BOXOFFICE: Titanic was chased hard but not caught by new release U.S.Marshals. With an estimated $18 million the historical melodrama remained No 1 for the twelfth straight weekend.

TITANIC NOD: James Cameron was handed the Directors Guild of America's Feature Film Award Saturday night, boosting the Titanic director's Academy Award chances, because on only four previous occasions has the DGA winner failed to follow with an Oscar win. NBC won in two TV categories: Barbara Kopple for an episode of Homicide and Andy Ackerman for a Seinfeld half-hour.

PYTHON SKINNY: The five surviving Monty Python's Flying Circus comedians and an urn they implied contained the remains of their late cohort Graham Chapman gathered at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen this weekend. This re-union, which included the spilling of the urn's ashes, will show up on HBO and the group plans to tour next year to mark the 30th anniversary of their irreverent BBC show.

NAME GAME: Nintendo chose the tiny North Carolina town of Lizard Lick as the launch site for their new "Yoshi's Story" video game. Why? The game features cartoon dinosaurs with superlong tongues.

SPLITSVILLE? A spokesperson for Mariah Carey has confirmed the songbird scored a quickie Dominican Republic divorce Thursday from records mogul Tommy Mottola. There were also unconfirmed reports that she was back in Florida the same day to see her alleged new flingmate, Yankees second baseman Derek Jeter, play an exhibition baseball game.

SUPERMAN RETURNS: DC Comics has put Superman through the Kryptonite during the last five years, killing him, then splitting him up into a number of different "energy beings." In April, however, the legendary Man of Steel will be recombined and put into his original form--this to counter a new threat.

ONTO BIG SCREENS: Anybody who has read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air will know how tough just surviving the tragic spring '96 Everest expedition was. How about filming a movie? Well, the producers of Everest managed to get 40 minutes of usable footage down from the hill, and it's coming to IMAX theaters Wednesday.

MELROSE DISPLACED: Billy, get your soccer gear, wipe that stupid look off your face, and get out. That's right, Melrose Place fans, Andrew Shue has been told by Aaron Spelling that he's off the show in '98. But he needn't take it too personally. The boot was just one of several cast changes announed last week.

UNDERSTANDABLE REACTION: Hootie & the Blowfish is back--with a lawsuit against a medical-supply company. The band's steamed about the use of its name in an ad for plastic splints.

COUNTRY QUEEN REIGNS: Tammy Wynette has won settlements from the two supermarket tabs she sued over stories about her health. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

BOOM! Paul Simon's The Capeman will close March 28, producers have confirmed--a move that should make the critically panned, $11 million musical the Great White Way's biggest bomb ever.

PENN SUIT: Rather than punch the guy out, actor Sean Penn has filed a $130,000 suit against former investment partner Michael McInerney, according to Associated Press. Penn claims the defendant wrested control of an L.A. nightclub from a partnership the actor was involved in, leaving him out in the cold.

WHOA, MILO! A musical based on the 1984 Kevin Bacon dance flick, Footloose, will bow on Broadway in October, it's been announced.

TRICKY TRIANGLE: Showgirls star Elizabeth Berkley says her new boyfriend's old girlfriend has threatened to "cut" her. The ex- now faces a criminal harassment charge.

TAINTED LOVE: Starting today, ABC soap General Hospital reexamines the glossed-over history of its famed Luke-and-Laura love duo: Namely, the rape.

OUT OF WHACK: In Australia, Oasis's Liam Gallagher is facing assault charges for allegedly breaking a fan's nose with a head-butt. The rocker, now free on bail, says he's innocent.

SOUL MAN: The publicist who fell in love with Marla Maples' shoes and did prison time for stealing them now stands accused of harassing the quasi-actress and estranged hubby, Donald Trump.

BUT SHE COULD REALLY COOK: The porno star who became a member of the Italian parliament has lost custody of her 5-year-old son. Cuddles was declared an "excessively liberal" mother.

B.I.G. R.I.P.: MTV will mark the one-year anniversary of Notorious B.I.G.'s still-unsolved murder Sunday with a special Biggie video countdown and a Biography-esque documentary.

SONNY RISES: Due in record stores March 24: Cher and Sonny & Cher: Greatest Hits. The 16-track collection was planned before Sonny Bono's skiing death in January.

OSCAR WATCH: Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Trisha Yearwood, Aaliyah and Elliott Smith are set to warble this year's batch of Oscar-nominated songs. The big show's March 23.

BIG BEN: Oscar nominee Ben Affleck is moving onto Glory Days, Daily Variety says. The rising star will shoot the character drama this fall. For all the casting news, see Dotted Line.

MODELS EAT? Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer are among a business group that's won the rights to the name, Fashion Cafe. An eatery will presumably follow.

MOM VS. MOM: Anne Heche's estranged mother Nancy is in bed with the tabloids--selling them stories. So charges Betty DeGeneres, Ellen's mom.

AXL ROAST: Former Wall of Voodoo singer Andy Prieboy has found a new career as a playwright, and his first project is a '30-style musical based on the life of another '80s-band lead singer--Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose. Tentatively titled White Trash Wins Lotto, Prieboy insists his production--due to open next month in Los Angeles--is not a rock opera.

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