Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   May 14, 2002 at 3:28 AM   |   0 comments

ALLY STUFF FOR SALE

As "Ally McBeal" goes out of business after five seasons on Fox, the network is putting a significant piece of the show's history on the eBay auction block -- the 18-karat gold necklace laced with diamonds, sapphires and onyx that the rail-thin star Calista Flockhart wore as the title character on the show.

The necklace is the only item from the quirky show up for sale and will be open for bids Tuesday afternoon (allymcbealauction.com). Proceeds will benefit the World Trade Center School Relief Fund.

The final episode of "Ally McBeal" will air on Fox next Monday.

Fox will also put three items from the political drama "24" on eBay (24-auction.com) -- including the Rolex watch worn by Kiefer Sutherland in his role as Jack Bauer, the main character. The show has been a critical success, but fans will not find out if it will be back for a second season until later this week when Fox unveils its primetime schedule for 2002-03.


BIG SHAKEUP AT ABC

With nothing to lose but its place at the bottom of the ratings heap, ABC has announced major changes in their primetime lineup for 2002-03 -- including the cancellation of once-popular shows "Spin City" and "Dharma & Greg."

The network will roll out new shows on five nights with at least 50 percent new shows on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The schedule will feature a new drama and a spinoff from the "Dinotopia" talking dinosaur miniseries that is currently drawing some decent ratings for ABC.

"The Drew Carey Show" is being moved into the Monday 8 p.m. slot, followed by Carey's "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" -- leading into "Monday Night Football," which will feature veteran boisterous announcer John Madden back this season.

The Tuesday night schedule leads off with "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," a family comedy starring John Ritter; "NYPD Blue," which had been getting shifted around a bit by the ABC programmers, returns at 10 p.m. on Tuesday.


'MILLIONAIRE' ON ICE

"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which was seen as a savior at ABC just a couple of years ago, has also been removed from the network's primetime schedule for 2002-03.

However, the show is expected to return to the air occasionally as a series of specials throughout the season.

"They know what the 'Millionaire' is all about," host Regis Philbin told the New York Daily News. "They can bring that back anytime and run it for 10 straight nights or once a week or whatever they want to do with it."

Just two seasons ago, "Millionaire" was the top-rated show on TV -- frequently making multiple appearances in the Nielsen Top 10. But ABC milked the show, airing it as many as five times a week at times, and viewers lost interest in a hurry. Philbin suggested the network had killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

"They did overexpose it," he told the newspaper, "and it lost a lot of its luster."


CARSON'S THE GREATEST -- NO CLOSE SECOND

One week shy of 10 years after he retired from "The Tonight Show," Johnny Carson is still regarded as the best late-night talk show host ever, according to a new Gallup Poll.

Carson -- who brought Carnac the Magnificent, the Mighty Carson Art Players and the nightly monologue into the homes of Americans from 1962 until his retirement in 1992 -- was picked by 39 percent of those polled.

David Letterman came in second, 20 points behind Carson. Leno was third with 16 percent.

Steve Allen was selected by 6 percent, while Jack Paar and Dick Cavett were in the low single digits.


YOU BET!

TBS Superstation announced that Pete Rose will co-host its Tuesday night franchise, "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies," on June 11, when the feature will be "Mr. Destiny" -- starring James Belushi, Linda Hamilton, Michael Caine and Jon Lovitz.

The baseball great will share hosting duties with former big leaguer Jay Johnstone, long considered one of the funniest players ever to put on a major league uniform.

"Mr. Destiny" (1990) is the story of a man who believes his life would have turned out differently if only he hadn't choked during a baseball game when he was a kid.

© 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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