DIVERSITY AMONG THE DIRECTORS?
According to a new study by the Directors Guild of America, Hollywood studios and production companies have not made good on past pledges to bring more diversity to the entertainment business.
The report examined the top 40 TV series of the 2000-01 season and found that more than 80 percent of drama and comedy series episodes last season were directed by white men.
White women directed 11 percent of the episodes, while black men directed 3 percent -- 27 out of 826 -- and no black women received a directing credit. Some of the top shows on TV -- including "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC), "Friends" (NBC) and "Law & Order" (NBC) employed no female or minority directors during the 2000-01 season.
The DGA report said that for the current season, "Friends" has hired a minority director for one episode and "Law & Order" has employed a woman to direct one episode, while "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox) and "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS) were criticized for not using either a female or minority director for any of their 2001-02 episodes.
Emmy Award-winning director Paris Barclay -- whose credits include several episodes of "NYPD Blue", "ER" and "The West Wing" -- told the Los Angeles Times he was "really surprised" by the number of shows that only employ white male directors.
"And what really shocks me is that not one African-American female director has directed a top 40 show," said Barclay. "I can name 10 -- some with Oscar nominations -- who are not even considered."
Veteran director Martha Coolidge told the paper the numbers in the report are embarrassing.
"Why is it happening? It's called discrimination," she said. "It's called comfort level. People don't change easily until they have to."
"Frasier" (NBC), "Just Shoot Me" (NBC), "My Wife and Kids" (ABC), "Three Sisters" (NBC) and "Third Watch" (NBC) had at least five episodes each that were directed by women or minorities.
BUT THE OSCARS ARE STILL EIGHT WEEKS AWAY!
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has published the schedule for the 54th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
TV shows need to have aired between June 1, 2001, and May 31, 2002, to be eligible. Nominating ballots will be mailed on June 21.
The academy will announce the nominations on July 18. Emmys will be handed out on Sept. 22 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles -- unless for some reason they are postponed, as they were in 2001 because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Ceremonies will be telecast on NBC.
STARS COME OUT FOR OSCAR
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday that Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe will make his third appearance as a presenter on an Oscar telecast when the 74th annual Academy Awards are handed out on March 24.
Crowe won the best actor Oscar last year for his performance as Maximus, the enslaved Roman general in "Gladiator." He was nominated for best actor in 1999 for "The Insider."
Universal Pictures has admitted that it made a mistake in submitting "A Beautiful Mind's" Jennifer Connelly as a candidate for female actor in a leading role category at the SAG Awards, but the studio says all's well that ends well.
The studio issued a statement saying it had meant to submit Connelly for female actor in a supporting role -- as it had in the other award competitions -- but due to a mistake on the filing form, her name was submitted in the wrong category.
"While this is an unfortunate circumstance, we couldn't be more pleased for Ms. Connelly that her performance has received such strong support from her fellow actors," said the statement. "We congratulate her, and we thank the members of the Screen Actors Guild for this prestigious nomination."
Connelly won a Golden Globe, as well as supporting actress honors from the Broadcast Film Critics Association and a featured actress award from American Film Institute. She was nominated Monday for best actress in a supporting role by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
The statement suggests that Universal intends to submit Connelly in the supporting actress category for the Oscars.
IS ROSIE'S SECRET OUT?
Rosie O'Donnell's upcoming memoir, "Find Me," isn't due in stores until April 23, but various published reports indicate that the talk show queen turned magazine publisher reveals in the book that she is a lesbian.
Publisher's Weekly quoted a sales representative for Warner Books as saying that people will be "very surprised" by the book, and the New York Daily News quoted a source last weekend as saying that O'Donnell writes "about her relationship with women and having a girl break her heart in college."
O'Donnell dedicated her Daytime Emmy award last May to her companion, Kelli Carpenter, but she has never come right out and acknowledged whether she is a lesbian.
STARS COME OUT FOR BILLY JOEL
An all-star lineup will be on hand to help the Recording Academy honor Billy Joel next month as its 2002 MusiCares Person of the Year.
Tony Bennett, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Garth Brooks, Diana Krall and Rob Thomas will be joined by other recording artists and celebrities at a gala dinner in Joel's honor on Feb. 25, in recognition of his musical and humanitarian accomplishments.
The event will feature a silent auction of collectibles from the worlds of music and sports, as well as works of art and donated luxury items, to raise funds for MusiCares' Financial Assistance Program. The program provides assistance to musicians in times of financial, medical and personal need.
Joel joins a list of MusiCares Person of the Year honorees that includes Bennett, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, David Crosby, Gloria Estefan, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
IT'S A GIRL!
Eddie Murphy and his wife Nicole have a new baby -- their fifth.
Bella Zahra Murphy weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces when she was born at an unidentified Los Angeles area hospital Tuesday. The other four Murphy kids are Bria, 12; Myles, 10; Shayne, 7; and Zola, 2.
"We are overjoyed about this newest addition to our family," said the couple a statement released through Murphy's publicist.
Murphy -- who was nominated Monday for a supporting actor award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for his voice-over role as Donkey in "Shrek" -- is due in theaters this year with Robert De Niro in the high-octane comedy "Showtime." He's filming a big screen version of the classic TV show "I Spy."
IT'S A BOY!
Andy Garcia and his wife, Marivi Lorido Garcia, have a new baby -- their fourth.
Andres Antonio Garcia-Lorido weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces when he was born at an unidentified Los Angeles area hospital Monday.
The other three Garcia kids -- all daughters -- are ages 18, 14 and 10.
Garcia, 45, is seen in theaters as a corrupt casino owner in director Steven Soderbergh's hip comedy "Ocean's Eleven." He also played the title role in HBO's critically acclaimed TV movie "For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story."
COEN BROTHERS NEXT
According to a report in Daily Variety, Joel and Ethan Coen are in talks to write an update of "Gambit" -- a 1966 British caper comedy that starred Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine as a pair of would be robbers who can't get anything about the job right.
The update is reportedly being prepared as a vehicle for Hugh Grant.
For now, the Coen brothers are preparing to make "Intolerable Cruelty" -- starring George Clooney as a take-no-prisoners divorce lawyer and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the wife who swears to get even with him for keeping her settlement down to a pittance, but falls in love with him instead.