FIRST LOOK: The News in Brief, August 15, 2000

Paul McCartney...Brad Pitt...Dixie Chicks...Jimmy Page...

By Emily Farache Aug 16, 2000 12:00 AMTags
REUNION: Paul McCartney putting out a new Beatles record 30 years after the group split up. The track "Free Now" features outtakes from an old Fab Four tune. "It's a new little piece of the Beatles," McCartney told Britain's Sun tabloid.

STRANDED: Brad Pitt committing to star in Joel and Ethan Coen's To the White Sea, about a tail gunner during World War II who, after the bombing of Tokyo, finds himself stranded in Japan. He is forced to embark on an epic journey through Asia in order to find a way home.

IT'S A GIRL! Rock star David Bowie, 53, and wife Iman, 44, are proud parents of a girl, Alexandria Zahra Jones, born Tuesday. "The couple are overjoyed," a spokesman for Bowie said. "David assisted in the delivery and he cut the umbilical cord."

DIXIE HEN: Dixie Chick Natalie Maines and actor-husband Adrian Pasdar (NBC's Mysterious Ways) are expecting their first child, due to be "hatched" around April 2001. The pair were married June 24.

OUCH: Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who's currently touring with Southern rockers The Black Crowes, suffered a back injury that has forced the combo to stop their current tour, organizers said Monday.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Shirley MacLaine being offered the starring role in the new musical The Visit now that Glenn Close has said no. Angela Lansbury pulled out of the show on July 20 due to the illness of her husband, Peter Shaw.

RAGE-ING: Police firing pepper spray and rubber bullets Monday to clear a crowd of 9,000 people following a free protest concert by Rage Against the Machine outside the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

IDIOT: In rock star and gun enthusiast Ted Nugent's new book, Gods, Guns and Rock N' Roll, he says students could have stopped last year's Columbine massacre by rushing one of the two gunmen. Nugent also writes that the bloodbath proved people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons.

CLASS DISMISSED: Fox canceling its critically hailed docudrama series American High after just two weeks. Directed by documentary veteran R.J. Cutler, the show chronicles the daily challenges of teenagers attending a suburban Chicago high school. Repeats of Futurama will air instead.

FAT FARM: Big Brother creator Endemol Entertainment developing a new reality show for German TV called Big Diet, in which 10 overweight people are sequestered for 100 days while surrounded by goodies. According to Daily Variety, whoever loses the most weight wins the grand prize--bars of gold equivalent to the amount of weight lost.

MANY WOULD AGREE: After searching for almost a year, an actor has yet to be cast in the film version of Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. Hornby told the London Daily Express that George Clooney told him, "You need someone average. I'm too sexy for your film."

REAL TV: Producers of NBC's The West Wing are planning to shoot scenes from the site of the Democratic National Convention on Friday, just before the convention installations are torn down, USA Today reports.

PLAYING NICE: NBC averting a potential showdown with Senator Edward Kennedy by pushing back the air date of its upcoming miniseries about the Kennedy women following overtures by staffers with the veteran lawmaker. The network is airing Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot during the first weekend of the February sweeps.