MCBEAL CAST GETTING PINK SLIPS
Nothing lasts forever and the cast of the Fox series "Ally McBeal" has been the latest to face cancellation and the end of a highly successful run. McBeal, starring Calista Flockhart, has had a very lucrative run and has won a slew of Emmy Awards ... 26 in all. The show -- immensely popular at first but now the network's fifth rated program -- was nearly scuttled when one of its major stars, Robert Downey Jr., ran into "personal problems." Daily Variety says that the decision to pull the plug on "McBeal" was not totally unexpected. The driving force behind the program, David E. Kelly, has been wanting to focus all of his energies on a new program, "The Girls Club," another hour-long show that will air on Fox.
MATT DAMON NOT WELCOME EVERYWHERE
The British press is making big hay about a recent event in a London pub. The London Evening Standard is reporting that popular star Matt Damon recently showed up at the Ivy Restaurant in the city's popular West End district. Not only did Damon walk in but he brought a cadre of friends with him, including Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix. Damon apparently didn't realize that the place is so popular that it has a six-month waiting list! After being told that he could not just walk in anytime he wanted, the star reportedly tried to "sweet-talk his way in." No dice. The restaurant told the party of nine to wait in line ... for months ... as everyone else has to do.
GIRL HONORED IN COUNTRY SONG DIES
Last year country's Billy Gilman performed a song called "Elisabeth" at the Texas State Fair. The lyric, in part, read: "Elisabeth, you make the world a better place." The song had been written by the girl's aunt and songwriter Kim Patton Johnson. They had written the song to cheer the girl who had suffered since the age of three with neurfibromatosis. Not only did Gilman like the song, but he eventually made a trip to a Dallas hospital to visit Elisabeth Reed Wagner in her room. Now, according to CMT, Elisabeth has died of complications from cancer. She was only 21. The family is requesting that contributions be made to a special scholarship fund in care of the state's neurofibromatosis foundation.
IT'S THE AGE OF THE ONE-PERSON SHOW
In recent years more and more actors and actresses have tried their hand at a solo performance. Among the most honored has been venerable Elaine Stritch. But, according to columnist Liz Smith, Kevin Bacon, John Leguizamo, Bea Arthur, Charles Nelson Reilly and Barbara Cook have delighted audiences with one-person shows. All of them have been nominated for special awards either by the Tony Awards people or the Outer Circle Critics group. Smith says that Stritch's performance is by no means a shoo-in, but many are putting their money on Elaine's chances of being a multiple winner. Stritch, who sings and acts her way through a two-hour monologue about her turbulent life, was recently the subject of a "60 Minutes" report. Her run on Broadway ends on May 26.
PHOTOGRAPHER SNAPS AWAY IN NASHVILLE
Noted celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz has "invaded" Nashville to snap as many shots of country stars as she can for an upcoming book. Among singers and entertainers who have already agreed to sit for photo sessions are George Jones, Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch. The news provider country.com says that some of her initial photos will appear in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. Stanley was the subject of a recent major photo review taken at the estate of the late bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe. Leibovitz will also be going to several country and bluegrass events, including a major "roots music" festival planned for Coeburn, Va. Her early fame was the result of some memorable photos for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
CAST MEMBERS BOLT: SCRIPT TOO BAWDY
All but two of the cast members of a Texas production of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" have walked off the set, claiming that they object to some of the strong language in the script. The Houston Chronicle says a group called the Crighton Players in Conroe, Texas, was rehearsing the musical, based on a real-life confrontation between a Texas sheriff and a TV reporter 35 years ago. The movie version starred Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds. The board of directors of the musical company says that it may be necessary to cancel opening night, scheduled for May 31. The play had been earmarked as an "adult" show and season patrons were told that they could get a refund if they chose not to attend. Additionally, several people in Conroe objected to the casting of a few local teenage girls as prostitutes at the notorious Chicken Ranch, the bordello that is the centerpiece of the plot.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTON NO. 313
I just got finished installing a color camera behind the drapes of my "dark as night" office in order to get some sense of the outside. Although, except for an occasional windstorm, one day looks like the next here in Las Vegas. So, today's question: "Do you have any surveillance cameras or other monitoring equipment in your home or apartment?" Put CAMERA in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 308 (HICCUPS)
Last week we asked if have a great cure for hiccups. Here are some of the replies: About 80 percent of respondents mentioned that the old tried-and-true method of holding your breath as long as possible still works. JDJ has a unique cure ... peanut butter. I'll have to try that since I love peanut butter so much. Pam takes a note from Mary Poppin's notebook and suggests "a spoon full of sugar." Take it DRY, she say. The cure was passed down in her family through generations. Anne agrees with the sugar gimmick as well. Karen C, who is a childcare provider, also says that sugar works well. Jennvelope (cute nickname) says "Drink from the other side of the glass." Alison goes one step further, asking someone to tightly cover her ears while she drinks a full glass of water. Ali goes even further, drinking from the other side of the glass while turning your head upside down. Now that I have to see! TOMORROW: Your favorite cartoon characters. GBA.