January 26, 2001

Entertainment News

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She’s So Lucky, She’s a Star

“If Madonna can do it, so can I.” That thought must have gone through young Britney Spears’ mind last year when she decided to make the music-to-movie transition.

Entertainment Weekly Online reports that Spears has signed into a 10 million dollar film deal, which was budgeted largely by her label, Jive Records. The as-yet-untitled flick follows an eclectic group of high schoolers road trippin’ to a musical event.

But this isn’t the first time Spears has been wrapped in celluloid. In 1999, she had a cameo in boy band guru Lou Pearlman’s romantic company, Longshot, which is due out later this spring.

The Britney rumor mill is also churning with news about a possible musical pairing with Madonna. Apparently, the Material Girl loves Spears’ work and wants to do a song with her.

Decision 2001

Starting next Thursday, rival networks NBC and CBS will battle for viewers in one of the most intense programming showdowns in recent history. The reality-based series Survivor 2: The Australian Outback and the sitcom Friends, both wildly successful shows (especially among the coveted 18-49 age group), will air head-to-head on Thursdays at 8 p.m. And, of course, that leaves viewers with a hefty choice to make.

But it is particularly Survivor’s second half-hour that has unnerved programming heads over at NBC. After all, it’s during this time that the important and always entertaining “Tribal Council” convenes, which has traditionally captured the most viewers. Knowing that, the clever executives at NBC have designed a plan to counter the competition for the entire hour block.

Starting next week, Friends episodes will be extended to 40 minutes in length, followed immediately by 20 minutes of live skits from Saturday Night Live. “Super-sizing” their lineup, as the network bills it, will hopefully keep viewers tuned into NBC throughout the entire 8 o’clock hour.

So with such an intelligent format designed by the NBC execs, will Survivor 2 get voted off viewers’ must-see lists? It’s difficult to predict, but NBC has no plans to give up the fight anytime soon. In fact, they have also ordered special 40 minute episodes of Will and Grace and Just Shoot Me to air in the post-Friends slot in the coming weeks.

Bye, Bye, Bye?

The boys from ‘N Sync may be detaching themselves in the near future.

E! Online reports that several members of the pop fivesome are eager to leave the band, at least temporarily, to pursue individual endeavors.

Sources say that lead heartthrob Justin Timberlake, in particular, wishes to ditch the group. Apparently watching gal pal Britney Spears get casted in a feature film has piqued his interest in pursuing big screen work too.

And with any luck at all, he’ll be tearing up the box office.

E-News, In Brief

Elizabeth Taylor’s publicist claims that she was not properly prepared for her stint as presenter of the Best Picture award at the Golden Globes last Sunday. Taylor appeared on stage, obviously disoriented and aloof, and nearly announced the award winner before reading the nominees … Robert Downey Jr. is set to shoot 11 more episodes for Ally McBeal … Goth rocker Marilyn Manson and actress Rose McGowan have split after nearly three years of dating … Molly Shannon will be leaving Saturday Night Live on February 17th to pursue her film career … the New York Daily News reports that Sean “Puffy” Combs has split up with Jennifer Lopez.

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