March 29, 2001

Entertainment News

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O Brother, Here We Go Again

With the potential strike of actors and writers looming in Hollywood, television networks are hell-bent on scheduling as much reality television as possible. That includes bringing last summer’s Big Brother back from the dead.

According to E! Online, the CBS website is detailing an entirely revamped Big Brother, which promises to be more Survivor-esque and nothing like last summer’s boring, saccharine lovefest. CBS describes the reality-based program as “a cutthroat, dramatic competition that will require players to use brain, brawn, and charm to win.” In other words, this time the contestants won’t just be sitting around a kitchen table laughing. Applications are being accepted through April 20.

MTV will also debut Becoming this May, in which fans vie to “become” their favorite celebrities, culminating in an appearance in a reshoot of a music video. Sister station VH1 will also park its own reality vehicle on April 1 with Bands on the Run. The series tracks the ups and downs of four unsigned rock groups as they compete for a record deal.

After every five concerts, one band is voted off the island, er, stage.

Short, but Not Sweet

Last Sunday’s annual Academy Awards ceremony may have been the shortest telecast in recent memory (clocking in at a record 3 hours and 25 minutes), but it is also garnered its lowest household ratings in television history. The brevity of this year’s ceremony is owed in part to producer Gil Cates, who was particularly pushy about curtailing acceptance speeches.

To encourage conciseness, Cates offered a High-Definition TV set to the winner who gave the least amount of thank-yous. (I don’t know why this would be much of an incentive, though, considering all of the winners probably own or can easily afford an HDTV of their own). In the end it was Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit, who expressed his gratitude for a mere 18 seconds.

Cates implemented a 45 second cap on speeches, but only six of the 23 Oscar winners complied. Among the deviants were Julia Roberts, who thanked for almost four minutes, claiming “I have a television, so I’m going to spend some time here to tell you some things.”

You go, girl.

Bad Napster! Bad!

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is not pleased with our good friend Napster. According to, the RIAA claims that Napster is still allowing millions of illegal music files to be traded among its users, even after a federal judge ordered the blocking of such material.

A complaint was filed by the RIAA late Tuesday at the San Francisco U.S. District Court, citing the ineffectiveness of Napster’s filtering software and calling for a more technologically advanced mechanism to eliminate infringing files. Napster CEO Hank Barry refuted, saying that the service is in full compliance with the court order and is successfully decreasing the total number of available files. Early this summer, Napster is planning to join forces with BMG to develop a subscription-based service.

E-News Bytes

Emulating her Pepsi-promoting counterpart Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera has now signed to a campaign with soft drink rival Coca-Cola … AOL Music, a new cable music channel, will premiere in 2002 … TNT executives expressed interest in attaching heart monitors to NASCAR drivers’ wives in the stands … Rapper Juvenile was arrested yesterday for beating a man with a champagne bottle.

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