The excitement generated over "Chicago" could mean the time is right for a redo of the classic "Guys and Dolls," with a modern cast. The speculation in that direction is being prompted, according to gossip columnist Liz Smith, by reports that Vin Diesel and Miramax have been talking about reviving the Damon Runyon story. Meanwhile, rights to the plot are being negotiated with Runyon's estate. Of concern to "entertainment purists" is the news that the plot will be moved into modern times, shucking the original story of the Salvation Army vs. gambling and evil. Diesel would play Nathan Detroit, the part played by Frank Sinatra in the 1955 movie. (Others in the cast included Jean Simmons as Sarah Brown and a singing Marlin Brando as Sky Masterson. Half the fun of the colorful movie was seeing Brando sing.) Although there are not reports about who will play the Brando part, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez have been mentioned as local choices to play the Simmons role of the "reformer." Additionally, Smith suggests that Madonna should not be left out of consideration.
TRACY MORGAN HEADED FOR HIS OWN SITCOM
NBC is developing a comedy that would feature "Saturday Night Live" star Tracy Morgan in a blue-collar scenario. According to Variety, Morgan could become the latest star of the popular series to break out and go it alone. The writer picked to develop the TV show, David M. Israel, tells the publication that Tracy's magic is that it just "comes right out of him." Tracy had humble beginnings on the streets of New York. By the way, the driving force behind "SNL," Lorne Michaels, is involved in the Morgan program. He will be the new show's executive producer.
BOB DYLAN, NOT YOUR NORMAL ROCK STAR
Amid all the reports that some mega-stars want a zillion perks in their dressing rooms, Bob Dylan leads a Spartan life. Dylan, according to the New York Post, is a "low maintenance" kind of guy. The musical icon's demands seem to be simple, considering what he could ask for if he wanted to throw his reputation around. During a recent tour of Australia Dylan asked only for the following: Clean towels, a bar of soap, a full-length mirror, a banquet table, two ashtrays and incandescent lighting. Published reports in Melbourne say that Dylan is low-key and undemanding when it comes to his accommodations and entourage.
TERRI CLARK RETURNS TO NASHVILLE ROOTS
Popular singer Terry Clark is packing them into Music City, returning to the nightspot from which she launched her career. Clark played to a full house this week when she returned to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. The "honky tonk" is in downtown Nashville. During her time on stage, Clark held forth with a combination of her own hits and several longtime classics. Country Music Television says that among her favorite songs is Sippie Wallace's "Love Me Like a Man." The singer tells the cable network that, like many entertainers, it's only when she's on stage that she really feels alive. The excitement, she says, comes when she looks "into their faces, seeing those people singing along." Clark says it was tough to end her musical set. She reports she was so "wrapped up" in the night, it was difficult to say "good night."
HOW CRUEL CAN YOU GET?
A British TV show takes average women and gives them a makeover ... whether they like it or not. The show, on the British Broadcast Corp., is called "What Not to Wear." And, according to CNN, the technique used by producers is downright "brutal." On the positive side, the woman picked to "have her world turned around" is given $3,000 in new clothes. The series works like this: TV crews focus on a woman and follow her in public places. The videotape footage is then edited and a narration is placed over it, showing -- from the standpoint of the experts -- with the woman is doing wrong and how she can look better were she to clean up her act. The hosts tell the cable news network that they think that the average woman will enjoy the show. They also say that they hope to show that woman can look great without losing weight or having plastic surgery by simply changing her wardrobe. Some hints: Use colors to enhance your image, never wear leather and watch for unsightly "lines." BBC American will begin the air the show in the country on Tuesday nights.
VINCE GILL LOVES TO WORK THE AUDIENCE
One of the great things about seeing Vince Gill in person is the way he uses the time between songs to talk to the audience. During a recent session at the Exit/In in Nashville, Gill -- currently on his Back 2 Basics tour -- took time to talk to those in the audience about his music and his career. He even talked about his gospel-singing wife Amy Grant, noting that "she's the jealous type." At one point, Gill told the audience that his singing that night might be suffering a little bit because he was "under the weather." He then turned to the audience and asked: "Is there a doctor in the house?" He also talked about his two daughters, one in college and one age 2. "You should have a kid at least every 20 years," he told the crowd. He also confided in the crowd that his ultimate goal is to sell more albums than Garth Brooks and the Beatles.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 510
Today we're asking: "Are you a fan of the soap operas? Any you have followed for a long time?" Put SOAP in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 505 (RODEO)
Last week we asked if you've ever participated in a rodeo or "Wild West" event. From a random dip into the e-mail inbox here are the results: Though none of the respondents said they have ever taken part, several noted that they liked watching rodeo events on cable TV as more and more of it is being publicized. Additionally, RandyM4 says that he is amazed at how popular the sport is in some parts of the country. "I lettered in basketball," he noted, "but I can't believe you can get a letter for wrestling a calf to the ground." NEXT: Back with more. GBA