Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

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A suburban Detroit judge has sentenced former "Baywatch" star Yasmine Bleeth to two years probation on drug charges. Romulus, Mich., Judge Karen Fort Hood also ordered the actress to undergo drug screening and treatment, to pay $1,000 restitution for damage to a rental car and court fines, and to perform 100 hours of community service.


Bleeth pleaded guilty last month to cocaine possession charges. She had been stranded in the Detroit area following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when she was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and driving under the influence of narcotics. The charges were reduced in exchange for her guilty plea.

Asked what effect she thought the conviction would have on her career, Bleeth told WDIV-TV, Detroit, she hopes "it will affect it positively."


TV programming executives seem to be getting over Hollywood's initial reluctance to exploit the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and have started TV projects based on that day's events.

CBS is moving ahead on a project by Lawrence Schiller, the journalist turned producer who has produced shows on O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey murder. The program reportedly will chronicle the first reactions of government and military officials after terrorists crashed the first of two passenger jets into the World Trade Center.


"It deals with the heroes on the ground and those people who broke the rules, invented new rules, and in some instances ... had to deal with something they'd never thought they would have to deal with," Schiller told Daily Variety.

Schiller's project could lead up to the crash of United Flight 93 in a Pennsylvania field after passengers -- aware that hijackers were planning to use the plane as a bomb -- took matters into their own hands and foiled the plan.

But Schiller said he will not try to recreate the events on board the plane. "That would be an invasion of privacy," he said, "and I'm not interested in doing that."

At least two other TV projects based on the Sept. 11 attacks are in the works -- including one that would use the stories of those on Flight 93 and one that would focus on the Hamburg, Germany, terrorist cell suspected of carrying out the hijackings.


Sex, violence and the nature of existence itself are the dominant themes among this year's nominees for the top honors in the independent film world, the Independent Spirit Awards. "L.I.E." earned six nominations -- including one for best picture, and one for best male lead for veteran actor Brian Cox as a pedophile who suppresses his urges and helps a 15-year-old boy in trouble. The picture was also nominated for best director (Michael Cuesta), first screenplay (Stephen M. Ryder, Michael Cuesta & Gerald Cuesta), debut performance (Paul Franklin Dano) and supporting male (Billy Kay). "L.I.E." producers René Bastian and Linda Moran are also up for the Motorola Producers Award. "Memento," writer-director Christopher Nolan's account of a man with short-term memory loss trying to solve the rape and murder of his wife, and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," a rock musical about coping with a botched sex-change operation, took five nominations each, including best picture. The other best-picture nominees are "Things Behind the Sun," writer-director Alison Anders' semi-autobiographical story about rape, and "Waking Life," in which writer-director Richard Linklater uses animation and live-action to tell the story about one man's search to discover the difference between dreams and reality. The Independent Spirit Awards are presented each year by the west coast branch of the Independent Feature Project (IFP/West), a nonprofit group that supports filmmakers who work outside the Hollywood studio system. The 17th annual awards will be handed out in Santa Monica, Calif., on March 23 in ceremonies hosted by writer/director John Waters, best known for the bad taste classics "Pink Flamingos" and "Polyester."


The nominees:

Best feature: "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"; "L.I.E."; "Memento"; "Things Behind The Sun"; "Waking Life"

Director: Michael Cuesta ("L.I.E."); Cheryl Dunye ("Stranger Inside"); Richard Linklater ("Waking Life"); John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch"); Christopher Nolan ("Memento")

Screenplay: Milo Addica & Will Rokos ("Monster's Ball"); Henry Bean ("The Believer"); Rob Festinger & Todd Field ("In The Bedroom"); Richard Linklater ("Waking Life"); Christopher Nolan ("Memento")

First feature (Award given to the Director): "The Anniversary Party" (Directors, Jennifer Jason Leigh & Alan Cumming); "The Believer" (Director, Henry Bean); "Donnie Darko" (Director, Richard Kelly); "Ghost World" (Director, Terry Zwigoff); "In The Bedroom" (Director, Todd Field)

First screenplay: "Ghost World" (Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff); "Donnie Darko" (Richard Kelly); "The Anniversary Party" (Jennifer Jason Leigh & Alan Cumming); "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (John Cameron Mitchell); "L.I.E." (Stephen M. Ryder, Michael Cuesta & Gerald Cuesta)

John Cassavetes Award (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000): "Acts of Worship"; "Jackpot"; "Kaaterskill Falls"; "Punks"; "Virgil Bliss"

Debut performance: Paul Franklin Dano ("L.I.E."); Ana Reeder ("Acts of Worship"); Clint Jordan ("Virgil Bliss"); Yolonda Ross ("Stranger Inside"); ensemble of Hilary Howard, Anthony Leslie, Mitchell Riggs ("Kaaterskill Falls")


Supporting female: Davenia McFadden ("Stranger Inside"); Carrie-Anne Moss ("Memento"); Summer Phoenix ("The Believer"); Tamara Tunie ("The Caveman's Valentine"); Uma Thurman ("Tape")

Supporting male: Steve Buscemi ("Ghost World"); Don Cheadle ("Things Behind The Sun"); Billy Kay ("L.I.E."); Garrett Morris ("Jackpot"); John C. Reilly ("The Anniversary Party")

Female lead: Kim Dickens ("Things Behind the Sun"); Molly Parker ("The Center of the World"); Sissy Spacek ("In the Bedroom"); Tilda Swinton ("The Deep End"); Kerry Washington ("Lift")

Male lead: Brian Cox ("L.I.E."); Ryan Gosling ("The Believer"); Jake Gyllenhaal ("Donnie Darko"); John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch"); Tom Wilkinson ("In The Bedroom")

Cinematography: Frank G. DeMarco ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch"); Peter Deming ("Mulholland Drive"); W. Mott Hupfel III ("The American Astronaut"); Giles Nuttgens ("The Deep End"); Wally Pfister ("Memento")

Foreign film (Award given to the director): "Amélie" (Director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet); "Amores Perros" (Director, Alejandro González Iñárritu); "Lumumba" (Director, Raoul Peck); "Sexy Beast" (Director, Jonathan Glazer); "Together" (Director, Lukas Moodysson)


Documentary (Award given to the director): "Dogtown and Z-Boys" (Director, Stacy Peralta); "Go Tigers!" (Director, Kenneth A. Carlson); "Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton" (Directors, Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson, Albert Maysles); "Promises" (Directors, Justine Shapiro, B.Z. Goldberg, Carlos Bolado); "Scratch" (Director, Doug Pray)

Someone to Watch Award: Debra Eisenstadt, director, "Daydream Believer"; DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter, directors, "Lift"; Michael Gilio, director, "Kwik Stop"; David Maquiling, director, "Too Much Sleep"

Direct/TV Truer Than Fiction Award: Edet Belzberg, "Children Underground"; Sandi Simcha Dubowski, "Trembling Before G-d"; B.Z. Goldberg, Carlos Bolado and Justine Shapiro, "Promises"; Alix Lambert, "The Mark of Cain"; Monteith McCollum, "Hybrid"

Motorola Producers Award: René Bastian and Linda Moran, producers, "Martin and Orloff" and "L.I.E."; Adrienne Gruben, producer, "Treasure Island" and "Olympia"; Jasmine Kosovic, producer, "Just One Time" and "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole"; Nadia Leonelli, producer, "Acts of Worship" and "Perfume"

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


Carrie Fisher returns with some of Hollywood's biggest stars in Oxygen's "Conversations From The Edge With Carrie Fisher," beginning Jan. 30 (at 10 p.m. ET).

Formerly titled "Man Talk With Carrie Fisher," the series of specials kicks off the New Year by delving into the mind of the man who has taken millions of people to the edge of the universe, "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. Oxygen will air four of the one-hour talk shows in 2002, which marks Ms. Fisher's first venture into series television.


Future episodes will feature Melanie Griffith and singer/actress Courtney Love. Last fall, the show made its debut on Oxygen when Fisher interviewed Ben Affleck.


Pam Grier hosts a 13-part documentary about female law enforcement officers that debuts Jan. 27 (at 8 p.m. ET) on the Oxygen cable TV network.

"Women & The Badge," a weekly documentary show shot exclusively on digital video, covers all aspects of the lives of these female officers. Former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir, who spent 13 years as Chief of Operations of the U.S. Marshals Service, serves as consultant to the series that interweaves ongoing stories about women who follow similar careers in federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Grier starred in the Quentin Tarantino film "Jackie Brown," as well as "Foxy Brown" and "Greased Lightning."

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