November 30, 2000

Entertainment News

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Downey Doing Lines, Again

One verse from Vonda Shepard’s only known song — the catchy opening theme of Ally McBeal — goes something like this: “I’ve made mistakes in my liiiife, that I just can’t hiiiide.”

Lately, it seems almost as if Shephard is singing exclusively about one of the show’s actors, Robert Downey, Jr. After all, he certainly can’t hide his most recent mistake: possession of cocaine and other methamphetamines.

Downey has been involved in a series of hits over the past few months. First, it was quite a hit when he was freed from state prison in August, after his lawyers successfully contended that a judge miscalculated his sentence. Then, after joining the cast of Ally McBeal, he helped to make the Fox show a hit once again.

But his most recent hit — of illicit drugs, that is — is nothing to laugh at. On Saturday, an anonymous 911 call led police to Downey’s California hotel room, where they found a high actor and whole lotta coke.

Fortunately for the producers of Ally, Downey returned to the set on Tuesday to tape the remaining shows in his contract, according to E!Online. But while his release on bail spells temporary relief for the one-time Oscar nominee, the long-term doesn’t appear quite as bright. His future on the show is in question, and an upcoming criminal trial may land him back in jail.

Looks like you’re going to need to keep on singing, Vonda.

You Can’t Have It That Way

The Backstreet Boys will have to remain in the boy band background for now, at least according to SoundScan. Despite a successful first single, an online campaign and a slew of MTV appearances promoting their latest album release, Nick Carter and the boys were unable to beat out ‘N Sync for the most copies sold in one week in the U.S.

The group’s third effort, Black and Blue, sold 1.6 million copies — a respectable amount, but not close to the number of units moved by ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached last March.

But don’t think that the boys were too black and blued by their sales. They did, after all, break an international first-week record, selling 5 million copies worldwide. And that should make anyone feel larger than life.

Get It Right Next Time

Much of the recent blame for the premature and inaccurate election night projections has been focused on the Voter News Service (VNS), the consortium set-up by the major networks, news channels, and Associated Press to provide exit polling numbers. Now, in a report to the Justice Department, an independent action group called the American Antitrust Institute is demanding that the VNS breakup.

Meanwhile, Canadian anchors, who were reporting their country’s own federal elections on Monday, must have learned a lot from America’s mistakes. Although it was always clear that the Liberal Party would win, news bureaus opted not to announce the results until final tallies were in.

E-News, In Brief …

Ol’ Dirty Bastard was finally caught by police after fleeing a drug rehab program last month … Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney is the richest rock star, worth about $750 million … Due to election fever, cable news networks are reporting a viewership increase of 230 percent compared to last November … British tabloids report that Madonna will marry Guy Ritchie in December … Illusionist David Blaine was freed from a block of ice last night in New York’s Times Square, after a 62-hour televised stunt for ABC — he was immediately rushed to the hospital

Archived article by David Kaplan