News from the entertainment capital

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Dec. 20, 2001 at 7:40 PM
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Much of the coverage of the Golden Globe Awards focuses on the movie nominations, since the awards have come to be seen as an indicator of Oscar potential, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association also gives out Golden Globe Awards for TV shows -- and HBO dominated the proceedings when the nominations were announced Thursday.

The cable network received nominations for best drama series ("The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under") and best musical or comedy series ("Sex and the City").

"Sopranos" stars James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco and Edie Falco received acting nominations, as did "Six Feet Under" stars Peter Krause and Rachel Griffiths. "Sex and the City" stars Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett also received acting nominations.

NBC also scored big, with a best drama series nomination for "The West Wing" and best musical or comedy nominations for "Frasier," "Friends" and "Will & Grace."

The other nominees for best drama are "24" (Fox), "Alias" (ABC) and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS). "Ally McBeal" (Fox) took the remaining nomination for best musical or comedy series.

All four stars of "Will & Grace" -- Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes -- received acting nominations. Three members of the "West Wing" cast -- Martin Sheen, Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford -- were nominated for Golden Globes.

The HBO World War II series "Band of Brothers" was nominated for best miniseries. Two of its stars, Damian Lewis and Ron Livingston, were nominated for acting awards.


According to published reports, NBC has agreed to pay "Today" show star Katie Couric in the neighborhood of $60 million to stay with the show for 4 1/2 more years -- making her perhaps the highest-paid TV news professional in history.

"She's in that league and she belongs there," said NBC president Andrew Lack.

"If NBC thinks it's fair, I think it's fair," said Couric.

She's reportedly pulling down $5 million to $7 million a year under. The deal reportedly calls for Couric to receive a combination of cash and a piece of the action -- stock in the network's parent company, General Electric.


According to a report in Daily Variety, former "X-Files" star David Duchovny is producing a half-hour reality-based series for TNT built around one of the loves of his life -- basketball.

The network has signed a deal with Duchovny's production company, Toy Plane Industries, for the show -- in which two young men in New York City rely on their game to work their way across the United States getting into pickup games along the way. They earn their money betting on their games -- which is intended to motivate them to play their hardest.

TNN general manager Diane Robina told Variety she hopes the show will pack some humor too -- "along the lines of 'White Men Can't Jump.'"

Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson starred in the 1992 sports-comedy about a pair of basketball hustlers who try to make a living on the courts of Los Angeles.


According to gossip columnist Mitchell Fink, Tom Hanks has come to the rescue of an exhibition at the Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space, helping the center out of a financial jam.

Hanks -- who narrates a space show at the center's Hayden Planetarium -- reportedly bought a series of photographs that have been hanging in the Center since March 2000, then turned around and donated the pictures to the museum.

The series -- titled "Full Moon: Apollo Mission Photographs of the Lunar Landscape" -- had been on loan to the center and was due to be returned, when the two-time Oscar-winning actor ("Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump") reached into his pocket to keep the 60 photographs where they are.

The show Hanks narrates is due to be replaced soon with one about the search for life elsewhere in the universe.


Julia Roberts is No. 1 in a new Harris poll of America's favorite movie stars.

It's the first time in the 11-year history of the poll that a woman finished at the top of the list.

The Oscar-winning star of "Erin Brockovich" and "Pretty Woman" finished ahead of Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and Sean Connery. She finished first among women polled and among Latinos, and tied for first with Ford among those age 18-29.

Denzel Washington ("Training Day," "Remember the Titans") finished eighth overall, but he was tops among blacks responding to the poll.


Legendary heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali provided some crowd-pleasing moments Thursday at the Louisville premiere of "Ali," the movie of his life starring Will Smith.

Ali was born in Louisville in 1942, and grew up in the West End -- where the movie was screened at the Broadway Cinemas five days before it is scheduled to be released nationwide.

"It's good to be back home," said Ali as he emerged from a limousine and greeted fans before going inside the theater.

The premiere attracted a crowd of several hundred, many of whom paid $50 for the thrill.

Proceeds were earmarked for the Muhammad Ali Center. The $60 million facility, scheduled to open in 2004 in downtown Louisville, will celebrate Ali's professional career and humanitarian efforts.

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