Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   April 10, 2002 at 5:41 AM   |   0 comments

NEVER SAY NEVER

It's expected to be announced that New Line Cinema has struck a deal with MGM and United Artists that will clear the way for the third Austin Powers movie to use the title "Austin Powers in Goldmember."

That had been the title until MGM/UA capitalized on New Line's failure to register it properly, and won a court order forbidding the studio from using it because it too closely resembles the 1964 James Bond title "Goldfinger."

While New Line has reportedly considered using other titles consistent with the Bond spoof mentality of Mike Myers' Powers movie, the studio has also kept alive the possibility of convincing MGM/UA to allow the use of "Goldmember."

The studios are expected to announce a deal in which New Line will run trailers for several MGM movies -- including the upcoming Bond picture "Die Another Day" -- ahead of the Austin Powers movie and "The Lord of the Rings."

"Goldmember" -- or whatever the movie ends up being called -- is due to open in U.S. theaters on July 26.


TED KOPPEL'S NEW DEAL

After flaming out in its bungled attempt to replace Ted Koppel and "Nightline" with David Letterman, ABC has struck a deal to keep Koppel and his long-running late night news show in place for at least two more years.

The Walt Disney Co. -- which owns ABC -- said Monday that the new deal would "renew and reaffirm our support for 'Nightline,' one of the network's signature programs."

During the controversy surrounding its handling of the matter Koppel publicly challenged ABC and Disney to give him and his staff a sign that the news show could count on serious corporate support for its future, rather than "bland assurances or a short-term guarantee." Koppel said Monday the new deal makes the show "even stronger than it was before."

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


LATEST COSBY PROJECT IN LOW GEAR

Plans to bring a live-action version of comedian Bill Cosby's stories about Fat Albert to the silver screen have apparently been put on hold.

The 64-year-old funnyman was in pre-production at 20th Century Fox until a reported difference of opinion arose between Cosby and the film's director and its chief writer. According to Hollywood Reporter, Cosby, writer Charles Kipps and director Forrest Whitaker had "creative differences" about the course the film should take. There are reports that Whitaker may be replaced on the project, which was to have gone into full production next month.

The temporary flap was apparently not too rancorous. Meanwhile, the official word is that the project is "on hiatus" and will resume once the personality conflicts are resolved.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)


'THE SCORPION KING'

The Rock, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bernard Hill, Roger Rees and director Chuck Russell are scheduled to attend the world premiere of their movie, "The Scorpion King," next Wednesday at the Universal Amphitheatre in the Los Angeles suburb of Universal City, Calif. Other celebrities expected include George Clooney, Benicio Del Toro, Brendan Fraser, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Frankie Muniz, Jerry O'Connell and Jessica Alba. "The Scorpion King" opens nationwide April 19.


JAMIE LEE CURTIS

To mark the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Missing Children's Act, actress Jamie Lee Curtis hosted a reunion Tuesday at the FBI's New York headquarters of previously missing children and the law enforcement officers who found them.

The reunion kicked off this year's "Commitment to Kids" program, a child identification effort that aims to reduce the number of missing children each year. The program is a second-year partnership among Blue Oval Certified Ford dealers, Curtis and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Also participating in the reunion were "America's Most Wanted" host and NCMEV co-founder John Walsh, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and Kevin Donovan, assistant FBI director and head of the New York City office.

Through June 16, parents can bring their children to participating Blue Oval Certified Ford dealerships and receive free child safety ID kits.

"Helping Ford dealers spread the word about child safety and draw attention to the staggering number of children reported missing each year really has hit home for me," said Curtis. "As a parent, I'm proud to be part of this effort to protect kids -- our most valuable asset."

(Web site: blueoval.fordvehicles.com)


MICHAEL J. FOX

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) will help fund a $2 million research initiative to develop or validate conclusive diagnostic tests, or "biomarkers," for Parkinson's disease.

There is currently no definitive lab or behavior test to diagnose Parkinson's, a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder affecting more than one million Americans and millions more worldwide.

"We're swinging for the fences, hoping to hit a home run," said actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's. "A true diagnostic test would deliver huge benefits for patients, physicians, and researchers."

About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year. Lacking a definitive biological test, clinical diagnoses are based on patients' medical history and detailed neurological and physical examinations. The misdiagnosis rate is estimated at 20 percent.

Fox founded MJFF in May 2000.

(Web site: michaeljfox.org)

© 2002 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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