SONNY ALSO RISES: To the rescue of paparazzi-hounded celebrities: Sonny Bono. The entertainer-turned-Congressman is introducing a bill on Capitol Hill that would seek to curb the daredevil ways of the celeb shutterbugs.
ABOUT FACE: For the first time, the family of Dodi Fayed has conceded that Henri Paul should not have been at the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz that crashed in a Paris tunnel August 31, killing Fayed, Paul and Princess Diana. Lab tests show Paul's blood stream was swimming with alcohol and anti-depressants. Paul was an employee of the Ritz hotel, owned by Fayed's father, Mohammed Al Fayed.
UNFAIR? The mother of Henri Paul says her son is "paying for the personalities that he was driving." Giselle Paul insists Henri was not an alcoholic, nor depressed.
EQUAL TIME: After pulling out all the stops to cover the death of a princess, what do you do for a woman considered by some to be saint material? ABC, CBS and NBC announced Wednesday they will feature live coverage of Mother Teresa's funeral in Calcutta, India on Saturday, starting at 12:30 a.m. (ET). Unless you live on the West Coast--in which case you'll get the tape delay, also at 12:30 a.m. (PT).
HONORED: Bob Dylan, Lauren Bacall and Charlton Heston are among those getting Kennedy Center honors this year. The lifetime achievement awards, handed out every year for the past 20, will be presented by President Clinton at the White House on December 7.
OH, GOOD: Playmate-turned-sitcom star Jenny McCarthy has received a $1 million advance for her autobiography, Jen-X. For those of you without calculators, that works out to about $41,666 for each of Jenny's 24 years on the planet.
KEEPS ON TICKING: 60 Minutes man Mike Wallace has inked a new contract to stay at CBS until he's 83. Mike's already 79, so that may not be as impressive as it sounds.
WALLACE ADD: Mike Wallace's 60-year career as a broadcast journalist will be marked tonight in the CBS prime-time special, Mike Wallace Remembers.
NEWSIE AWARDS: ABC and PBS each earned 10 shiny statuettes--tops at the annual Emmy Awards for news and documentary programs, held Wednesday night in New York. Programs honored included Dateline NBC, CBS' 48 Hours and ABC's Nightline.
DELAYED REACTION: North Carolina grocery chain Food Lion wants more time to decide if it'll accept a judge's ruling that reduced its $5.5 million judgment against ABC News to $315,000. The judge originally gave Food Lion a deadline of September 12. Time flies--that's Friday.
COUGHING UP: Michael Richards, Dennis Franz and Cybill Shepherd have all been "honored" with Phlemmys. The gross-sounding award is for a gross habit, or so says the American Lung Assocation. Phlemmys are presented to TV stars that, according to the group, promote smoking on their shows.
BATHING-SUIT WATCH: Score one for the two-piece. Miss Hawaii won the preliminary swimsuit competition at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City Wednesday night, wearing a bikini she picked up at J.C. Penney. A third, and final, round of preliminaries is scheduled for tonight. The big show will be broadcast Saturday on ABC.
GAME CALLED: The agony of defeat for ABC's Wide World of Sports. The 36-year-old Saturday afternoon sports anthology program--the one with the flailing skier in the opening credits--has been canceled. Starting January 3, the Wide World label will be used as a generic brand name for all ABC sports shows--save college and NFL football.
EXTRA INNINGS: Tag-team partner Keith Olbermann is gone, but ESPN's Dan Patrick is staying--for quite a while. The Sportscenter co-anchor has signed a deal to stay at the cable sports network through 2004.
RAGE ON: The show will go on in the town of George, Washington, where local law enforcement was trying to pull the plug on a scheduled Rage Against the Machine show on Friday. A judge has refused to silence the ear-splitting rants of the rappin' rockers.
SOAP SUDS: In Virginia, a former soap-opera actress has been sentenced to one year in prison for trying to hire a hitman to off her husband. Catherine Ann Christianson appeared on ABC sudser One Life to Live in 1991.
RELATIVITY: Michael and Kirk Douglas are the first father-and-son team to have their prints preserved at Hollywood's famed Chinese Theater. This, after the younger Douglas (that would be Michael) did the hands-in-cement thing at the movie house Wednesday night. Pop says he's "very touched."
MAGNUM OPUS: Tom Selleck could debut as a sitcom star as early as March, it has been reported. His in-the-works show at CBS is tentatively called The Closer. It stars Selleck as an ad-agency owner--the guy who always closes the deal.
PRETTY WOMAN: My Best Friend's Wedding star Julia Roberts is reportedly engaged to a romantic comedy opposite Hugh Grant. The film, now known only as The Notting Hill Project, will be directed by Grant's old boss on his marital hit Four Weddings and a Funeral. For all the latest casting news, see The Dotted Line.
FOR ENNIS: Before his murder, Ennis Cosby was planning a series of picture books for children with learning disabilities, his famous dad says. Now Bill Cosby has completed what his son couldn't. The three books, just out, feature a character called "Little Bill."
CANADA VS. HOWARD: Canadian sponsors are starting to bail on Howard Stern's radio show, which debuted on stations in Montreal and Toronto last week. Another 240 or so persons have lodged protests with Canada's version of the Federal Communications Commission--Howard's nemesis on U.S. soil.
GRAND MASTER: Rapper Master P's Ghetto D rocketed to the top of the U.S. album charts, for the week ended September 7. Moving with as much velocity--in reverse: Oasis. The wannabe Beatles are on the downside of the top 10 after only two weeks, down to No. 9. For all the latest Industry stats, see By The Numbers.