By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Dec. 12, 2002 at 5:37 PM
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The family of the late entertainment and news giant Roone Arledge is mulling over a huge manuscript that he prepared as a memoir, giving final approval before its eventual publication. And, according to the New York Post, Arledge fought to finish the work, even while in the final, painful days of cancer. The publication says that Arledge may have not wanted the book published before his death because of his frank comments about some of his colleagues. Meanwhile, the woman who serves as the literary agent for the memoir is not commenting on the contents. One person who attended Arledge's funeral apparently quipped: "If Roone's book had been published before he died, believe me, there'd be a lot less problems with seating at this overcrowded event." It will be interesting to see whom the book trashes and whom it praises.


Litigation is no stranger to the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes." It's always stirred up controversy. Even when the late Edward R. Murrow (with help from producer Fred Friendly) did his muck-raking reports in the '50s, he was often raked over the coals, especially by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the modern-day show has been hit with a $6 billion (with a "B") lawsuit. It was filed by a pair of Mississippi jurors. They contend that a piece aired last month on "60 Minutes" called "Jackpot Justice" slandered them and defamed them personally. The probing news piece looked at what were called "runaway juries," saying that Jefferson County, Miss., had juries that were so generous that many complaints were purposely being filed there in order to reap huge awards. Both of the people who brought the case against CBS served on juries that awarded judgments in excess of $150 million in suits involving damage from asbestos and diet drugs.


Having to pay a fine of $12,000 may seem very "ho-hum" for Donald Trump, but nonetheless he could get that levy imposed on himself by a Florida water board. New York reporter Bill Hoffman says that Trump's Palm Beach, Fla., country club and golf course may have used 14 percent more water than what was allotted under the permit it received for water use by local regulators. Even in Florida water is scarce (unless you like salt water). Trump says he will fight the announcement by the South Florida Water Management District that his property had the tap on too much. The fight against the levy will apparently be "on principles." In 2001, the Trump property was assessed a $500 fine for using too much water. That was the result of a surprise inspection that found sprinklers running on an assigned "no watering" night during that year's drought.


It would appear that singer Jo Dee Messina has been able to change her travel plans and will be able to have a white Christmas after all. CMT says that she will be traveling to New England to spend the holidays with her family. Because of her increasingly busy touring schedule and recording sessions, Messina says that it's been a few years since she's been able to have a true "old-fashioned Christmas" with the family, a tree and all that stuff. She also says that, unlike many of today's singers, she is performing traditional holiday songs as close to the original as possible, keeping the touch of Christmas she remembers from her childhood. By the way, her latest single "Was That My Life," will be released early in the coming year.


The popular artist has been nominated for favorite female artist in the country category at the Jan. 13 American Music Awards. And, as usual, the Dick Clark-produced event is turning out to be star-filled. Producers tell United Press International that in addition to the previously announced appearance of Sir Elton John and Tim McGraw (scheduled to do a duet on John's classic "Tiny Dancer"), others who have confirmed that they will appear are Shania Twain (currently holding down the No. 1 position on the album charts with her two-CD, two-themed effort), Christina Aguilera, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney. The ageless Willie Nelson will also perform. ABC will broadcast the event from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. It's the 30th annual American Music Awards show. Twenty major awards will be handed out, including for the first time, one for favorite movie soundtrack CD.


The Sugar Hill Records people say they are preparing for release some of the earliest demonstration records produced by Willie Nelson. In early February, the company will distribute a set called "Crazy: The Demo Sessions." On the compilation will be eight previously unreleased recordings that Nelson made in the 1960s on the Pamper Music label. The news provider says that Pamper was co-owned by the late country artist Ray Price. There are seven songs in the set that some people have heard. Bootlegged copies have been floating around for years of songs such as "Three Days," "I've Just Destroyed the World" and a version of "Crazy" that Nelson pitched to Patsy Cline. Yes, Willie wrote that song for Patsy. And, as they say, the rest is history. An executive of Sugar Hill says that the old classic early recordings of Nelson show how far ahead of his time he was in that era and how it took 15 years for the rest of the music world to catch up with him.


Today we are asking: "Is there any holiday trinket or tree ornament that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family or other treasured item or concept that is only brought out once a year?" Put TRINKET in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked how many cards you send out during the holidays. From a random dip into the e-mail in box we found:

Not sending out any cards ... 5 percent.

Sending out fewer than 50 ... 45 percent.

Sending out more than 50 ... 35 percent. (Two said it was 100+).

The remainder weren't sure about this year's mail-outs. (Better hurry).

As far as e-cards, about 25 percent said they did a mixture of paper and cyber.

TOMORROW: Would you like to live to be 100?


We are still taking suggestions for people to honor as unsung heroes during the Twelve Days of Christmas. Put HONOR in the subject line and send to Remember, if you want us to use a name, we must have a contact number for verification.

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