- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 26, 2003

Clean and sober

Internet Movie Database

“Spider-Man” star Tobey Maguire’s calm exterior hides a deep, dark secret — he’s a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The 28-year-old vegetarian has managed to escape the “Hollywood hell-raiser” tag, but Mr. Maguire admits things weren’t always under control behind closed doors before he sought the help of AA.

“It totally changed my life,” Mr. Maguire is quoted as saying in Wednesday’s Internet Movie Database. “It’s derivative of all religions and all philosophical practices. AA is no-frills spirituality. There are no hokey traditions. The program makes sense to me. It’s just all practical. I’m an analytical guy. A thinker. There are no holes in the program. I like the osteopath because there are results. This has results, too. It’s a little clunky, because it was created in the ‘30s. It’s a little sexist, I guess — it talks about ‘the man’ a lot. But the truths within it are astounding.”

Fowl play

Jason Alexander has been dropped from his multimillion-dollar-a-year job as spokesman for KFC — and animal rights zealots say it’s because he ruffled corporate feathers about KFC’s treatment of chickens, the New York Post’s Page Six reported Wednesday.

The “Seinfeld” second banana had met with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are lobbying to have the birds gassed rather than beheaded. “After we showed him the horrible conditions under which KFC raises and kills its chickens, Jason was horrified,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk tells MSNBC.com’s Jeannette Walls. “He told us he wanted to feel good about whatever company he was promoting, and he was putting pressure on KFC to make changes. He told us, and this is a quote, ‘I am your ally.’ KFC couldn’t be happy with that.”

In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Alexander said: “I have done commercials since I was a child and fully understand that two years is an enormous success for an on-air representative and a company. KFC has been a wonderful company with which to work … I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and their fine product, and I wish them continued success in the future.”

CBS taps Tyson’s ex

Reuters News Agency/Hollywood Reporter

Robin Givens, the first wife of former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, has joined Farrah Fawcett and Melissa Gilbert in “Hollywood Wives: The New Generation,” a CBS TV movie based on Jackie Collins’ best-selling novel.

The project centers on a Hollywood superstar (Miss Fawcett) who, fed up with her fourth husband’s cheating, hires a private investigator. Miss Givens and Miss Gilbert play the star’s best friends, a sultry soul singer and an actress married to a powerful Hollywood director, respectively. Filming is scheduled to begin next month.

Miss Givens most recently co-starred in the Chris Rock comedy “Head of State.”

Muppets on terrorism

Associated Press

The Muppets have more to offer than lessons on numbers, letters and shapes. Now they’re teaching children about fear, violence and war.

The nonprofit group behind “Sesame Street” announced plans Wednesday to distribute 75,000 copies of a video called “You Can Ask!” that encourages children to ask their parents when they are confused about feelings.

The video, paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is aimed at helping children cope with repeated media images of the September 11 terror attacks and other violence in the world.

“Too often, children in America are witnessing too much, too soon,” said Gary Knell, president and chief executive officer of Sesame Workshop.

The videos will be distributed this summer and fall to schools, mental health offices, crisis counselors and child care programs in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The producers hope to take the program nationwide.

Spike v. Spike TV

Hollywood Reporter

Spike Lee and Viacom will likely face off in court earlier than expected on the contested re-branding of cable network Spike TV.

New York state Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub proposed an expedited trial Monday that he would preside over without a jury and that could begin as early as July 7.

With previous indications that the case would not be on the docket until September, Viacom lawyers had urged a quicker resolution, citing the financial impact of delaying the introduction of Spike TV. The network, still carrying the name TNN, was scheduled to go live June 16. Justice Tolub granted Mr. Lee a preliminary injunction June 12 blocking the renaming of the network.

Mr. Lee, who is being represented by Johnnie Cochran Jr., had 24 hours to respond to the proposal. Even if the proposal is declined, Justice Tolub indicated that the trial will be expedited to some degree by the end of August. The jurist also sought to narrow the focus for the pending trial to the issue of “identifiability,” or the likelihood that consumers would mistakenly presume Mr. Lee was associated with Spike TV. The trial would put aside claims related to unfair competition in order to zero in on that issue.

@Text:Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from wire reports.

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