Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International


The Screen Actors Guild National Elections Committee has thrown out the results of the union's recent election of top officers because of irregularities in the way balloting was conducted.


The panel ordered that the election of SAG's president, recording secretary and treasurer be rerun "promptly," with ballots mailed to SAG members on or before March 15, and a cut-off for receipt of ballots in Los Angeles no later than April 10. The panel -- chaired by Fred Savage, best known as the star of the TV series "The Wonder Years" -- said its decision is the last word in the matter.

The ruling follows an investigation by the committee -- which supervises SAG elections -- into 20 formal challenges to the election results. The two major complaints alleged that last October's election was marred because voters in the union's New York branch had two more days than voters elsewhere to return their mail-in ballots, and because ballots used by voters in New York were different from those used everywhere else.


Two of the challenges were filed by candidates who won election to national office -- Elliot Gould (Recording Secretary) and Kent McCord (Treasurer).

Melissa Gilbert -- who has already been sworn in as the new SAG president -- won the disputed election, beating Valerie Harper in the mail-in balloting conducted in October 2001.

Placing the blame for the faulty election squarely on SAG senior staff and Sequoia Voting Systems, a private firm that has administered the union's elections for years, the elections committee called the candidates "innocent victims."

The order only affects the election results for the union's top three national officers. The election of 12 national vice presidents will stand because those elections were conducted at the branch level, not nationally.


Oscar-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg will host the 74th Annual Academy Awards telecast on March 24, telecast producer Laura Ziskin announced Tuesday.

"Whoopi has great warmth, wit, humor, humanity and a social conscience," said Ziskind, "all qualities that I feel are essential for this year's show."

Goldberg, who won the supporting actress award in 1990 for "Ghost," has hosted the awards telecast three times -- in 1993, 1995 and 1998. She earned Emmy nominations in 1993 and 1995.


"I'm delighted to have been asked to once again host the Academy Awards," the actress said. "It'll be the first broadcast done from Oscar's new home (the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood) and I love a housewarming."

Goldberg's selection ends the annual suspense as to who will host the Academy Awards show. Steve Martin received good marks from critics when he hosted last year, and Billy Crystal became one of the most popular Oscar show emcees ever when he handled the chore several times during the 1990s.

(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


Bob Barker -- the long-time host of "The Price is Right," one of the most popular audience participation programs in the history of television -- will be taping the 30th anniversary broadcast of the series in Las Vegas.

The Review-Journal confirms that Barker and his production team will be setting up in the Rio's Samba Theater in the coming weeks for the broadcast, which will be recorded on Jan. 17. The publication says it will be the program's first-ever non-Hollywood taping.

Some 900 tickets to the show will be made available, but only on the morning of the broadcast at the casino's main box office. They will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.


(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)


Dionne Warwick, Frankie Valli, Pat Boone, Mary Wilson, Martha Reeves, James Darren, Gary Lewis, Little Anthony, Sheena Easton, Mark Lindsay, Ronnie Spector, Freddy Cannon, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., Gary Puckett, Lou Christie, Gary "U.S." Bonds, Lesley Gore and Mitch Ryder literally have lent their "names" to one of the world's oldest charities, Helen Keller Worldwide. Each has autographed a collector's edition vintage 1959 Continental 2 Stereo jukebox and autograph book, which will be auctioned off on Jan. 10-20. All proceeds will benefit Helen Keller Worldwide, whose New York headquarters located adjacent to the World Trade Center were completely destroyed on Sept. 11.

The music legends will also test their tic-tac-toe skills by appearing this week on the syndicated "Hollywood Squares" TV game show.

"Taping Hollywood Squares 'Classic TV Week' was one of the highlights of my year," said Lesley Gore. "I was born a New Yorker and have lived in New York most of my life, so the 9/11 tragedy hit close to home. I am proud to have my name on any item that will benefit Helen Keller Worldwide. I hope that this jukebox, a symbol of the music of the 50's and 60's, raises a lot of money so that the foundation can re-establish its New York offices and continue its valuable work."


"Jukeboxes like this were my home for the first 10 years of my career," said Pat Boone. "I am glad my name and music are a part of it, and that it can benefit others."

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