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Eric Clapton and James Taylor join the Rock Hall of Fame

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Eric Clapton
Gregg de Guire/LFI

TOP ROCKERS If you’ve always thought that rock & roll was just too damn loud, then you’ll be happy at the mellow roster of this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Earth, Wind & Fire; the Lovin’ Spoonful; the Moonglows; Bonnie Raitt; James Taylor; and Eric Clapton. It’s actually Clapton’s third Hall of Fame induction, having been welcomed before as a member of Cream and the Yardbirds. Also receiving honors will be Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday as ”early Influences,” and Clive Davis will be inducted as a Non-Performer (possibly the only good news the Arista prez has gotten since his potential ousting from the record company became public last month). The ceremony will be held on March 6, and VH1 will air it later that month.

NOMINATED Women dominated the nominations for this year’s American Music Awards. Shania Twain, Britney Spears, and Whitney Houston led the pack with three nominations each, while such progesterone-free acts as Backstreet Boys, Garth Brooks, and Kid Rock followed up with two each. This distaff advantage reflects the nation’s tastes, since the nominees are selected based on album sales and radio play, while a national poll will decide the winners. Whether anyone will care who the winners are when they’re announced on Jan. 17 is another thing: Last year the awards show got its worst rating ever, beating the previous basement record set the year prior.

REUNITED? The most dysfunctional relationship in Hollywood continues, and we’re not talking about Pamela and Tommy Lee: Kevin Costner is talking about reteaming with his ”Waterworld” director, Kevin Reynolds, for the pirate action movie ”Ocra Coke,” according to Variety. Not only did the two Kevins publicly battle when working on ”Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” but Reynolds ended up leaving ”Waterworld” before it was finished because of highly publicized ”artistic differences.” The prop department better make sure the cat-o’-nine-tails is hidden at all times.

REEL DEALS Sarcasm’s back, and pay cable’s got it! Janeane Garofalo is finalizing a $1.75 million deal to develop a half-hour comedy series for HBO. (No concept has been announced yet)…. ”Fawlty Towers” fans take hope: John Cleese has created a new sitcom for ABC, but he will not act in it. The untitled comedy takes place in a law office run by the devil’s emissaries…. Because the Brady Bunch will never ever ever go away, NBC is developing a TV movie based on Barry Williams’ 1992 memoir, ”Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg”…. Master P‘s No Limit Films has signed a five-picture deal with Trimark, with some of the films possibly going straight to video.

THE WORST How quickly fortunes turn: The Spice Girls were named Worst Group of 1999, according to a poll in Britain’s Smash Hits magazine, in which they were declared Best Group two years ago. The Girls are hardly forgotten, though: They kicked off a small tour in England this weekend to a stadium full of screaming girls. But to be fair, some of them could have been screaming, ”You’re the Worst Group of 1999!”

SPLIT Coming just short of the joy that is a one-year anniversary, Alyssa Milano and her husband, Remy Zero singer Cinjun Tate, have filed for divorce, according to MTV News. The couple married Jan. 1, and since then managed to come up with some irreconcilable differences.

PAYDAY ESPN signed a six-year contract with Major League Baseball worth $800 million. This unbelievable sum (which breaks down to $133 million a year) triples the sports net’s previous payment, but will increase its baseball programming from 30 hours a year to 290 for it and its sister channel, ESPN2. This generous deal was struck just as the two sides’ relationship was at its worst: They were about to go to federal court over a dispute over their previous contract because MLB was angry that ESPN wanted to bump three Sunday-night baseball games to ESPN2 to make room for NFL matches. But it’s amazing how $800 million will make a lawsuit seem oh so disposable.

BIRTH Emma Thompson, 40, has given birth to a baby girl. Her husband, actor Greg Wise, said they have no name yet, but joked that for now they were calling her ”Jane.com.” Ahh, cyberhumor: What could be more topical?

LEGAL VICTORY Traci Lords was awarded nearly $130,000 in her lawsuit against the company distributing her only legal porn film without permission. ”Traci, I Love You” was the only boink film she made at the age of 18 (she was 14-17 in the rest of her canon, therefore those tapes are illegal to buy and sell in the U.S.), and she did not give permission for Caballero Control Corp. to sell it. ”I made a mistake,” Lords said to the Associated Press about her previous life as a shtup artist. ”I’m now 31 years old. That’s a long time ago. I’ve been waiting for my debt to be paid and now it has.”

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