News from the entertainment capital

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Dec. 6, 2001 at 5:20 PM
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Producers have announced an all-star line up of presenters for the 29th annual American Music Awards, including Cedric The Entertainer, Melissa Etheridge, Nelly Furtado, Ginuwine, Ja Rule, Alicia Keys, Master P. with his son Lil' Romeo, "Malcolm In The Middle's" Frankie Muniz, Nelly, LeAnn Rimes, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, SHeDAISY, Tyrese and Luther Vandross.

The list of presenters also includes India.Arie, Blu Cantrell, actor Chris Klein, Lifehouse, Ludacris, Method Man, Jamie O'Neal, O-Town, Redman, supermodel Niki Taylor and Trick Pony.

Producers previously announced that Brooks & Dunn, Cher, Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Shaggy and Yolanda Adams would perform at the awards ceremonies in Los Angeles on Jan. 9. The show will be televised over ABC.


Actor Wilford Brimley has canceled several upcoming appearances due to pneumonia.

The 67-year-old star of "Cocoon," "The China Syndrome" and "Absence of Malice" canceled performances scheduled for this weekend in Great Falls, Mont., at which he was to have sung and read narration with the local symphony orchestra and chorus.


Steve Irwin -- best known for his Animal Planet show, "The Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files," is making a feature for MGM, according to Daily Variety.

The paper reported that details of the shoot in and around Brisbane, Australia, are a carefully guarded secret -- but the script reportedly deals with details of Irwin's youth, when he was responsible for the care and feeding of crocodiles at the Queensland Reptile & Fauna Park after his family took over the park's operation.


John Logan -- who co-wrote "Gladiator" with David Franzoni -- has signed on to write the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's planned movie about President Abraham Lincoln.

Spielberg is collaborating with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on the project -- which reportedly will focus on Lincoln's conduct of the Civil War. Goodwin is currently working on a biography of the 16th president.

Logan will also write a screenplay based on the exploits of a team of Allied commandos in World War II who fought German troops in Greece and took refuge among Eastern Orthodox monks.


Cedric the Entertainer ("Kingdom Come," "Big Momma's House," "The Steve Harvey Show") has signed a deal with Fox to star in a TV series designed to be a blend of sketch comedy and convention half-hour comedy.

The format is being compared to that of the old "Cavalcade of Stars" on the DuMont network from 1949-1952, in which Jackie Gleason introduced TV audiences to his array of characters -- including The Bachelor, Reggie Van Gleason, Joe the Bartender and Ralph Kramden.

The "Honeymooners" sketches, featuring Kramden and his wife Alice, were a regular feature on "Cavalcade" before morphing into the legendary TV comedy of the same name.


Destiny's Child is taking a break, but the individual members of the Grammy-winning trio are staying busy.

Beyoncé Knowles told E! Entertainment that she and her mates -- Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams -- still plan to tour Europe, but the tour has been put off until 2002 because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She said Destiny's Child will "still be together in five years' time."

Knowles is working on a solo album, and is scheduled to play Foxy Cleopatra in "Austin Powers in Goldmember" -- the third in the series of Mike Myers' movies about the groovy, time-traveling international super spy.

Williams is at work on a gospel album, while Rowland is said to be thinking about doing an alternative R&B project.


Nicolas Cage reportedly has settled on a project for his feature film directorial debut -- a drama about a man who inherits the family prostitution business.

Cage reportedly wants Wes Bentley ("American Beauty," "Soul Survivors") to play the young man, who pleasures rich women clients until a younger woman rescues him from his situation.


Elton John recently told a concert audience that he is through recording -- or will be soon -- but he has taken it back.

Sir Elton was being interviewed this week on the syndicated radio show, "Live from the Lounge," when he said he didn't really mean it when he said his new album, "Songs from the West Coast," would be his last.

He said he was "just having a bad day" when he announced his retirement, during a rant about how awful the music business has become.

"I love playing so much," said the 54-year-old pop icon. "I'll probably make another record."

However, John said he might cut back on the touring in order to spend more time with his partner, David Furnish.


"Ali" and "The Steve Harvey Show" led the field when nominations were announced this week for the 33rd annual NAACP Image Awards.

"Ali" -- starring Will Smith as the legendary boxing champion -- received four nominations, including one for outstanding motion picture and a best actor nomination for Smith.

"Baby Boy" -- writer-director John Singleton's tale of a young black man living with his mother, even though he has a child of his own -- was also nominated for best picture. Its star, singer Tyrese Gibson, was nominated for best actor.

The other nominees for outstanding motion picture are "The Brothers," "Rush Hour 2" and "Training Day." The other nominees for best actor are Morgan Freeman ("Along Came a Spider"), Chris Tucker ("Rush Hour 2") and Denzel Washington ("Training Day").

The nominees for best actress are Halle Berry ("Swordfish"), Vivica A. Fox ("Two Can Play That Game"), Whoopi Goldberg ("Kingdom Come"), Regina King ("Down to Earth") and Alfre Woodard ("K-PAX").

"The Steve Harvey Show" was nominated for outstanding TV comedy series. Harvey and his co-star, Wendy Raquel Robinson, are nominated for best actor and actress. Cast members Cedric The Entertainer, Merlin Santana and Terri J. Vaughn are up for best supporting actor and actress awards.

The other nominees for outstanding TV comedy are "The Bernie Mac Show" (Fox), "Girlfriends" (UPN) "The Hughleys" (ABC) and "My Wife & Kids" (ABC).

The other nominees for best comedy actor are Mac, Hughley, Damon Wayans ("My Wife and Kids") and Michael Boatman (HBO's "Arli$$"). The other nominees for outstanding comedy actress are Tracee Ellis Ross ("Girlfriends"), Mo'Nique ("The Parkers"), Holly Robinson Peete ("For Your Love") and Tisha Campbell-Martin ("My Wife and Kids").

Showtime's "Soul Food" received six nominations including one for outstanding TV drama. The other nominees in that category are "Any Day Now" (Lifetime), "ER" (NBC), "Boston Public" (Fox) and "The Practice" (ABC).


NBC has announced a three-year deal with Discovery Networks, U.S., to air programming content created by Discovery Kids during its Saturday morning block (10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ET).

The programming will begin airing in the fourth quarter of the 2002-03 season, according to a statement by the networks on Thursday.

"This is a strategic move to keep NBC competitive in the kids arena," said Scott Sassa, NBC's West Coast president of programming. "Discovery has a tremendous reputation creating quality programs."

The networks said details about program content and the exact launch date will be announced later date. The statement said the new programming block "will continue to meet FCC guidelines for educational and informational children's programming."

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