TOP OF THE NEWS: Actor Robert Downey Jr.'s struggles with sobriety continue. Downey went on a four-day drug-and-alcohol binge last month, his counselor told authorities Friday. That revelation got Downey's probation revoked and landed him a December 8 court date--during which a hearing on possible punishments will be held.

FOUL BALL: World Series, schmorld series. NBC's top West Coast executive isn't thrilled his network is carrying the fall classic matchup between the Cleveland Indians and Florida Marlins. "The faster it's over with, the better it is," Don Ohlmeyer told reporters Friday. If one of the teams doesn't pull a four game sweep, Game 5 will preempt NBC's lone source of big ratings this season: Its powerhouse Thursday night lineup.

WORLD SERIES ADD: Well, at least, sibling pop trio Hanson still gives a whit about baseball. The "MmmBop" boys are scheduled to sing the National Anthem at Game 1 Saturday night in Miami.

REMEMBERING DENVER: John Denver was hailed as "the folk poet of our time" at a public memorial service Friday in Aurora, Colorado. Thousands of fans, friends and family attended. Denver died Sunday in a plane crash.

S.O.S.: Metallica needs your help. The heavy metal gods want to perform a free, outdoor concert on November 11. One problem: They can't find anywhere willing to let them play. Now, the band's asking its fans for help. Leave your venue tips at its Website, or on its toll-free hotline: (800) 804-1400.

CARE PACKAGE: A Virginia concert promoter is suing rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg, claiming the performer tricked her into delivering seven pounds of marijuana to him backstage. The woman was busted by police while toting the load.

BUILT TO BOMB: NBC is bailing on its low-rated Wednesday night shows: Canceling freshman sitcom Built to Last, and putting The Tony Danza Show on hiatus. Danza's would-be primetime comeback could come back to the schedule in December.

PASSING GRADES: CBS, meanwhile, is giving good marks to three of its new series. It's ordered enough episodes of George & Leo, The Gregory Hines Show and Brooklyn South, to keep those shows around through the end of the season.

KURALT TRIBUTE: CBS News will remember the late newsman Charles Kuralt with a special tribute video, due in stores on Tuesday. The program will include Kuralt commentaries, as well as some of his famed On the Road segments.

SHHHH: Warren Beatty has reportedly wrapped production on his latest epoch as writer, director, producer and star. The top-secret movie right now is officially called...The Untitled.... (Whisper: It's reportedly about a disillusioned U.S. senator. Could open as early as December.)

PARDNERS? Golden boys Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey are said to be eyeing their first big-screen pairing. The Pretenders is described as a Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid-like Western. Except, you know, without Redford and Newman. For all the casting news, see The Dotted Line.

NOVEL SUIT: Steven Spielberg's upcoming slave drama, Amistad, is based on her book, says a novelist--and she's suing for $10 million. Barbara Chase-Riboud says Jackie Onassis, then a book editor, gave Spielberg a copy of her novel, Echo of Lions, in 1988. The director passed on developing it into a movie. But Chase-Riboud claims he ended up doing just that with Amistad. No comment from DreamWorks.

X-ITING? David Duchovny's recent L.A.-or-else ultimatum has spooked the Canadian crew of The X-Files. According to the Los Angeles Times, series creator Chris Carter is trying to rally the troops without, uh, alienating his star.

SCARY SPICE NEWS: Unveiled at a London toy fair Thursday: Barbie-sized Spice Girl dolls. The figures cost about $33 a piece. The whole lot will cost you about $164. Consider yourself warned.

OLDSTER: Due on newsstands tomorrow, the 30th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone magazine. What of that 1960s mantra--don't trust anyone (or anything) over 30? Editor Jann Wenner says the mag is still an "arbiter of what is hip."

LATOYA LITIGATION: Famous person LaToya Jackson is doing more of the stuff that keeps her famous: Trying to stay in the center of (semi-) controversy. This time, Michael's older sister has countersued a German promoter who accused La Toya of accepting a $20,000 appearance fee for an event in Holland and then skipping out on the appearance part. Jackson terms the promoter's lawsuit a form of harassment.

SORE THROAT: Superman's fiancee is facing her own brand of Kryptonite. Country singer Mindy McCready, engaged to Lois & Clark star Dean Cain, is facing tonsil surgery next month. That's forcing the 21-year-old to cancel all public appearances through the end of the year.

AUTOPSY RESULTS: Lab tests show that romance novelist Danielle Steel's 19-year-old son, found dead of an apparent drug overdose last month, had toxic levels of heroine in his blood stream. The tests also show that Nicholas Traina had too little of another drug that could have helped the longtime manic-depressive: Prozac.

FALSE GRIEF? Tom Selleck thinks he knows why the public reacted so strongly to the death of Princess Diana: Guilt. The actor's remarks came Thursday at a meeting of newspaper editors in Atlanta.

LAST CHAPTER: Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener died Thursday--days after deciding to end the kidney dialysis treatment that had sustained him since 1993. He was 90. Among the prolific writer's most famed works: Tales of the South Pacific, which served as the basis for the beloved musical, South Pacific.

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