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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   June 18, 2002 at 1:46 PM   |   Comments

'SCOOBY-DOO' TWO?

"Scooby-Doo" will be back for another bite at the box office, probably in 2004.

After the new live-action version of the TV cartoon classic scored the second biggest June opening in U.S. box-office history -- $54.2 million -- Warner Bros. announced that there will be a sequel.

The only bigger June opening was in 1999, when "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" grossed $54.9 million in its opening weekend.


HANK JR. OK WITH ABC

Toby Keith sounds a little like he is second-guessing Hank Williams Jr.'s decision to perform on the upcoming live, three-hour, ABC News TV special "In Search Of America: A July 4th Musical Celebration."

Keith has accused the network of dumping him from the line-up for the show because newsman Peter Jennings objected to the lyrics of his post-Sept. 11 anthem "Courtesy of The Red, White, And Blue (The Angry American)."

A spokeswoman for ABC News told the Washington Post that Keith was never asked to be part of the show. Cathy Levine acknowledged that representatives of the show talked with Keith, but she said they talked to a lot of acts that they didn't book.

"In the process of booking the show, we cast a wide net," Levine said.

She said Keith was not booked for a number of reasons, including logistics, but she acknowledged that the song was one of the reasons why ABC passed.

"One of the factors was not so much the lyrics but the song itself," she said. "He says himself it's a song about anger and frustration. We want this show to be about strength and character -- a celebration of America."

Williams is scheduled to perform "America Will Survive" and "Outdoor Loving Man" on the ABC special. Keith told LAUNCH he wonders whether Williams was pressured to do the ABC gig.

"Hank's his own man and I'm my own man," said Keith. "We both do whatever we want to do. Truth is there are a lot of artists doing the show, and Hank has a long-standing relationship with ABC's "Monday Night Football" and they might be putting the pressure on him to step in. Personally speaking, after what's happened, I don't see why anyone would want to be on that show."

The line-up for "In Search Of America: A July 4th Musical Celebration" includes Sheryl Crow, Los Lobos and India.Arie.

"Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue (The Angry American)" is No. 12 this week on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.


GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES

Britney Spears is making plans to star in her second feature -- this one set in the world of stock car racing.

NASCAR and Britney Spears Productions announced a deal Monday to develop the project, which would feature Spears as the daughter of a NASCAR team owner who inspires a former driver to return to the oval. The announcement specifically mentioned that Spears "will not portray a MASCAR" driver.

The film is also expected to feature actual NASCAR drivers, teams, tracks and competition. The screenplay was written by Jim Hart ("Contact," "Hook").

Paul Brooks, NASCAR vice president of broadcasting, said the project is part of the organization's campaign to "grow our sport by developing entertainment projects" involving NASCAR figures.

"We have received numerous movie concepts set in the world of NASCAR, but chose this project because it is a great story that embraces our true, genuine sport as its backdrop," said Brooks. "Britney Spears' involvement will help us reach an untapped fan base while serving our core fans with the authentic NASCAR experience."

Spears has some NASCAR experience, as Grand Marshal for the 2001 Pepsi 400.


IT'S A BOY!

Téa Leoni ("Hollywood Ending," "Jurassic Park III") and David Duchovny ("The X-Files") welcomed their second child into the world on Saturday at an unnamed Los Angeles area hospital.

No name has yet been announced for the 7-pound, 10-ounce boy. Leoni, 36, and Duchovny, 41, have a 3-year-old daughter, Madelaine West Duchovny.


HONORS FOR KIRK DOUGLAS

Screen legend Kirk Douglas added another distinction to his resume on Friday when the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television presented him with its highest honor, the UCLA Medal.

The medal -- presented for cultural, political or humanitarian achievements -- was awarded to the 85-year-old star of "Spartacus," "Lust for Life" and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" in recognition of his "lifelong work in the entertainment business."

Douglas joins a list of UCLA Medal recipients that includes former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Carol Burnett and the late Laurence Olivier.

© 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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