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Dec. 24, 2003 at 1:10 PM
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CBS may air Jackson special in January

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- CBS may air "Michael Jackson Number Ones" in January after icing the special's airing during November's U.S. television sweeps, Zap2it.com reported Wednesday.

The television show was scheduled to air Nov. 26, but was pulled from the lineup amid child molestation allegations against Jackson. Subsequently, Jackson has been charged with nine felony counts.

At the time, CBS issued a statement saying under the circumstances of the moment, showing the special would be inappropriate, but that CBS would "consider broadcasting the special after the due process of the legal system runs its course."

The Jackson retrospective could find itself on the CBS schedule as early as January, the report said.

Garner signs to stay with '8 Simple Rules'

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- James Garner has signed a deal to stay with the cast of the U.S. sitcom "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday.

Garner, who plays a grandfather to the Hennessey clan, joined the cast following the sudden death in September of John Ritter, who starred in the ABC sitcom.

Garner, a veteran TV and film actor, initially joined the show to help transition the storyline from the daily life of a busy newspaper columnist dad (Ritter) to a family who suddenly lost its patriarch.

Garner plays Grandpa Jim, the father of Katey Sagal's character, the widowed Cate Hennessy, who came to support his daughter and three teenage grandchildren as they deal with their grief and the reality of becoming a single-parent family.

Garner has been on the show since Nov. 4, the first episode without Ritter.

More to Mortensen than acting

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Viggo Mortensen, who plays the title role in "Return of the King," also is a poet, musician and published photographer, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

During interviews to promote the new installment to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Mortensen told reporters that he writes poetry, has recorded with Guns 'n' Roses' guitarist Buckethead and some of his Rings co-stars in a CD called "Pandemoniumfromamerica," and co-owns a book publishing company.

His publishing company, Perceval Press (www.percevalpress.com), publishes books from various artists, including Mortensen's own book, "Miyelo," a series of large-scale photographs of a Lakota Ghost Dance that he shot with a single roll of film in March.

To Mortensen, his varied interests generate from the same place.

"They are like branches of the same tree," he said. "They feel similar, and all have to do with being in the moment. Not just walking by and not noticing your surroundings. Once you get in the habit of, say, taking a camera with you, whether you use the camera or not, the potential that you might means you are already looking at things in a different way. It's a start, isn't it?"

'Six Days on the Road' singer Dudley dies

DANBURY, Wis., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Singer Dave Dudley, 75, best known for trucker songs such as "Six Days On The Road," has died at his Wisconsin home, CMT.com reported Wednesday.

Dudley died Monday of an apparent heart attack.

Throughout his career, Dudley charted 41 singles on the Billboard country chart, including "Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun," "There Ain't No Easy Run," "One More Mile," "Trucker's Prayer" and "Truck Driver's Waltz." He had his only No. 1 hit with "The Pool Shark," a duet with Tom T. Hall.

Dudley was instrumental in helping create the American trucker image prevalent in a number of films and TV shows during the 1970s, including "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Movin' On."

His song "Six Days on the Road" also affected a second generation of musicians, with Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Sawyer Brown, George Thorogood & the Destroyers and Steve Earle recording their own versions of the classic tune.

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