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October 28, 1999

This week, bizbuzz is brought to you by:
hollywoodins.jpg
and Billy Cardwell.

Beginning Nov. 30, Gregory Hines will join NBC's "Will & Grace" in a recurring role as a successful lawyer who develops a relationship with Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing). According to industry insiders, Hines will be tapdancing from apartment to apartment to use those hips of the duo.

The latest first-run action hour to debut in syndication, "Beastmaster" from Tribune Entertainment, has outranked all other new weeklies in Nielsen Media Syndication rankings. The sword-and-sorcery series debuted with a 2.7 rating for the week ending Oct. 17. This was strong enough to outrank such high-profile weekly action freshmen as "Peter Benchley's Amazon," "The Lost World" and "Relic Hunter," AKA NOT TOMB RAIDER, all of which tied at a 2.0 for the week. Godo and Kodo are usually mentioned as the sole reason the series is as successful as it is, but when reached for a comment, they denied rumors that they are taking time off from the series because of a special relationship with Richard Gere.

Fox Broadcasting Co. has canceled new Friday dramas "Ryan Caulfield: Year One" and "Harsh Realm" as it and other networks begin programming maneuvers to fix primetime trouble spots in advance of the November sweep. Fox's decision to pull the plug on the 20th Century Fox TV-produced "Harsh Realm" after three airings drew a pointed response from creator Chris Carter. Carter said he felt that the network gave the show precious little advance promotion and then added insult to injury by not giving it a chance to find an audience anywhere on the Fox schedule. When questioned, David Duchovny added that had the "Harsh Realm" actually been set in his backyard, the series would have been a ga-ron-teed smash hit, but as usual, no one asked him.

Lars Von Trier's The Idiots, which provoked controversy at the Cannes Film Festival last year because of an explicit orgy scene -- but which nevertheless was passed by British film censors this year -- has now been banned in Ireland. The country's chief censor, Sheamus Smith, ruled on Monday that the film was "likely to deprave or corrupt" viewers. Geraldine Jeffers of Metro Tartan, which distributes the film, said the company is considering an appeal. She adds, "Have you seen the nasty things they do with a potato? I mean, really, is an orgy all that bad when compaired?"

Adding to Fox TV's woes, Monday's premiere of Time of Your Life, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt produced disappointing ratings as it attracted fewer than half the number of viewers who watched the season premiere of Ally McBeal, which followed it. It did score very well with people named after pops. HGNews would just like to add that JLH is DA BOMB.

The landlord of Planet Hollywood's flagship restaurant padlocked and changed locks on the property early Tuesday and demanded some $800,000 in overdue rent, published reports said. The London restaurant, which opened in 1993 with backing from Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Christopher Reeve, was able to open for business within a few hours after its London manager, Johnny Dukes, forked over funds to cover the rent. HGNews has uncovered the reason that things were unpaid. Stallone is driftwood, Arnie is off fighting Satan, Willis and Swayze are ghosts and Moore is in a strip contest. Reeves would have paid, but he couldn't reach his wallet.

Congress is close to an agreement that would allow celebrities to stop so-called cybersquatters from using their famous names to lure Web surfers to Internet sites. The bill, if enacted, would give the names of famous people the same kinds of protections on the Internet as a trademarked company name such as Disney.com or Warnerbros.com.
The legislation was actually pushed by the major studios, which wanted to make sure that their trademarked status was extended to the Internet.
If President Clinton signs the bill into law, a famous actor such as Tom Cruise will be able to block a cybersquatter from exploiting TomCruise.com without permission. The same is true for a company, such as Disney, which wants to protect its Disney.com Web site.
Some celebrities have gone through the lengthy and expensive process of trademarking their names, but it is not common, according to trademark attorneys.
Because this law hasn't taken effect yet, some celebs have been forced to take on domain names that aren't their actual names. For example:

MCHammer had to take bankruptpreacher.com
Meatloaf took I'mkeepingthetits.com
Bruce Willis took deadandnowaghost.com
Kevin Spacey took IdoadamnfineWalkenimpersonation.com
Vanilla Ice took whiterapperwithonehitthatreallyshouldn'tbeahit.com
Brad Pitt took figmentofedwardnorton'simagination.com

Andy Richter isnít wasting any time preparing for life after "Late Night with Conan OíBrien": Heís already snagged a part in helmer Robert Altmanís upcoming "Dr. T & The Women." Role reps the first project Richter has committed to since August, when he announced plans to ankle NBCís "Late Night" in May 2000. The comicís last major feature role was in the comedy "Cabin Boy." Richter will play a hunting buddy of the gynecologist character played by Richard Gere in the movie. Isn't it ironic that they're beaver trappers? I like to think so.

Contrary to earlier reports, David Hasselhoff is not likely to return to Baywatch next season, the New York Post reported. The newspaper, citing Hasselhoff's manager, Jan McCormick, said that Hasselhoff intends to devote full time to producing and starring in a new syndicated adventure series, AKA Picasso. Picasso is a new series about the painter and his time spent doing beach landscapes, but people keep getting in trouble, so he has to save them by running around in slo-mo.

The proprietors of a New York collectibles store won the bidding on Wednesday for the dress that Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy in 1962. Robert Schagrin and Peter Siegel, owners of Gotta Have It Collectibles, paid $1.2 million at the Christie's auction in New York and immediately proclaimed that they had got "the bargain of the century." They said that they expect to resell it for $3 million. The big seller was, of course, a dress what was found to have been stained by not only Joe Dimaggio, John Kennedy, but also Robert Kennedy and Babe Ruth, although by then, he was so riddled with VD that this stain isn't as large as the others.

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