NO CHEER: Ratings cellar-dweller CBS has a lot riding on the Ted Danson-Mary Steenburgen comedy, Ink. Now, the show is expected to miss its debut date because of major last-minute retooling. DreamWorks may announce this week the hiring of Murphy Brown creator Diane English to take over production.
PRO BONO: U2's next album won't be out in the fall, as anticipated. The Los Angeles Times reports that the band is still working on the album, which now looks likely for early next year. Not to worry about a slow season in the record stores: Pearl Jam just released its No Code, and the next two months brings new albums from R.E.M. and Nirvana...David Lee Roth cut two new tracks with his old band Van Halen for an album due out in October.
GREATEST LOVE: Whitney Houston wins the second annual Walk of Fame award from Black Entertainment Television. The network established the walk at its Washington studios as a way to honor prominent African-American performers.
ON THE STAND: A giggly Michael Jackson, wearing a red flannel shirt with matching socks and lipstick, testified in a Los Angeles courtroom today on behalf of his family. Jacko said he agreed to appear--but never perform--in the 1994 Jackson Family Honors show. The program's producers are suing the clan, claiming to have lost more than $1 million on the event because Jackson didn't sing.
NEW RELEASE: Sylvester Stallone, 50, is the father of a baby girl, Sophia Rose, by his fiancee, Jennifer Flavin. Stallone has two sons from his first marriage.
SOLIDARITY FOREVER: The cast of Friends, who are still working without a new contract, took a recess from shooting after Matt LeBlanc dislocated his shoulder trying to take a comic dive on a couch.
WINDY CITY NEWS:Aretha Franklin will sing the national anthem at the Democratic convention tonight and tomorrow is Billy Ray Cyrus's turn. His father is a delegate.
THE OTHER SHOE: After calling for a boycott of Mission Impossible because Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, German politicans are now calling for the same treatment for Phenomenon, starring the other famous Scientologist, John Travolta.
SLIPPED DISCS: Sony said that it won't release its digital videodisc product until next spring. Some analysts thought the new medium for viewing video might be in stores for Christmas but Sony's decision will probably convince other manufacturers to wait, too.
POLICE BEAT: Police in Tennesee arrested Step by Step actor Sasha Mitchell, wanted in California for more than a month for skipping out on court-ordered domestic-abuse counseling...The Motion Picture Association of America reports that seizures of illegal videotapes were up 81 percent in the first half of 1996 over the same period last year.
SOON TO BE: Look for Arsenio Hall playing a sportscaster in an ABC sitcom to debut in January. Other major networks also bid for Hall's first TV project since he quit his talk show in 1994. His co-star: Vivica Fox, the stripper from Independence Day...Danny DeVito will star in The Kiss as a romantic elevator operator...Sidney Poitier joins Bruce Willis and Richard Gere in The Day of the Jackal thriller as an FBI agent...Geraldo Rivera is working toward a September 9 relaunch of his talk show--it's supposed to be less sensational and more newsy...O.J. prosecutor Chris Darden's story moves toward the screen with the hiring of Oscar-winning screenwriter Abby Mann.
NEWS FOR SUITS: Home Shopping Network will soon have a new owner: Silver King Communications, led by Fox TV founder Barry Diller in what analysts see as a step toward Diller's goal of creating another television network.
ALL OURS: The British government will stop referring to the Charter Mark awards--given to thank Britons for public services--as "Oscars" after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences protested.