STRIKE Golfer Tiger Woods refused to cross picket lines to shoot a Nike commercial yesterday. (As reported earlier, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are on strike against the commercial industry. And Woods, along with anyone else who has appeared in more than one commercial, is a member, according to union code.) Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg said, ”We shot no commercial today and we have no plans to shoot any commercials for several weeks. There is a strike going on, and we’re abiding by it.” Nevertheless, Nike, who is reportedly negotiating with Woods on a five year endorsement deal worth $80-90 million, says, through a spokesperson, that they plan to have the Woods’ commercial completed in time for the U.S. Open which begins June 15.
MUSIC BIZ MOVES It’s official: Yesterday B.M.G. president and CEO Strauss Zelnick announced that L.A. Reid will replace Clive Davis as the president of Arista Records, home to Santana and Whitney Houston, once Davis’ contract expires at the end of June. This official announcement follows months of industry speculation. Davis is expected to announce plans for a new record company within the next few weeks…. Davis HAS announced that he will put his collection of 40 gold, platinum, and multiplatinum plaques up for charitable auction at Planetgiving.com to benefit such causes as Leukemia, Cancer, and AIDS Research. Now that’s a nice way to clean out an office.
TV NEWS ”South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have signed a deal with Comedy Central to keep the show on the network until 2003…. Reuters reports that comedian Steve Martin has signed a three-year, low six figure development and production deal with Carsey-Werner, the indie studio behind such hits as ”That ’70s Show” and ”3rd Rock From the Sun”…. According to the Electronic Urban Report, Queen Latifah announced on Issac Hayes‘ New York radio show that she will play ’20s blues singer Bessie Smith in an HBO movie…. Actor Danny Aiello has signed a deal with HBO to develop a series about a Las Vegas crooner to be played by Aiello…. HBO has also nabbed the rights to ”Just, Melvin,” the controversial documentary which screened at Sundance chronicling the history of sexual molestation within one family…. ABC will team with the producers of MTV’s ”The Real World” for a reality based series about a group of journalists who start an Internet magazine. No word on whether the network will once again ask Leonardo DiCaprio to play an actual newsman.
REEL DEALS Tony Scott (”Enemy of the State,” ”Top Gun”) will direct Disney’s ”Take Down,” about U.S. marshals in pursuit of a killer who is being protected by another government agency…. Director Bill Duke (”Hoodlum”) is in final talks to direct Ice Cube in Fine Line’s ”Pimp,” based on the life on the infamous Iceberg Slim…. Talk magazine, according to Reuters, has spent $50,000 for serial rights to ”American Rhapsody,” a forthcoming nonfiction book by megabucks screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (”Basic Instinct”) dealing with Hollywood, Washington politics, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Hmmm… how would a crotch shot translate to print?
RATINGS Monday’s celebrity installment of ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” drew 35.87 million viewers, the ABC game show’s largest audience yet. This is despite the fact that ABC’s dispute with Time Warner (EW’s parent company) kept all of ABC’s shows from 3.5 million households that day…. Ratings were dramatically down for cable news networks in April. Since last year, viewership dropped 43 percent for CNN, 40 percent for MSNBC, and 25 percent for Fox News.
GOLDEN OLDIES Nick at Nite announced Tuesday that it has acquired rights to ”The Facts of Life,” ”Gilligan’s Island,” and ”Family Ties.” And its sister network TV Land has acquired rights to ”Charlie’s Angels,” ”Barney Miller,” ”Miami Vice,” ”Get Smart,” and ”Chico and the Man” (which, for all you teenyboppers, is the show that launched the career of Freddie Prinze Jr.‘s dad).
BIRTHS Actress/singer Vanessa L. Williams gave birth to a baby girl, Sasha Gabriella Fox, on Monday in New York. Though Williams has three children from a former marriage, this is her first child with current husband Rick Fox.
OBITUARY Country music bandleader and disc jockey Bill Woods died of a stroke on Sunday at age 75…. Rapper Q-Don, 22 and a recent signee to Elektra Records, was shot and killed outside a nightclub in Philadelphia last Tuesday.