Country star Alan Jackson is the latest "act" to sign on for a mega concert to be aired on NBC the night of the terror anniversary, Sept. 11. The network confirms that Jackson will join a cadre of major stars, including Placido Domingo, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Enrique Iglesias and Gloria Estefan. The broadcast, called "Concert for America," will be taped at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington two days before the air date. First lady Laura Bush has been invited to attend the taping. The show will be hosted by anchorman Tom Brokaw. One reason for inviting Jackson to be on the show -- aside from the fact that he is a major star -- is that his post-Sept. 11 song "When the World Stopped Turning" was, in the words of the news provider country.com, "one of the strongest songs written in the aftermath of last year's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington." The National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, will also perform.
SPIELBERG SAYS INTERNET NAME STOLEN
Director Steven Spielberg is asking his lawyers to "get on the case" and try to wrest an Internet cyberspace name from a small company in India. It seems that the group has purchased the Internet address "dreamworkzweb.com" for its own use. The problem is, of course, that the name is extremely close to the name of Spielberg's company, DreamWorks. The British Broadcast Corp. says that Spielberg will claim that the Indian company is playing on his trademark, trying to enhance its own visibility by linking itself to the better-known Hollywood production company. The network describes the group using the name as "a small dot-com." Meanwhile, lawyers for the company claim that tying their firm to Spielberg was the "last thing on their minds when the name was chosen." The legal answer to this may hinge on the scope of requests filed by DreamWorks when it originally purchased its own Internet site.
FOR SALE: PENTHOUSE. CALL MARTHA STEWART
There are indications that embattled household guru Martha Stewart may be trying to pick up some quick cash by selling her as-of-yet-unfinished Manhattan penthouse. The New York Post says that Stewart is trying to unload the posh digs in the city's West Village. The asking price is somewhere around $15 million. Stewart bought the 4,000-square-foot apartment some time ago for $6 million. The penthouse was only in the early stages of construction at the time. When the building in which the penthouse is being constructed is fully finished, it will contain many super-upscale apartments with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and even have its own five-star restaurant. Meanwhile, amid all of this, her accountants claim that Stewart may have lost as much as $300 million in recent months because of stock loses on Wall Street.
LATIN GRAMMYS ANNOUNCE HOSTS
The folks who run the Grammys have announced that the next Latin Grammy Awards will be hosted by popular actor Jimmy Smits and mega-star Gloria Estefan. The pair will be making a return visit to the podium; they were part of the original line up of hosts during the first awards presentations. Smits, best known for his award-winning roles in "NYPD Blue" and "L.A. Law," is quite a music fan and owns a Latin nightclub in Los Angeles. Estefan has made several trips to the stage at the Grammys ... to pick up awards for her music. This year's event will be aired on CBS on Sept. 18 and will take place in the new Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. For more check out grammy.aol.com on the Internet.
IN PRAISE OF 'WHAT'S HER NAME'
If ever there was an actress who had a familiar face, appeared in many media but whose name was not a household word -- especially to today's younger generation -- it was Signe Hasso. One reason that the Swedish-born star might not have been a household word was the fact that some people were never sure how to pronounce her name. But it's spoken just as it looks: "SIGG-nuh HASS-oh." She was a ravishing blond who tried to be another Garbo, but that never worked. During her career she made a dozen or so movies in this country and appeared on numerous early TV shows, though most of her filmography shows she worked in European films. The reason I bring this up is that her passing went nearly un-noticed this year. I was looking though one of the Internet's truly great Web sites -- imdb.com -- a wonderful source for checking on nearly everyone who ever appeared on radio, TV or in the movies. For some inexplicable reason Hasso's name came to mind. I realized that were she still alive she would be in her 90s. I was disappointed to find that she died several months ago, largely without notice. The cause was lung cancer and finally pneumonia. In her later years she told reporters that she wanted to be remembered for her writing, not her work as an actress. But it is her performances in "The House on 92nd Street" (1945), "The Seventh Cross" (1944) and as Roland Colman's ex-wife in the 1947 film "A Double Life" for which she will always be remembered. Signe Hasso was 91.
NEW PATSY CLINE RETROSPECTIVES TO DEBUT
It's been four decades since the untimely death of meteoric country star Patsy Cline and the world is still crazy about her. Now, according to MCA Nashville records, her fans will get yet another chance to revel in her style. A tribute album with Diana Krall and Norah Jones is about to be released. Additionally, engineers have been painstakingly remastering many of her greatest hits for a new "best of" album of Cline million sellers. Also there is a television special in the early stages of production. The new "Greatest Hits" album will be identical to one pressed some years ago. The only difference will be the intense re-mastering work being done by some of Nashville's best engineers. One track that will strike the listener's ear is a rather thorough re-do of "Walking After Midnight." There are reports that the song has undergone a work over, using the original multi-track masters with a fresh mixing approach. Should be interesting.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 399
Today's question concerns the status of TV and radio news today: "If you had the chance to give the news directors of the major networks a piece of your mind, what would you ask them to change about their news broadcasts? What would you stop covering? What would you like to see given more attention?" Put NEWS in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION No. 394 (BANDS)
Last week we asked what entertainment act (living or dead) you'd like to have play a "command performance" for you. From a sampling of e-mailed responses: The Beatles emerged the big winners, with nearly 35 percent of respondents mentioning the Fab Four. Other groups getting major votes were the Eagles, the Stones, the Doors, Moody Blues, the Hollies and (not suprisingly) Dire Straits. Bob W wants the Cowsills to get back together. Bob, you have "unique" tastes in music. Chalk up votes for Glenn Miller and one for Lawrence Welk. CWW remembers Paul Whiteman and would like to have the band play "Rhapsody in Blue." Even pioneer rocker Boyd Bennett got a vote from JL in Tucson. TOMORROW: Your thoughts on heroism. GBA.