TOP OF THE NEWS: U2's album, Pop, is out today. After recent sales failures by REM and Pearl Jam, the music industry has pinned a lot of hope on the band's latest effort.

HOOPED: Magic Johnson will host a new, syndicated talk-variety show for late night TV to air by next year. The deal is with Fox, where Johnson recently signed up to produce films, too.

TRANSPLANTED: Crosby, Stills & Nash will perform a concert tonight in Hollywood benefiting the folks responsible for David Crosby's liver transplant--an operation that would never have happened if critics had their way.

ORPHANED: Twelve-year-old Joanna Pacitti will sue the producers of Broadway's Annie revival for $50 million now that they've fired her, four weeks before opening night. She won the job by winning a singing contest.

WARNED: MGM Chairman Frank Mancuso criticized both theater owners and the studios in a speech at the owners' NATO ShoWest convention, saying there was overproduction of movies and overconstruction of theaters. "Like Thelma and Louise, we're heading for a cliff," he said...Meanwhile, Hollywood's A-list turned out for a star-studded luncheon at ShoWest today.

POSTPONED: Trial was postponed today till May 6 in the bitter lawsuit by Susan Anspach against former lover Jack Nicholson.

MAROONED: To avoid a leak of the Ellen-is-gay script, ABC is printing the pages of the drafts on maroon paper which makes faxing difficult.

PROTESTED: Environmentalists are again sitting in at the construction site of DreamWorks studios. They accuse Steven Spielberg and partners of endangering nearby wetlands.

SAVED: James Cromwell, star of Babe, adopted a 240-pound hog that was about to be slaughtered after a 4-H competition in Ocala, Florida.

HIATUS-ED: After 20 days of shooting, production stopped on Broadway Brawler, Bruce Willis' next, as the director and producer were cashiered.

INVESTED: Daily Variety says that CBS is about to announce an investment in SportsLine USA, an online radio service that competes with ESPNET SportsZone.

INVITED: Saturday Night Live vets Chris Farley and David Spade will maketheir first appearance as presenters at the upcoming AcademyAwards. Get your latest Oscar news at our complete Academy Awards department.

MINED: The Sierra Club and other environmental groups are attacking Viacom for concealing its liability for some polluted old mines that it inherited when it bought Gulf & Western, which owned Paramount studios. Viacom says it's only on the hook for a relatively small amount of cleanup costs.

MOVED: CBS moved the air dates for its six-hour miniseries The Last Don (starring Danny Aiello) to Sunday May 11 through Wednesday May 14 to avoid head-to-head competition with NBC's mini The Odyssey, set for May 18 and 19.

COLLARED: Dan Aykroyd is close to signing for the lead role in Soul Man, the Home Improvement spinoff, says the Hollywood Reporter. Aykroyd would play a minister who lives next door to Tim Allen's TV family. For all the casting news, see The Dotted Line.

RENTED: After newscasters repeatedly compared the wild shootout that ended a bank robbery last Friday in North Hollywood, California to the climax of the movie Heat, rentals of the video version about doubled in Los Angeles, an informal survey by the Los Angeles Times found.

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