SMOOTH SAILING: For those keeping score at home, Titanic was tops at the weekend box office for the eighth week in a row, earning $23.2 million.
BEACH BOY CARL WILSON DEAD: Carl Wilson, referred to as the glue that kept the seminal surf band, The Beach Boys, together during their '60s glory, died Friday in Los Angeles from lung cancer. The lead guitarist, whose bubblegum-like singing style was trademarked on such classics as "Wouldn't It Be Nice," was 51.
FARRAH UPDATE: Prosecutors have filed battery charges against director James Orr for allegedly slamming girlfriend Farrah Fawcett's head into the ground and kicking her repeatedly when she turned down his marriage proposal last week. The couple had asked that no charges be filed. If convicted, Orr faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine.
SEXGATE: They're just "close friends." That's Night Court star Markie Post's response to a National Enquirer story, out Monday, that intimates the actress and President Clinton shared "secret get-togethers in California hotels."
SEXGATE II: Friend of Bill Barbra Streisand is chastising the media for running with "illegal leaks" from the Whitewater/Sexgate investigations. Adds fiance James Brolin: Bill Clinton "is the most fun president we've ever had."
HUH? Something else to blame on the media: The growing phenomenom of "Titanatics"--people who have seen disaster epic Titanic 10 times or more. Says a Canadian psychology professor: "If no one had ever heard that people had gone to see Titanic 10 times, then maybe fewer people would have gone to see it 10 times."
GILLIGAN SAVED! Life imitated art, well, Gilligan's Island, this week as actor Bob Denver and his wife were snowbound in their West Virginia home. During the two-day siege, the couple was without power--with no Professor around to help make some.
URBAN FLYBOY: John Travolta wants to move back to the exclusive Florida community of Spruce Creek Fly-In--an aviator-populated housing development where you fly your plane in and park it in a hangar like you would a car in a garage. Only, his would-be neighbors want to keep him out. Seems they sued him five years ago--Travolta has lived there before--because his 35,000-pound Gulfstream II is so big, residents claim it poses a safety hazard.
EYES WIDE OVER: Can you believe Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman began shooting acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut on November 4, 1996, and Cruise just got home this week? Yes, what one magazine is calling the longest shoot in modern film history is finally over--and it's anyone's guess as to how long it will take for the A Clockwork Orange director to finish editing the thing.
MADE FOR WALKING: Women's shoe-maker Candie's claims MTV rejected its latest commercials featuring Jenny McCarthy--not the first time that's happened to the company during its edge-of-good-taste McCarthy ad campaign. But the shoe manufacturer is steamed at the music channel and says it's "re-thinking" its MTV ad strategy. As for MTV, they claim there's no problem, and the two 30-second spots will air at the end of the month.
WHAT THE #%'S IN A NAME? It's perhaps the hottest off-broadway play, but The New York Times--and almost everyone else in the city--is skittish about saying its name. What the hell are we talking about? Don't swear: It's 31-year-old British playwright Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and Fucking.
GOING OUT? Could be Ellen DeGeneres' sitcom self will be out for good. There's "considerable speculation" at ABC that the series will be canceled because of slumping ratings, the Washington Post reports.
OFF THE HOOK: In Los Angeles, Stanley Howse, founder of the rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, has been sentenced to probation and community service for threatening a neighbor last summer.
CASE CLOSED: No kinky sex games. No foul play. INXS frontman Michael Hutchence committed suicide--plain and awfully simple, a coroner's office in Australia has ruled. The rocker hung himself with a belt buckle in his hotel room last November. He was 37.
BLUE NOTE: One half of the acclaimed contemporary jazz duo Acoustic Alchemy has died. Guitarist and composer Nick Webb lost a year-long battle to pancreatic cancer Thursday in London. He was 43. Webb and partner Greg Carmichael are nominated for a Grammy at this month's upcoming ceremony.
DAY THE MUSIC DIED: A Buddy Holly tribute concert in Iowa tonight near the site of the influential rocker's 1959 fatal plane crash. Locals have been holding the big show annually since 1979.
KISS OFF: Lisa Rinna, she of the bee-stung lip look, is the latest Melrose Place resident to file a change of address card. The actress, who plays vampy Taylor, will be exiting at the end of this season, according to gossip maven Liz Smith.
HEY, SCOOBY! Louisiana deejay Scott Innes is the new voice of Scooby Doo. His first project: The long-form Scooby Doo on Zombie Island for the Cartoon Network. Don Messick, who first gave the hungry hound a voice, died last year.
WHAT A BUG: Where's Aunt Bea when you need her? It's going to cost about $6,800 to rid Andy Griffith's namesake bluegrass theater in North Carolina of termites, workers say.
TRUMP CARD: Cash-poor in the early 1990s, mogul Donald Trump stands to close the decade on a high note--netting a cool $1.1 billion, if he sells off his hotel and casino holdings, as rumored in the Wall Street Journal.
MISUNDERSTANDING? A Spanish-language newspaper charges that New York's theater critics don't "get" Paul Simon's new musical, The Capeman. An editorial in El Diario argues that reviewers who savaged the $11 million show, about a Puerto Rico-born convicted killer, are culturally ignorant.
TO THE LETTER: Rapper Warren G can duke it out with country superstar Garth Brooks over who has dibs to the letter "G," a federal judge has ruled. Mr. G claims Brooks' "G" logo (for "Garth") infringes on his own trademark logo. In a rival suit, Brooks claims his "G" is his own.
SHAQ'S RAP: Delusions of Tupac Shakur dancing in his head, basketball great Shaquille O'Neal will forge ahead with his rap career, signing a new deal A&M Records. The label will distribute records produced on Shaq's own TWIsM.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: The sequel to 1995 computer-animated hit, Toy Story, will bow in theaters in Christmas 1999, Disney has announced--reversing a previous plan to market the flick as a direct-to-video flick this fall. Toy Story 2 stars the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, reprising their roles from the original.
LUCKY LOSER: Imagine if she'd won the case: Thwarted O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark has been hired as a legal analyst by NBC. She'll appear on the network and its cable outlets, MSNBC and CNBC.
RED EYE: Shake-ups at Bryant Gumbel's struggling CBS newsmagazine. The original executive producer's been fired and the show's been shifted from Wednesdays to Tuesdays.
SICK BAY: Plagued by blood pressure problems, tenor Luciano Pavarotti has canceled several concerts and won't perform again until the end of the month, at the earliest. The opera superstar became dizzy during a recent performance at New York's Metropolitan Opera.
CHARITY CASE: Making a solid case for an overnight stay at the White House, comic actor Robin Williams and his wife donated $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee late last year, records show.
HONOR ROLL: Tom Cruise's efforts on behalf of film preservation will be toasted by the Artists Rights Foundation with its John Huston Award in April...Look for director Francis Ford Coppola to get the lifetime achievement treatment from the American Society of Cinematographers in March.
CALAMITY SANDRA: Sandra Bullock can't seem to shake disasters. The Speed star is in talks to costar with Ben Affleck in Forces of Nature, a romantic comedy about a guy (Affleck) who runs into a hurricane and a girl (Bullock) on the way to meet his bride-to-be, Daily Variety reports. For all the casting news, see The Dotted Line.