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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Feb. 19, 2003 at 5:37 PM   |   Comments

ARE YOU THE 'NEXT ACTION STAR'?

A casting call has been scheduled for March 3 in Los Angeles for people who think they are cut out to be "the next Bruce Willis, Will Smith or Angelina Jolie."

Producers of "Next Action Star" are looking for players to compete in a 10-episode reality series scheduled to premiere on NBC later this year. They plan to hold auditions in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis and New York as well.

Plans call for 12 finalists to compete on "Next Action Star" in tests of physical and psychological strength. They'll also be judged on their acting ability and star potential.

The last man and woman standing could be signed to star in a TV movie produced by Joel Silver -- best known as the producer of "The Matrix" and "Lethal Weapon" movie series. Silver is executive producer of "Next Action Star."

In addition to open calls, producers said they would also look at audition tapes they get in the mail. Wannabes can get details at nbc.com/contestant.


KATE HUDSON TO HOST OSCARS TECH AWARDS

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Kate Hudson will host the Scientific and Technical Awards on March 1 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

It will be Hudson's second appearance as a presenter at the Academy Awards.

Hudson, who currently stars in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2000 for her performance as Penny Lane in "Almost Famous." She has also appeared in "The Four Feathers" and "Dr. T and the Women." Upcoming projects include "Le Divorce" with Naomi Watts, Glenn Close and Stockard Channing and "Loosely Based on a True Love Story" with director Rob Reiner.

Hudson will appear live on the March 23 Oscar telecast to introduce taped highlights from the Sci-Tech ceremonies. The March 1 event will feature the presentation of 14 awards, including three Oscar statuettes for significant technical advances in filmmaking.


FLEETWOOD MAC GETS PRIME TIME EXPOSURE

Fleetwood Mac's upcoming album "Say You Will" gets a prime time plug on Feb. 24, when a song from the album is played on an episode of NBC's "Third Watch."

The song, "Peacekeeper," will premiere at the end of the episode, in which a rash of false alarms about police officers in danger makes it tough for the force to respond to real crises.

"Say You Will" is due in record stores in April, and Fleetwood Mac is planning to do a 40-city reunion concert tour.


STARS LINE UP FOR BAFTA

Organizers of Sunday night's BAFTA Awards in London have announced that most nominees are committed to attending.

Best actor nominees Adrien Brody, Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine and Daniel Day-Lewis have said they will be there, but Jack Nicholson sent his regrets. Best actress nominees Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Renée Zellweger have also committed, but Halle Berry had not confirmed as of Wednesday whether she would make it.

Only three of the five nominated directors -- Stephen Daldry, Rob Marshall and Martin Scorsese -- have confirmed their attendance at Sunday's ceremonies. Roman Polanski and Peter Jackson will not be there.

Four of the five nominees for supporting actress -- Toni Collette, Moore, Streep and Catherine Zeta-Jones -- are planning to make it. The fifth, Queen Latifah, will be in New York for the Grammy Awards. Only two of the supporting actor nominees, Ed Harris and Alfred Molina, are scheduled to be there.

The list of presenters includes Richard Attenborough, Jim Broadbent, Jennifer Connelly, Michael Douglas, Angelina Jolie, Ian McKellen, Tim Robbins and Kristen Scott Thomas.


ROBERT BLAKE SAYS HE DID IT FOR ROSIE

Actor and accused wife-killer Robert Blake says he did a Los Angeles County jailhouse interview with Barbara Walters for his 3-year-old daughter Rosie.

ABC let that much of the content from Monday's interview slip into the public domain Wednesday, in a press release announcing that the airdate for the interview has been moved up from Feb. 28. The jailhouse chat will now be featured on the network's news show "20/20" on Feb. 26, with more excerpts showing up on the show's Feb. 28 edition.

Blake talked with Walters for close to two and-a-half hours after Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca finally dropped his refusal to allow the Emmy-winning actor to be interviewed. Walters persuaded Baca to drop his objection after she pointed out that she had conducted interviews in the past at the jail where Blake is awaiting trial for allegedly killing Bonny Lee Bakley.

Blake's lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., said he will continue to defend Blake, even though he disagrees with his client's decision to give an on-camera interview. Mesereau said he is concerned that prosecutors will try to use Blake's public statements against him.

The 69-year-old actor -- best known as the star of the '70s cop show "Baretta" -- has pleaded not guilty to murdering Bakley in 2001 as she sat in their car outside a Los Angeles restaurant where they had just eaten. He has been held without bail since his arrest last April.


TROUBLE FOR FORMER CHILD STAR

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said that former child star Adam Rich has been charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence.

Rich, 34, became a star at 8, playing Nicholas Bradford in the ABC family comedy-drama "Eight Is Enough" (1977-81). The charge filed on Tuesday came two months after Rich was arrested in Pomona, a suburb of Los Angeles, for allegedly driving onto a closed freeway lane and nearly crashing into a parked California Highway Patrol car.

Rich was released on $2,500 bail after his Dec. 18, 2002, arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Prosecutors said they needed to wait for chemical analysis results before filing the charge.

Rich entered a drug rehabilitation program in 1992 after pleading no contest to felony burglary and drug charges in connection with an alleged theft at a hospital and a break-in at a pharmacy. Rich had previously been treated at the Betty Ford Clinic for substance abuse.

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