Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  July 16, 2002 at 3:00 PM
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Michael J. Fox says he's a big fan of "American Idol," the Fox-TV show that parades show business wannabes before a panel of judges who feel free to tear into the contestants with degrading and humiliating critiques of their talent.

The most derisive comments typically come from judge Simon Cowell, who has become a star in his own rite on the show. Fox told "Access Hollywood" he doesn't actually enjoy the performers -- he just thinks Cowell is great.

"I don't even necessarily listen to the performances because it's not really my type of music that I like" said Fox, "and you know, the chance of some 2002 version of the Clash coming in or Elvis Costello, it's not gonna happen."

Speaking with "Access Hollywood's" Pat O'Brien at a benefit for Parkinson's disease that O'Brien hosted, Fox said his voiceover gig in the upcoming movie "Stuart Little 2" was an ideal job for him, since he is afflicted with the disease.

"I don't have to worry really about putting myself together and, you know, timing medication necessarily or any of that stuff," said Fox.


Daryl "Chill" Mitchell ("Veronica's Closet," "Galaxy Quest") -- who was paralyzed from the mid-chest down in a motorcycle crash in November 2001 -- has lined up his first acting gig as a paraplegic character.

Mitchell has joined the cast of the NBC series "Ed," as Eli -- the new manager of the bowling alley Stuckeybowl.

The Bronx-born actor has mainly done voiceover work since his accident. He's due in theaters July 26 as part of the voice cast of the Disney comedy "The Country Bears" -- which he finished before the crash.


Jim Carrey and Garry Shandling have joined the voice cast of "Over the Hedge," a DreamWorks animated feature based on the comic strip by Michael Fry and T Lewis.

Carrey will do the voice for R.J., the mischievous, scheming raccoon who shares center stage in the strip with Verne, an allergy-prone, philosophical turtle, who will be voiced by Shandling.


Speculation that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences might hand out the Oscars one month earlier than usual in 2004 is causing other award shows to reconsider their scheduling.

On Monday, there was a report that the British Academy of Film and Television Arts would likely move its awards up as well, and now there is word that the Recording Academy would also consider moving the Grammy Awards, if the Oscars are moved from March to February.

Typically, the Grammys have been televised on CBS on the last Wednesday of the February sweeps -- but the Recording Academy and the network recently announced their intention to hold the event on a Sunday next year. CBS boss Les Moonves told TV writers in Pasadena, Calif. this week that if ABC has the Oscars at the end of February, the Grammys will probably move to the first Sunday of the month.


Producers of the upcoming 4th Annual Family Television Awards announced Tuesday that SHeDAISY will perform at the ceremony on July 31 in Beverly Hills, Calif., with Tom Bergeron ("Hollywood Squares," "America's Funniest Home Videos") as host.

The Family Television Awards are a project of the Family Friendly Programming Forum, a group of more than 40 major national advertisers -- all members of the Association of National Advertisers -- that was formed to promote family-friendly programming on the TV networks.

The line-up of presenters for the awards show includes John Ritter ("Three's Company," "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter"), Tim Curry ("Family Affair") and George Lopez ("The George Lopez Show").

The ceremony will be taped for broadcast over ABC on Aug. 9.


Don Rickles has signed a new deal to appear at the Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas through the end of 2003.

The veteran comedian, known for his sometimes caustic insult humor, has been a headliner in Vegas for close to 40 years.

"I am ... delighted to be spending an additional year at the Stardust," said Rickles in a statement issued by his publicist, "but I'm getting pretty exhausted from having to wash Wayne Newton's car."

Newton is the Stardust's artist-in-residence.


Jack Black ("Shallow Hal," "High Fidelity") will star in "School of Rock," a comedy about a musician who shakes things up at a private where he works as a substitute teacher.

Black is currently filming "Envy," a black comedy starring Ben Stiller, with director Barry Levinson ("Bandits," Wag the Dog").


Martin Lawrence is reportedly planning a movie built around a minor character he came up with for the 1999 comedy "Blue Streak" -- a pizza delivery man who was actually a disguise for the movie's main character as he tried to infiltrate a police station.

Dennis Dugan, who just finished directing Lawrence's upcoming movie "National Security," told Daily Variety that he and Lawrence have come up with a story for the character -- whose name is Ghetto Buck.

"Martin has been honing that character for years and has always wanted to make a feature with him," said Dugan. "Ghetto Buck is this sweet-natured guy who, through a variety of circumstances, becomes a media celebrity and gets swept up in the hype."

"National Security," co-starring Steve Zahn and Eric Roberts, is set to open in January.

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