DIANA UPDATE: Pop star Elton John says the royals are debating whether or not he should sing at Princess Diana's funeral on Saturday. The stiff-upper-lip crowd at Buckingham Palace is said to be less than thrilled with the idea. John and Di were pals from their work with AIDS charities. His signature ballad, "Your Song," was said to be one of Diana's favorites.

HEADED FOR THE ALTAR? Princess Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed planned to wed, a member of Fayed's family told an Arab-language newspaper Tuesday. Fayed, 41, the heir to the Harrods fortune, died alongside the princess in that gruesome one-car crash in a Paris tunnel early Sunday. The couple's allegedly drunken driver was also killed.

FUNERAL COVERAGE: Expect wall-to-wall TV coverage of Diana's funeral, scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. (ET) Saturday. CNN and Fox News will sign on with the story at 4 a.m. (ET); E! at 5 a.m. (ET); MSNBC at midnight (ET). CBS and NBC haven't announced their plans yet.

NO-SHOW: Don't look for famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti at Diana's funeral. He says he's too distraught to attend.

SAVING FACE: The royal family says it is "deeply touched" by the outpouring of sentiment since Diana's death. The statement is Buckingham Palace's first since the weekend. Prince Charles, et al, have come under fire for showing their legendary reserve as Britain mourns.

WASHINGTON CARES: Polite ex-British subjects that we are, members of Congress will vote Thursday on a resolution honoring Princess Diana for her charitable works.

CAGED BIRD: Madonna says in death, at least, Diana is free from the paparazzi, who now stand accused by some of contributing to the ex-royal's deadly car crash. The Material Girl says she used to swap paparazzi war stories with the princess. She says she "really freaked out" when she first heard word of Di's accident.

CLOONEY'S CAMPAIGN: "You should be ashamed." That was actor George Clooney to the National Enquirer and other supermarket tabloids in a press conference Tuesday, spurred by Princess Diana's death. The ER star, who last year waged a personal war against the camcorder ways of TV's Hard Copy, pledged to campaign for libel-law reform.

FOR THE DEFENSE: Former CBS newsman Walter Cronkite says the paparazzi are getting a "bum rap" in the death of Diana. Seven photographers who chased Di's car into that fateful Paris tunnel are under investigation for homicide, and that has some calling for new laws restricting them. But Uncle Walter says that would be a step closer to censorship on legitimate news stories.

LAST PHOTO: Several European newspapers have printed what's being called Diana's last photo. It's not a crash-scene shot. The picture shows the princess on the day of her death, getting into a Mercedes Benz.

NO SALE: The nation's largest supermarket chain, Kroger Co., has joined Winn-Dixie stores in a sales boycott of any tabloids that depict the Di accident--if the photos reveal the victims.

EDITING ROOM: All things great and small are being affected by Di's death, including Tom Arnold's new WB sitcom, The Tom Show. Two references to the late princess are being deleted from the debut episode, set to air Sunday.

BIG BEEF: Also in the wake of Diana's death, the Wendy's fast-food chain has pulled a TV commercial that shows founder Dave Thomas asking a Queen Elizabeth look-alike, "So, how're the kids?"

OTHER NEWS: The longtime general manager of New York's Metropolitan Opera House--a not-so-timid man who once fired legendary diva Maria Callas--has died. Sir Rudolf Bing was 95. He'd long been afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. In 1989, his second marriage was annulled on account of Bing's not being able to recall that he had wed two years earlier. Bing led the Met during a storied period from 1950-72.

OH, CANADA: The justice minister of Quebec is launching an investigation to see if Howard Stern's radio diatribe against French-speaking Canadians violates local hate-mongering laws. Stern's radio show debuted on two radio stations in Canada on Tuesday.

MIRAGE, NOT OASIS: In an upset on the U.S. album charts, Britain's bad boys of Oasis got out-flanked by Puff Daddy (aka record mogul Sean Combs) for the top spot, for the week ended August 31. This, despite record-setting sales in Oasis' native land and a huge push for the album here. Last week's No. 1, Fleetwood Mac's The Dance, slipped two places. For all the latest industry stats, see By The Numbers.

TALK WARS: The heads are already rolling on The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show--and the ratings aren't all that bad. Executive producer Charlie Parsons is out, reportedly after clashes with the star. The late-night talk program, only a month old, is running second to Jay Leno and the Tonight Show in many TV markets.

IMAGINE: Yoko Ono is reportedly close to signing an $80 million deal with Columbia Pictures, selling the movie and music rights to the studio for a film based on her relationship with former Beatle John Lennon. Trainspotting's Ewan McGregor has been talked up as a potential Lennon impersonator.

OPRAH'S OPTION: A Los Angeles TV station is reporting that Oprah Winfrey will hang up the mike after the upcoming 1997-98 TV season. The item has sent stock falling for Oprah's syndicator, King World. The spokeswoman for the top-rated talker, meanwhile, says Winfrey hasn't decided her future on the show yet. She's got until September 15 to do so.

RERUN HEAVEN: ESPN has bought out the competition. The megasports network is the new owner of Classic Sports Network, a much smaller cable outlet devoted to fights and football games past (lots of other old games, too).

PRIVATE PARTS: Is that a hidden penis in a newspaper ad for Men in Black, or are the guys (Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith) just happy to see us? Read, and see, all about it right here.

HOME VIDEO: Men in Black invades video stores November 25. (No word yet on what the box art will look like.) Its chief summer '97 box-office competitor, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, gets VCR-ready on November 4.

CAREER GOES ON: Chris Burke, best known for his groundbreaking role on the family series Life Goes On, is joining the cast of CBS' Touched by an Angel. He'll have a recurring part, playing (what else?) an angel. Burke was the first actor with Down's syndrome to star in a prime-time series.

BOOKED: Oscar-winner Frances McDormand (Fargo) is set to star in Madeline, based on the classic children's book. For all the casting news, see The Dotted Line.

PIANO MEN: Billy Joel may team with Elton John for a duet, "Two Old Guys with Two Old Pianos." This, presumably before Joel begins his promised foray into classical music.

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