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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   June 20, 2002 at 5:26 PM
BUT PEOPLE WATCHED

Despite the controversy surrounding the show -- or perhaps because of it -- the Nickelodeon News special "My Family Is Different" pulled in pretty good numbers.

An estimated 976,000 adults 18-49 tuned in to watch host Linda Ellerbee moderate a discussion about the way children of gay and lesbian parents are treated by their peers. An estimated 145,000 viewers age 12-17 tuned in.

It was the third-highest rated "Nick News Special Edition" in the cable channel's history -- trailing only a 1999 show about civil rights leader Martin Luther King and a 1997 special about kids dealing with disabilities.

Critics of Tuesday's show accused Nickelodeon of promoting a "homosexual agenda." Ellerbee insisted the show was intended to promote tolerance and respect for differences among people.


MORE ON 'SCOBBY-DOO' SEQUEL

Daily Variety has more details about Warner Bros.' decision -- while seats were still warm in theaters where "Scooby-Doo" opened last weekend -- to fast track a sequel.

The live-action version of the TV cartoon classic -- with a computer generated "Scooby" -- opened with more than $54 million, well above the studio's expectations. After that, studio executives not only decided immediately to go with a sequel -- they also decided to make it happen more as less as fast as possible.

Plans call for stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard and Linda Cardellini to reteam with director Raja Gosnell. The studio has the actors sewed up, simply by exercising sequel options contained in their contracts.

Variety reported that Warner Bros. was working on a deal Gosnell to direct the sequel.

Studio brass want to get the sequel into theaters in 2004.


STARS LINE UP FOR BET AWARDS

Producers of the 2nd Annual BET Awards have announced that Yolanda Adams, Laila Ali, Ashanti, B2K, Mary J. Blige, Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, P. Diddy, Ja Rule, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, LL Cool J, Ludacris, Mystikal, Nelly, Will Smith and Usher will either perform or serve as presenters on the awards show next week in Hollywood.

Cedric "The Entertainer" and Steve Harvey will host the show on June 25 at the Kodak Theatre. The ceremonies will be telecast live over BET, with a tape-delayed telecast for West Coast audiences.

The talent line-up also includes A.J. & Free, Johnnie Cochran, Gary Dourdan, Vivica A. Fox, Robert Johnson, Leon, Butch Lewis, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Vecepia Towery and Gabrielle Union.

Veteran R&B stars Earth, Wind & Fire -- scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award -- will also perform live. And Muhammad Ali will receive the BET Humanitarian Award to recognize his activism and his athletic accomplishments.


COME ON DOWN!

The Los Angeles local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has presented veteran game show host Bob Barker with a certificate of recognition to honor his contributions to the TV industry -- and his amazing record-breaking streak of 5,690 consecutive episodes of a TV show. "The Price is Right."

To put that in perspective, Barker's streak is more than twice as long as future Hall-of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.'s legendary consecutive games streak of 2,632.

"Bob Barker defines what it means to be a professional in our industry," said local president Susan Boyd. "He's a beloved television performer and an exemplary citizen."


HONORS FOR KEVIN KLINE

Oscar-winning actor Kevin Kline ("A Fish Called Wanda") has become the first American to win the Sir John Gielgud Award, presented each year by the Washington-based Shakespeare Guild to honor the legacy of the late Oscar-winning star of "Arthur."

The guild said Gielgud "probably did more than anyone else in the twentieth century to keep Shakespeare and the classical tradition vibrant for modern audiences."

Previous winners of the Golden Quill Award include Kenneth Branagh, Zoe Caldwell, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen.

Tony Randall ("The Odd Couple") served as master of ceremonies for the presentation to Kline Monday night at Alice Tully Hall, at New York's Lincoln Center. Kitty Carlisle Hart, ("A Night at the Opera," "To Tell the Truth") -- a charter member of The Shakespeare Guild's selection panel -- presented the award to Kline.

Branagh, who received the award in 2000, praised Kline's way with the Bard.

"His passion for Shakespeare is infectious, his skill with it is sublime, his intelligent understanding of it is awesome," said Branagh. "He is one of the 'greats,' and so deserves this honour."

Branagh and Kline co-starred in "Wild Wild West" (1999) and the animated feature "The Road to El Dorado" (2000).

© 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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