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Stars on the rebound

”Jerry Springer,” Burt Reynolds, and Fleetwood Mac all staged comebacks this year

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Whoever said fame is fickle would certainly get votes from these resilient entertainers, who made new splashes after long dry spells. In other words, They’re baaaack!

MAC ATTACK When Fleetwood Mac got together to perform three concerts pegged to the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album, Rumours, fan reaction proved the gang shouldn’t stop thinking about tomorrow. The Dance, the reunited quintet’s first album in a decade, debuted at No. 1 on the pop chart, and the recent tour grossed more than $36 million.

THE RITES OF SPRINGER Trash-talk backlash be damned! This year, viewers wanted sleaze, and The Jerry Springer Show dished it out. The ex-Cincinnati mayor’s syndicated sideshow finished November sweeps as the No. 2 talk show, beating even Oprah among 18- to 34-year-olds Thanksgiving week. Although public furor led Springer to resign from a news-commentary spot on Chicago’s WMAQ, he upped his coolness factor with an X-Files cameo, and his Too Hot for TV! outtakes video is selling faster than you can say ”lesbian catfight.”

BLOND’S AMBITION Kim Basinger went from brassy to classy with her critically lauded role in L.A. Confidential as a call girl cut to look like Veronica Lake. Not bad for someone who last appeared on screen three years ago in the widely reviled Ready to Wear and The Getaway.

BURT ALERT I A year after Burt Reynolds heard vague Oscar rumblings for his portrayal of a sleazy congressman in Striptease (and after doing direct-to-video dreck like Frankenstein and Me), the buzz is building for his turn as Jack Horner, Boogie Nights‘ ambitious porn director. If the Academy denies him again, well, there’s always next year.

BURT ALERT II Burt Bacharach had a rebirth of near-Tony Bennett proportions thanks to a groovy cameo in Austin Powers and two tribute albums — one by pianist McCoy Tyner, another from avant-jazzbos John Zorn and Bill Frisell. Bonus: the Bacharach-fueled soundtrack to My Best Friend’s Wedding got the kids shimmying to ”I Say a Little Prayer” all over again.