jan. 17, 2002 at 6:22 PM   |   Comments

'X-FILES' REACHES THE END

According to a report in Daily Variety, "The X-Files" will air its last original episode on Fox in May, ending a nine-season run during which it earned an Emmy as best drama series and made stars of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

Series creator Chris Carter and Fox confirmed that Carter notified network officials he is ready to wrap up the series with a two-part episode.

"The X-Files" began attracting a loyal audience right out of the gate when it premiered in 1993, and the following grew large enough to make the show one of TV's biggest hits. Fox executives freely acknowledge that Carter's creation was instrumental in putting the then-fledgling network on the map.

Ratings remained decent after Duchovny left the show last season, but they did fall off a bit. Carter told Variety he wanted the show to go out on a winning note.

"It's the ninth inning," he said. "We want to go out on top. We wanted to go out as a strong show."

Carter said he hasn't decided what the final episodes will look like, but he's been thinking about it for a long time -- and he knows that he will tie up all the show's long-running loose ends.


TELLING HER SIDE OF THE STORY

It was an emotional experience for Monica Lewinsky on Wednesday when the former White House intern and presidential lover told TV reporters about her upcoming HBO documentary, "Monica in Black and White," which she said will tell her side of the scandal that bears her name.

The picture is scheduled to air March 3 on the premium cable network.

Lewinsky said a healthy sense of humor has helped her cope with the massive public ridicule she has faced over the sexual affair that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. But she said there are some aspects of her shame that she still can't laugh off.

"There's a difference between a pleasant joke and a personal joke," said Lewinsky. "The ones that take my last name and equate them to (a sex act) that a lot of people in the world do, is a really cruel thing to do."

Meeting with TV critics to promote the documentary, Lewinsky appeared to lose her composure a few times. At one point she addressed her HBO publicists: "Don't blame me. You said they'd be nice to me."

The documentary will not be Lewinsky's first public accounting of the scandal. She talked with Barbara Walters on ABC more than two years ago, but she says there were legal restrictions on what she could say at the time.

"Monica in Black and White" includes lengthy passages of Lewinsky taking questions from an audience made up of college students and HBO staff.

She said the biggest misconception of her that persists among the public is that she intentionally set up Clinton so she could "enjoy it and cause trouble for this country and make millions of dollars and perpetuate my celebrity." Actually, said Lewinsky, she expects to end up as a footnote in history.


CROWE'S NEXT?

According to published reports in Hollywood, Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe is in talks to star in "Master and Commander" for director Peter Weir ("The Truman Show," "Dead Poets Society," "Witness").

Crowe would play Jack Aubrey, a captain in the British Navy who battles French warships and pirates in his first command, during the Napoleonic wars.


ALTMAN'S NEXT

Robert Altman has decided on his next project, following the positive reception that his current movie, "Gosford Park," is receiving.

The director of "M*A*S*H" and "The Player" plans to direct "Voltage," a satire based on Robert Grossbach's novel, "A Shortage of Engineers." Like most of Altman's movies, this one will feature an ensemble cast, including Harry Belafonte, Steve Buscemi, Elliott Gould, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy and Liv Tyler.

The book is about an engineering school graduate who finds the pressure of irrational bureaucracy unbearable when he goes to work for a defense contractor.


'CONTENDER' DIRECTOR RETURNS TO D.C. FOR TV SHOW

Writer-director Rod Lurie ("The Last Castle") has a new project that will revisit some of the same terrain he covered in the 2000 political drama, "The Contender."

ABC has ordered a pilot from Lurie set against the politics of Washington, D.C. -- with plans calling for the show to be part of the network's 2002-03 primetime schedule.


'EIGHT' ACTRESS DIED OF DRUG OVERDOSE

Officials in Los Angeles have concluded that "Eight Is Enough" actress Lani O'Grady died of a drug overdose.

A neighbor found the actress's body in her mobile home in September.

O'Grady gained fame in the 1970s as the eldest daughter on the family comedy-drama, which ran on ABC from 1977-81. She had a history of drug problems, apparently stemming from prescriptions she had been given to treat frequent bouts of anxiety.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office reported that O'Grady died of multiple drug intoxication -- including fatal levels of the painkiller Vicodin and the antidepressant Prozac. Officials have not ruled whether her death was suicide or accidental.


'DOWN' MUSIC

Film composer Hans Zimmer ("The Lion King," "Gladiator") faced something of a challenge when he began writing the music for the new war movie, "Black Hawk Down" -- he had to put Sept. 11 out of his mind just a few days after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C, when he started work on the new project.

Zimmer told the Los Angeles Times he was trying to keep the music true to the 1993 U.S. military misadventure in Somalia.

"One of the things that was important was not to let Sept. 11 influence the way I was working," he said.

He said he and director Ridley Scott already decided that the music for "Black Hawk Down" should get the idea across that "America doesn't realize how small the world is."

The pressure mounted on Zimmer and his musical team when "Black Hawk Down's" studio, Revolution, moved up the movie's release date by three months.

Zimmer said he already has received some feedback that his music added something important to the movie. He said "the greatest compliment" he got was from a U.S. Army Ranger who said: "Yeah, that sounds like the way it felt."

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