FIRST LOOK: The News in Brief, February 27, 2001

Eminem & Elton John...Everybody Loves Raymond...Lil' Kim...Whitney Houston...

By Emily Farache Feb 28, 2001 1:00 AMTags
TUNING IN: The Recording Academy has released a radio single version of Eminem and Elton John's Grammy performance of "Stan." The track may be available commercially later this year.

AT LEAST THE BRITS GOT IT RIGHT: Elton John presenting Eminem with the trophy for Best International Male Artist at the Brit Awards Monday, the U.K.'s version of the Grammys. "And the winner is...Steely Dan," the rapper cracked upon accepting the prize. Coldplay and Robbie Williams also scored big and U2 received a lifetime achievement award and the prize for Best International Group.

CAN'T STOP THE LOVING: CBS renewing its hit comedy Everybody Loves Raymond for two more years in a deal worth $140 million, or about $3 million an episode.

NOT TAKING THE RAP: Rivalry between women rappers Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown apparently sparked a shootout on Sunday outside a New York hip-hop radio station in which 21 bullets were fired and one man was wounded, police said on Tuesday. Kim's reps deny her involvement.

STALKING BY MAIL: A judge reinstated an order temporarily barring a female fan from contacting singer Whitney Houston after the woman repeatedly sent letters, cards and gifts to the pop star, who she believes is her "supernatural reincarnated mother."

GOOD GRUNTS: Russell Crowe and his Australian folk-rock band Thirty Odd Foot of Grunt are in Italy to raise funds for Children in Crisis Italy, which supports two Milan organizations that provide homes and care for children who are victims of family violence and abuse.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A BRITISH ACCENT: Reese Witherspoon is in negotiations to star in Fragile Films' feature adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest, a comedy about mistaken identity set in English high society during the 1890s.

YEE-HAW! Lee Ann Womack and Toby Keith each got six nominations Tuesday for the Academy of Country Music Awards. Keith is up for Entertainer of the Year and Womack's nominations include album and song of the year for I Hope You Dance. Winners will be announced May 9 in Los Angeles.

HELP MY KIDS: Jerry Lewis asking Congress to increase federal funding for muscular dystrophy research by $100 million annually. Lewis, chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, said it was "time for the government to jump into the ring" to help find a cure for the disorder that affects mostly children.

STILL GOING: Bestselling horror writer Stephen King has taken to the Web again, a few months after pulling the plug on his first online novel. He'll release a 6,000-word excerpt of his new novel, Dreamcatcher, on Time's Website March 5.

DIGGING IN: Taye Diggs (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) has signed on for the remainder of the Ally McBeal season, playing an associate lawyer in the firm with a past with Ling.

BORN TO RELEASE ALBUMS: Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band will release the 19-song, two-CD Live in New York City, featuring cuts from their recent tour (including two new songs) on April 3, four days before HBO airs a Springsteen concert special.

WINNERS: Almost Famous and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon each nabbed four awards Monday at the 13th annual Chicago Film Critics Awards.

GRACE GETS A WOODY: Woody Harrelson has signed for four episodes of NBC's Will & Grace as Grace's new boyfriend. The arc will air during the May sweeps.

WHAT? NO SURVIVOR? Chicken Run, Dateline NBC, Nickelodeon's The Wild Thornberrys and WB's Popular among the winners of the 15th annual Genesis Awards, honoring media and entertainment that spotlight animal-rights issues. The awards will be televised May 12 on Animal Planet.

SURVIVING A DATE: An episode of Blind Date featuring Jerri Manthey--Survivor II's bossy, back-stabbing wannabe actress--as well as Bible-toting original Survivor Dirk Been will re-air Wednesday.

SUPER TEAM UP: The oft-volatile rockers in Oasis and the Black Crowes have announced a joint "Brotherly Love" summer tour, which kicks off May 11 in Las Vegas.

BEHIND BARS: The driver who seriously injured the son of actor Pierce Brosnan in a car crash in Malibu, California, last April began serving a six-month jail term on Monday in connection with the accident.

NO BRAINER: Actors who smoke, such as Sharon Stone and Leonardo DiCaprio, and the puffing characters they portray influence teenage smoking by providing role models for young people and making it look desirable, researchers at Dartmouth College said Tuesday.