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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   Jan. 9, 2003 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

HBO TAKES VOW OF CELIBACY

HBO has confirmed the sixth season of "Sex and the City" will be the risqué comedy's last.

The Emmy Award-winning show, which stars Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker as single career women searching for romance in the Big Apple, is expected to conclude with a series finale early

next year.

The pay cable TV network announced Tuesday it will begin filming the show's final 20 episodes in New York on March 31. Twelve of those half-hour installments are scheduled to start running this June, with the season's remaining eight episodes to begin airing in January 2004.

Based on columnist Candace Bushnell's sensational book of the same name, "Sex and the City" is the first cable show to win an Emmy for best comedy. The series' trend-setting stars also have won praise from fashionistas around the globe for their unique style.


NEW SHOW FROM MEL'S PRODUCTION CO.

Having effectively conquered the film world, the multi-talented Mel Gibson now is turning his attention to television.

CBS is confirming reports of a proposed series from Gibson's company, Icon Productions.

A network spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune CBS has received the script for "Chi-Town," a drama that focuses on two sisters involved in the Windy City's political scene. According to the report, Viacom Productions would co-produce the series for the 2003-04 season.

This is not Gibson's only TV venture. He and his partner, Bruce Davey, also are producing a proposed drama called "3 Card Monte" for UPN. The pair previously made "The Three Stooges" movie for ABC.


AND THE GRAMPY AWARD GOES TO...

The popularity of aging rock stars continued to soar Tuesday when Grammy Award nominations were announced and all of the candidates in one rock category were over the age of 48.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences nominated rock legends David Bowie (56), Elvis Costello (48), Peter Gabriel (52), Robert Plant (54) and Bruce Springsteen (53) for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance

this year.

Although veteran artists also dominated the category of Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, the average age of the women was much lower. Melissa Etheridge (41,) Sheryl Crow (40) and Bonnie Raitt (53) lead a pack that includes relative newcomers, Avril Lavigne (18) and Susan Tedeschi (31).


LEO, SCORSESE RE-UNITE FOR 'THE AVIATOR'

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese worked so well together on "Gangs of New York," they are re-uniting for the new Howard Hughes bio-pic, "The Aviator."

Scheduled to start filming in May for a fall 2004 release, "The Aviator" is about obsessive-compulsive millionaire Howard Hughes and "his initial descent into madness," DiCaprio said.

Talking to reporters in New York, DiCaprio described Hughes as an "extremely complex character to play, very multi-dimensional."

"I read his biography when I was 18 years old, and initially sent the project to Michael Mann and developed it with him," the "Titanic" star explained. "There was a three-year writing process. Michael had finished 'Ali' and wanted to try something different, so we sent it to Marty. It was a subject matter that Marty was fascinated with, too, and he wanted to be a part of it. That was pretty amazing."

Asked if, given his admiration for filmmakers, he has ever considered directing a film himself, DiCaprio replied: "I've often thought about whether I want to be a director or not, but I think I have a lot more roles

that I want to play, and I don't know how I would be as a director. I think I might be a little too controlling. I don't know. I think that I'd be telling the actors how to do a certain scene, and I don't think actors respond to that."


YAKOV SMIRNOFF COMES TO B'WAY

Comedian Yakov Smirnoff is bringing his one-man show, "As Long As We Both Shall Laugh," to Broadway for a limited engagement. Smirnoff will give 12 performances at Manhattan's American Airlines Theatre on Sunday and Monday evenings beginning Sunday, Feb. 23 through Monday, April 14.

Smirnoff is best known in the United States as a witty observer of the relationship between Russia and America. With the Cold War over, Yakov has shifted his focus to an even greater challenge, guaranteeing him long-term job security -- the relationship between men and women.

Says Smirnoff: "Now, it's time to break down the wall between the genders."

The actor-comedian became an American citizen on July 4, 1986, when he was sworn in at the Statue of Liberty. He came to America in 1977 with his parents and less than $100 in his pocket and went on to perform on "The Tonight Show," HBO and Showtime. He also is a frequent guest performer at the White House and has made movies with Oscar-winning actors Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, and Robin Williams.

© 2003 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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