HONORS FOR BONO
The Recording Academy announced Monday that U2 frontman Bono will be honored as its 2003 MusiCares Person of the Year, in recognition of his work as a Grammy-winning musician and as a humanitarian.
MusiCares is the Recording Academy's major charity effort on behalf of musicians.
"Bono is a living symbol of what the MusiCares Foundation and the Recording Academy stand for," said academy chairman Garth Fundis. "His musical accomplishments are matched only by his endeavors to affect positive change on the human condition worldwide."
Since their first release in 1980, U2 have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and won 14 Grammys -- including seven over the past two years for their most recent release, "All That You Can't Leave Behind."
Bono has been a high-profile supporter of the International Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt Campaign, intended to persuade debtors to forgive unpaid debts of the world's poorest countries. He has also used his fame to bring media attention to other issues, including poverty and AIDS in Africa.
Bono will pick up the Recording Academy prize at a dinner, concert and silent auction in New York on Feb. 21, 2003. The 45th Annual Grammy Awards are scheduled for Feb. 23 at Madison Square Garden.
American moviegoers had a healthy appetite for another helping of Hannibal Lechter over the weekend, spending an estimated $37.5 million to see the opening of "Red Dragon" -- the fourth feature about novelist Thomas Harris' grisly monster-hero.
"Sweet Home Alabama" finished second in its second weekend in release with $21.6 million, and appears to be on track to give Reese Witherspoon the biggest hit of her career so far. The new Jackie Chan action-comedy "The Tuxedo" took in $10.1 million in its second weekend, good for third place.
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" finished fourth with $8.5 million in its 25th weekend, and ran its overall total to $148 million -- making it the highest-grossing independent film ever. The record previously belonged to "The Blair Witch Project" with $140.5 million.
The story of a young Greek-American woman who learns a new appreciation for her heritage has out-performed such big-budget Hollywood releases as "Minority Report," "Road to Perdition" and "XXX."
"Barbershop" took another $6.8 million off the top, finishing at No. 5 and running its four-weekend gross to $60.2 million. The new Bible-based animated feature, "Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie," took in $6.5 million in just 940 theaters to finish sixth.
After a lull over the final stages of the summer movie season, the U.S. box office has shown signs of new vitality over the past two weeks. This weekend's overall grosses of $111 million represented an increase of 20 percent over the same weekend of 2001.
Year to date, the box office has taken in $6.84 billion, and is running 13 percent of last year's pace.
'ER' TURNOVER JUST ABOUT COMPLETE
Noah Wyle sounds like he's about ready to leave the cast of "ER," which would make him the last of the show's original cast members to leave the show.
Wyle told TV Guide he feels the call to move on, after so many years in the same role on the same project.
"I think most actors are born with a drop of gypsy blood," said Wyle, "in that they like to be jacks-of-all-trades but masters of none. And I've been sort of a master of this one trade for a very long time. So the need to do something different is definitely growing within me."
Wyle also noted that "there have been a lot juicier roles on the show" than his character -- Dr. John Carter -- even though the character has survived such personal crises as a stabbing and a drug problem. He said Carter was a "utility player that you can plug into anybody else's storyline."
Fans of the actor may be relieved to know that he intends to stay with the show through the 2003-04 season.
'EVERWOOD' SCORES A HIT
The WB has ordered nine more episodes of the new drama series "Everwood," and plans to give it a full season in its freshman year.
"Everwood" -- starring Treat Williams as a widowed brain surgeon from New York who moves his two children to the small town of Everwood, Colo. -- is one of a handful of dramas that have turned in strong performances on The WB's primetime schedule. "Smallville," now in its second season, and "7th Heaven," now entering its seventh season on the air, led The WB to premiere week ratings well above the numbers posted during the same week in 2001.
GEOFFREY RUSH WILL TAKE ON SELLERS
Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush ("Shine," "Shakespeare in Love") will star as the late comic genius Peter Sellers in the upcoming HBO movie "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers."
The screenplay is based on the book of the same name by Roger Lewis, who observed that "the intensity and excitement of his imagination" not only made Sellers "an artist on the grand scale," it also made him mad.
Sellers -- who died of a heart attack at 54 in 1980 -- was best known for the "Pink Panther" movies in which he played the clueless police inspector Jacques Clouseau. He also memorably played three characters -- Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley and Dr. Strangelove -- in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 satire "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."
Ed O'Neill ("Big Apple," "Married ... with Children") has joined the cast of the upcoming TV remake of "Dragnet," playing the role that made Jack Webb a Hollywood icon -- Joe Friday.
O'Neill replaces Danny Huston, who left the show last week. Ethan Embry ("Sweet Home Alabama," "Disturbing Behavior") plays Friday's partner, Frank Smith.
The new series is scheduled to premiere on ABC in January.