NBC has made it official. Tom Brokaw will stay with the TV network's main nightly news program, but only until 2004. Executives say that Brokaw will not disappear, he will stay on as a special reports. But that was what Walter Cronkite had pledged on his final broadcast, saying he would be back doing regular specials and a new science series -- then essentially began keeping a low profile. Stepping into the anchor seat will be Brian Williams, currently with CNBC and MSNBC. Brokaw has anchored the NBC nightly broadcast since 1983, following in the footsteps of such notable broadcasters as Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Some media pundits say it's possible that NBC made the announcement so far in advance to make sure Williams did not move to CBS to take over for Dan Rather, when that time comes. Brokaw is now 62.
BASS CLOSER TO BECOMING COSMONAUT
Energetic "boy singer" Lance Bass is apparently one step closer to getting permission to fly aboard a Russian rocket flight. The main concerns have been whether or not the 23-year-old member of 'NSync was physically capable of enduring the rigors of space. Now published reports indicate that he has indeed been asked back to the Russian space center to finish his training. He left the center recently to take part in the wrap-up of his boy band's current tour. There had been some concerns that a reported childhood heart problem might preclude his becoming a spaceman. He underwent a small corrective operation recently. It now appears his schedule is in sync. Bass has been enamored of space flight since he was a boy. The Mississippi-born singer attended a space camp as child. He now faces as much as six months of training for a possible space assignment in the fall.
URBAN GEARS UP FOR FATHER'S DAY
Saying that it's about time someone wrote a song about the special relationship between fathers and sons, country singer Keith Urban has done just that. He tells Country Music Television that his song, "Song for Dad," was written because it was something he felt compelled to do. Urban debuted the song this week at the Sizzlin' Country Benefit in Los Angeles. Ironically, his father has yet to hear the single. It will be included in a new CD, planned for release on Capitol Records later this year. Urban has been a meteor in country music in the past few years. His initial CD effort went gold just months after its release in 1999. The big hit from that album was "But for the Grace of God." The singer says that his next effort will be slightly "experimental." After all, it's been three years in the making.
EMPLOYEES EVACUATED AT TELEVISION CITY
The usually placid Fairfax neighborhood around CBS Television City in Hollywood was the scene of intense police action Tuesday, when a gunman rammed his truck through a gate in the facility's parking lot and ran into the media complex. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the building was evacuated and the gunman, described as being in his early 30s, held police at bay for more than four hours. The siege ended when the man shot himself in the stomach. He survived the self-inflicted wound. No one else was injured. He reportedly had told police that he was going to kill himself unless he was allowed to "tell his story" to the media. Relatives were brought in to help negotiate. The publication notes that the incident will certainly renew discussions about post-Sept. 11 security in the movie capital.
PERRY COMO MEMENTOS HEADED FOR AUCTION
The folks at Dawson's Auctioneers have announced on their Web site they are preparing to auction off many of the personal effects of the late crooner Perry Como. According to the New Jersey-based company, the auctioning off of elements of Como's estate will take place during the next four days. Among the items listed in the catalog for sale are an 18-karat yellow gold Rolex wristwatch; two pair of 14-karat yellow gold cufflinks. One has a representation of a gold record and a music awards statuette and the other depicts a golfbag with musical symbols on either side; Como's 1999 white Cadillac DeVille. Dawson's is located in Morris Plains, N.J., and has put much of the information on its Web site: dawsons.org/calendar.html. Como had one of the smoothest voices ever recorded. Born in Pennsylvania, he began his career as a barber. He died a year ago last week in Florida of Alzheimer's disease.
MUSIC WORLD REMEMBERS ENIGMATIC STREET
It was 30 years ago this month that a singer hit the charts from out of nowhere. Mel Street, according to country.com, sounded somewhat like George Jones, but the similarities stopped there. His first hit, "Borrowed Angel," swept the charts. He had put the song together with little help, writing the music and words himself. He had begun his music career singing for small radio stations in his native Virginia and across the river in West Virginia. Finally, after working as an electrician and a construction worker, he got the nerve to take his talents to Nashville. After his success with "Borrowed Angel," he put "Lovin' on Borrowed Time," "Forbidden Angel" and "Barbara, Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know" on the charts. His national career lasted less than seven years. On his 43rd birthday he committed suicide. Had he lived, he would have been 68 this fall.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 343
Today's question was suggested by several in the past few weeks: "If you could have been born during any era in history, what era would that have been?" Put ERA in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 338 (VITAMINS)
Last week we asked about your vitamin intake. From a sampling grabbed from the mailbox, here are some of your replies: PO says that she needs to drop about 150 pounds and takes C, D and E all the time. Peggy is a firm believer in vitamins and says that she currently takes more of them than she does prescription medications. Like many who responded, she notes that she is not sure if they are doing any good but hates to quit. Many who said they take quite a few mentioned the multi-vitamin Centrum by name. Cheryl takes magnesium for migraines and says it's working. DJB reports that he nearly died of a heart attack in his mid 40s and started taking multi-vitamins shortly thereafter. He's now 87. By the way, Dale, thanks for writing. I think this may be your first time. Check in more often. (What did you teach in college?) Keke says that taking gingko saved her life, helping her get rid of vertigo. Only a few wrote to blast vitamins. TOMORROW: Your thoughts on the Levy case. GBA.