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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Aug. 22, 2002 at 5:30 PM
CONSERVATIVE GROUP SAYS 'DOC' IS BEST, 'BUFFY' IS WORST

The Parents Television Council (PTC) -- a predominantly conservative lobbying group that bills itself as a non-partisan, non-profit, grassroots organization -- has released its annual ranking of the Top Ten Best & Worst Shows on primetime network TV.

The PTC said the Pax-TV series "Doc," starring country singing star Billy Ray Cyrus as a country doctor, was the best show of the 2001-02 season. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," UPN's sci-fi fantasy starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role, was rated the worst.

Pointing out that six of the 10 shows on its Best List were in their first season on the air, PTC suggested that might indicate "a possible trend by the networks to give family-friendly programming a chance to succeed in primetime." The WB has four shows on the group's Best List.

The WB also had "Off Centre," ranked No. 2 on the PTC's Worst List for its "discussions of three-way sex and other gratuitous sexual content, including one character who assisted on the set of a gay porn video."

The PTC slammed the NBC hits "Friends" and "Will & Grace" because the shows "continue to deluge their young viewing audiences with adult themes including explicit sexual references or adult sexual situations."

PTC President L. Brent Bozell said the rankings show that the networks have a long way to go "before parents can be assured that their children will not be bombarded with filth during primetime."

The rest of the Best List: "Touched by an Angel" (CBS); "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (WB); "7th Heaven" (WB); "Baby Bob" (CBS); "Smallville" (WB); "Reba" (WB); "The Ponderosa" (Pax); "George Lopez" (ABC); "Bernie Mac" (Fox).

The rest of the Worst List: "WWE Smackdown!" (UPN); "Big Brother II" (CBS); "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS); "Temptation Island II" (Fox); "That '70s Show" (Fox); "Boston Public" (Fox).


PUTTING THE 'GOLD' IN 'GOLDMEMBER'

"Austin Powers in Goldmember" -- the third of Mike Myers' lucrative series of spy movie parodies -- is going down in the box-office record books in a big way.

It has grossed more than $185 million since it was released on July 26, and is set to go past $200 million this weekend, according to distributor New Line Cinema. That will make "Goldmember" the highest grossing comedy of the year to date.

The picture already notched the biggest opening weekend of all time for a comedy, and got to $100 million at the U.S. box office faster than any other comedy in history.

It is the only third installment of a movie series to outgross its two predecessors. With the exception of "Return of the Jedi," it's the most successful third installment of all time.


CASTING NOTES

Gene Wilder ("Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," "The Producers") will make a rare TV guest-starring appearance when he shows up in an episode of "Will & Grace" during the upcoming TV season.

Wilder plays Will's long-absent boss, who comes in from the London office. The episode is scheduled to air in November.


WHAT ARE 'FRIENDS' FOR?

Don't be surprised if Elizabeth Hurley shows up as a guest star on "Friends" during its ninth and final season on NBC.

At Wednesday night's premiere of her new movie "Serving Sara," co-starring Matthew Perry, Hurley got an invitation from Perry himself to do a spot on his show. The exchange showed up in a sound bite on "Access Hollywood."

"If you ever want to come on the friendship show you're more than welcome," said Perry.

"Thank you, Mr. Perry," said Hurley. "Sure, I love the show, yeah."


SHARON'S CANCER IS TOUGH ON OZZY

Ozzy Osbourne is having a rough time dealing with his wife-manager Sharon's struggle with colon cancer.

The rock veteran told Fox-TV he's trying to get on with his Ozzfest tour but he feels like his "spirit is dead."

"It's like someone has taken my heart away," said Osbourne. "When I heard my wife had colon cancer, it was like somebody pushing a button on an atomic bomb in my head."

Osbourne and his wife and kids hit new heights of celebrity this summer when their MTV reality show "The Osbournes" became an unexpected hit. He told Fox he had a sense, before Sharon's cancer was diagnosed, that it was all too good to be true.

"I remember saying to Sharon, 'This is too good right now, we're getting so much good stuff, nothing gets that high without coming down with a bang,"' said Osbourne.

Sharon Osbourne underwent surgery in July. She subsequently announced that the cancer had spread.

© 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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