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Flashes: James Brown, Kelsey Grammer and Johnny Cash

Celebrities, TV shows and movies deals making news this week

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BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER: Naming a bridge after singer James Brown put Colorado’s Steamboat Springs (pop. 6,500) on the map. But almost two months after the Old Stock Bridge was replaced and rechristened the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge, the hamlet is still in an uproar. ”James Brown has nothing to do with us,” says Maybelle Chotvacs, a local who collected 1,100 signatures against America’s newest rock shrine before its dedication ceremony last September. ”I doubt he even knew Steamboat Springs existed.” City clerk Debi Carey says the name is here to stay, though she concedes the controversy has taken its toll: There is no sign marking the 328-foot bridge and no plans to put one up. Chotvacs insists her group will have the last word: ”We’ll probably still refer to it as the Stock Bridge, no matter what anyone else says.” Brown would not comment. —Jessica Shaw

MAD DOG AND GLORY: What’s the secret to Frasier‘s success? Hot-dog bits. That’s what the producers of the NBC series feed Eddie, the Jack Russell terrier whose weekly staredown of costar Kelsey Grammer is becoming as popular as Kramer’s entrance on Seinfeld. Trainer Mathilde DeCagny bribes the 3-year- old pooch, whose real name is Moose, with franks during rehearsals and feeds him homemade beef treats when the sitcom tapes before a live audience. ”Jack Russells are (usually) very hyper and stubborn, but he has a really good attitude toward work,” says DeCagny, who would not disclose just how much Eddie/Moose earns per episode. Says co-executive producer Christopher Lloyd, ”He’s a pretty quick study. The only problem we have now is that all the actors are expecting us to toss them hot-dog bits when they hit their marks.” —Casey Davidson

FINAL CUT: Paramount’s Blue Chips, starring Nick Nolte and Mary McDonnell, may be set in the world of college basketball, but it’s director William Friedkin who’s committing the fouls. According to a source, the mercurial Friedkin has been slamming things around in the editing room and recently ordered editor Robert Lambert to fire two assistants—including Lambert’s own son, Sean. Denying the fracas, a Paramount spokesman says the dismissals had less to do with temper than with the fact that ”the two assistants were not properly trained on the (new) editing system.” Friedkin and Lambert declined to comment, though the heat is on. Paramount, whose chief, Sherry Lansing, is married to Friedkin, is reportedly spending $26 million on the February release and another $26 million on the promotional budget. —Frank Spotnitz

PUMP UP THE VOLUME: What do celebs talk about over free weights? Since our inquiring minds had to know, we eavesdropped on a few at New York City’s Prescriptive Fitness gym, where Laura Dern was working out with beau Jeff Goldblum and Saturday Night Live‘s Kevin Nealon. Their topic of conversation? Jurassic Park II? Clinton’s health plan? No, just the tabloids. ”I don’t know what to believe,” Dern said to Nealon between reps. ”I mean, they had all the Burt and Loni stuff first.” Serves us right for being so nosy. —Casey Davidson

ACHTUNG JOHNNY: Being the country singer of choice among rockers hasn’t fazed Johnny Cash. The 61-year-old man in black is recording a new album with rap producer Rick Rubin. “I learned three new chords— now I know six,” jokes Cash, who doesn’t see the matchup with Rubin as strange. “I was familiar with his track record,” Cash says, “and I did a rap song—’A Boy Named Sue.'” He’s also nonchalant about filming a video for U2‘s “The Wanderer,” which Cash sings on Zooropa. “Bono wants me to wear black and walk around a lot,” Cash says. “I can handle that.” —David Browne