PASSING: Laura Nyro, singer-songwriter who contributed hits such as "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Eli's Coming" to other artists and influenced dozens of her peers with her freeform, emotional style of singing, has died at 49. A spokesman said she had ovarian cancer.
LATE SHIFT: Keenen Ivory Wayans' new late-night talk show sold to the Fox/New World TV stations, says the Hollywood Reporter, putting him ahead in the race to bring an Arsenio Hall-type program back to the air. Wayans' show might be combined with Magic Johnson's planned show into a single talk block.
FORGET IT: An executive with Carsey-Werner, producer of Roseanne, told the New York Times that he was "99.999 percent certain" that a spinoff of the show would never fly now that all four networks had passed on the project--ABC twice.
HEALING: Christopher Reeve fell off an exercise bike and broke his arm on Saturday, was patched up by doctors and was able to attend the premiere of his HBO movie Monday.
WAY IT IS: Walter Cronkite left a New York hospital after recuperating from heart surgery.
DOUBLE FEATURE: For New Yorkers who can't get enough of the Tony Awards, public station WNET will broadcast live the first hour of the show--the one CBS ignores--with the two-hour CBS broadcast following right after. Rosie O'Donnell will host both, on June 1.
CODED: FCC Chairman Reed Hundt called on broadcasters to adopt a code of conduct that would, among other measures, set a minimum amount of time for public service announcements and ban hard-liquor ads.
ROYAL: Sixteen-year-old Natalie Portman (Mars Attacks!) is in talks to play Princess Leia's mother (well, when she was younger) in the planned Star Wars prequel.
COMINGS & GOINGS: Fox has yanked Pauly Shore's first TV series, Pauly, after only four episodes...NBC decided to bring back the Saturday night drama Profiler next season...CBS has picked up Everybody Loves Raymond for a full season next year...NBC will team with Barbra Streisand's Barwood Films and Columbia TriStar Television to develop a two-hour movie based on freshman U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) due in '98
PALMED: Ingmar Bergman will receive the "Palm of Palms," a new honor created by the Cannes film festival to honor a great director who hadn't previously won a prize at the festival. Bergman is 78 and retired from filmmaking after his last major film, 1983's Fanny and Alexander.
PANNED: In the midst of one of Jim Carrey's biggest successes yet, Liar Liar, Industry folks are whispering that his next flick, The Truman Show, might follow the course of his earlier, biggest flop, The Cable Guy. Exhibitors get nervous when Jim plays it straight.
BIOS: McGraw-Hill publishes a biography of Michael Ovitz on May 19 and, says columnist Liz Smith, his former boss Michael Eisner will tell his story in a Random House book...Film producer Irwin Winkler will develop Lush Life, the story of the little-known jazzman Billy Strayhorn, who co-wrote many of Duke Ellington's classics...And Gia will tell the story of model Gia Marie Carrangi, who died of AIDS in 1986 at 26 after beating a heroin addiction. Angelina Jolie (Hackers) will star.
BROTHERS: A group of American comic actors appealed for the release of a popular Burmese comedian. Carl Reiner, Ted Danson, Paul Reiser and others protested the jailing of Par Par Lay on a charge of "spreading false news."
BANNED: Senegalese singer and World Music figure Ismael Lo was refused a visa to the US, forcing cancellation of a promotional tour.
WILLIAM ROBERT: Billy Bob Thornton will direct a music video for Capricorn Records artists Widespread Panic.
HAPPY, SAD: Turner Broadcasting released programming lineups that will brand TNT as its drama channel (with series such as ER and the TV premiere of Fargo) and TBS as its comedy channel (with Coach, Dumb and Dumber and the like).
AWARENESS: The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will hold a day-long conference in Los Angeles April 19 on the effect of AIDS on the entertainment industry.