NO SURPRISE After nearly three increasingly bizarre years, Michael Jackson and his wife Debbie Rowe have officially split. Their divorced life will be barely distinguishable from their married one, since Rowe always lived 150 miles south of Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. There has been no news on who will get custody of their two children, and as for the cause of the split, a spokesman for the singer said, ”Michael and Debbie remain friends and they ask that the public respect their desire not to further comment or speculate upon the reasons for their decision.”
GENEROUS PATIENT Looking for a get-rich-quick scheme? Just try saving Stephen King‘s life. He’s just donated $40,000 to the rescue service that came to his aid after he was hit by a van so it can buy the new ambulance that it desperately needed. This comes after two earlier donations he made of $100,000 each to the two hospitals where he was treated.
CASTING Catherine Zeta-Jones may star with Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone‘s ”Beyond Borders,” a love story between a doctor and a relief worker who travel around the world to UN help camps. After three months on a set with the opinionated Stone and Costner, Zeta-Jones may qualify for relief donations herself…. In Adam Sandler‘s next movie, ”Little Nicky,” he plays the son of Satan. And being wooed to play Satan Sr.? Harvey Keitel We vote for Chris Walken instead…. Cate Blanchett has joined the ”Lord of the Rings” cast, as Galadriel, elf queen of Lorien. This may not mean much to you, but J.R.R. Tolkien fans are grabbing their plastic swords and flocking to chat rooms as we speak…. Musician Dave Matthews will make his movie debut in a remake of the children’s story, ”Where the Red Fern Grows,” costarring Dabney Coleman and Ned Beatty…. Claudia Schiffer will costar with Daniel Baldwin in the lawyer-gets-framed-for-murder thriller ”In Pursuit.”
RECORD-BREAKER With Mariah Carey‘s ”Heartbreaker” at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart for the second week in a row, the singer has now bested the Beatles’ record for most cumulative weeks at No. 1. This doesn’t mean she’s had more separate No. 1 songs (she’s had 14, compared to the Fab Four’s 20), but totaling the weeks that they’ve all stayed at the top, she comes out ahead.
RECORD RELEASES Alanis Morissette has taped an ”MTV Unplugged” show to air Nov. 1, and will also release an unplugged album Nov. 16…. In addition to acting, Dave Matthews is also preparing a new live double album from his band that will be released Nov. 23. Film costars Dabney Coleman and Ned Beatty will NOT be featured soloists!
VAGUELY FAMILIAR If you thought that Renny Harlin‘s ”Deep Blue Sea” was a rip-off of ”Jaws,” just wait until you see what he does with ”The X-Files.” Fox has ordered a TV pilot of his show ”T.r.a.x.,” which follows a special division of the police department that investigates the occult.
ROBBED The rock & roll thief has struck again. Following the rash of instrument burglaries that have plagued Sonic Youth and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Live guitarist Chad Taylor has had his 1960 Fender Jazz Master guitar (which he called ”Ruby Lou”) stolen sometime after his band’s Pensacola, Fla., concert Wednesday night, according to MTV News. Taylor has posted a picture of his instrument on the Live website, and pleaded that ”Ruby Lou has been my main tool of expression for the past five years. All of the passion and love for music that I have has been channeled through that guitar. Please help me find it.”
EXTENDED Amidst all the bad news of debuting shows already being canceled, it’s nice to have some good news: UPN has just extended ”The Parkers” and ”Grown Ups” to full-season orders. Hopefully there’s room for Mike O’Malley to come aboard either show as a goofy neighbor. After all, the man’s gotta eat.
THE KING ON SALE If you still believe Elvis Presley is alive but doesn’t need his stuff anymore, hop a plane to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this weekend for an auction of over 5,000 of Elvis’ belongings. Just like the vote a few years ago between the ”Young Elvis” and ”Old Elvis” stamps, you can choose with your purchases how you want to remember the King. If you prefer the sprightly, sexy Presley of the 50s, bid on his 1956 Lincoln Continental, his Army fatigues, or his first piano. But if you keep his later tacky, gun-toting, bloated memory closer to your heart, go for his Walther handgun or his ”Burning Love” starburst cape. Daughter Lisa Marie donated the memorabilia from Graceland, and all proceeds will go to a housing development for the homeless called ”Presley Place.”
LAWSUIT Milton Berle‘s lawsuit against a gay publication for unauthorized use of his photo in an ad which he says implies he is gay has been thrown out. A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles dismissed the case because the ad was for a Century 21 in Illinois, therefore out of that court’s jurisdiction. The advertisement appeared in the spring/summer issue of the gay resource guide Lambda’s Out! and featured a classic photo of Berle in drag, with the tag line ”…every queen deserves a castle.” The 91-year-old comic — who says he’s all for gays, but wants it clear that his own infamous manhood is strictly for the ladies — plans to refile the case in Illinois.
EDITED John Cleese has arranged for a clip of a train crash to be removed from an upcoming Monty Python anniverary special in sensitivity to Tuesday’s train collision near London. ”[Monty Python] always specialized in bad taste, but there are some jokes you could never do,” he told the Associated Press. The 30th-year celebration, complete with new Python material, will air on the BBC this Saturday night.