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''Survivor'' hits yet another ratings high as politicians tank

Plus, ”Harry Potter” casting, digital piracy, ”Scary Movie II,” the Wu-Tang Clan, and more

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Survivor
Rudy: Monty Brinton

‘SURVIVOR’ Guess what? ”Survivor” set yet another ratings record Wednesday. An estimated 28.7 million sat in front of the tube to watch Kelly and Sue catfight before Sean got the old heave ho, beating last week’s high of 28 million. Frighteningly, more people watched ”Survivor” than tuned in for the Democratic National Convention on all broadcast and cable networks…. Those numbers would hardly surprise the residents of Rudy Boesch‘s hometown. The AP reports that Norfolk, Va., was the No. 1 market for the show on Wednesday, as 30 percent of the city’s households cheered on their local hero. The town mayor is even preparing to proclaim a Rudy Boesch Day, in honor of the island’s resident grump. Yikes. Just imagine all the festive gay bashing, transforming of bible pages into toilet paper, and all around promotion of child beating that will go on.

POTTER WATCH J.K. Rowling may have won the ”Harry Potter” movie war. The latest youngster to earn presumptive glory in the ”who will be Harry” rumor mill is none other than English actor Gabriel Thomson. But beware: Word that the 13 year old star of BBC’s ”Great Expectations” and ”The New Adventures of Pinocchio” will take the lead in the Warner Bros. adaptation comes from the always entertaining — but sometimes inaccurate — movie site Ain’t It Cool News. The Thomson rumor replaces one claiming that — gasp! — New Jersey native Liam Aikin was to play Harry. AICN says that Warner will release the official news on Monday amid much wand waving and hoopla…. In other ”Harry” news, it appears Christians are planning to protest the movie when filming begins in October. According to ITN news service, the choice of 900 year old Gloucester Cathedral as the site of Harry’s school, Hogwarts, has angered a group of believers who say the movie will ”defile the site and promote witchcraft.” We thought that’s what tourists were for.

LEGALESE The Motion Picture Association of America has won its battle against digital piracy, in a court ruling that could prove more influential than the Napster dispute. On Thursday, a federal judge barred a journalist from republishing software that enables users to unscramble DVD code so it they can be copied or swapped on the Internet. The case took on constitutional magnitude when the defense claimed that preventing the re-publication of code would violate its clients’ right to free speech. (Software code is sometimes published on T-shirts and often discussed in correspondence among techies.) But the judge found that writing which enables the theft of intellectual property was not protected under the First Amendment. Does that mean we have to return those groovy shirts?

EVEN SCARIER We already knew they were lying when they promised ”no sequel,” but we didn’t know how soon they would break their word. ”Scary Movie II,” the follow-up to the highest grossing film in Miramax history ($144.8 mil and counting), is already in the works, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Director Keenen Ivory Wayans will reteam with his brothers — and ”Scary” writers and stars — Shawn and Marlon Wayans for the second spoof, which is slated to go into production this fall for a May release. Gee, how can we trust anyone now?

CRIME A reporter seeking an interview with the Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah claims that he was attacked by the group’s bodyguard, Ghostface, and bandmate U-God, reports SonicNet. The 24 year old correspondent for the Pacific News Service, Edward Wallace, claims that the three punched him several times in the head when he approached them for a promised interview after a performance at San Francisco’s Maritime Hall. The reporter was later hospitalized with a concussion and discharged. A spokesman for the rap group has declined to comment. But the Maritime’s president says that Wallace had no authorization to talk to the band and that he was aggressive about the interview. ”The band told him multiple times to leave [Ghostface Killah] alone,” he said in a statement. ”When he did not stop, a Wu-Tang bodyguard punched him in the mouth.”

TV News Showtime and ABC have become partners in horror. Variety reports that the two networks are teaming up to make a $14 million adaptation of Anne Rice‘s best-seller ”Feast of All Saints.” Showtime will reportedly get the premiere, while ABC will slot its run for summer 2001…. That notoriously untitled Fox John Goodman comedy has found a name at last: ”Normal, Ohio,” according to the daily industry paper. Producers had toyed with names like ”Butch” and ”Don’t Ask” before settling on something more, um, normal.

CAMPAIGN TUNES While the country tune ”We the People,” George W.‘s campaign song, makes him out to be a country boy cum man of the downtrodden, Al Gore is apparently trying to prove that he rocks. Those five people who DID happen to catch the Democratic Convention might have noticed that the Vice President has selected three real hum-dingers as his theme songs: Orleans’ ”You’re Still the One” (bet you didn’t know who penned that masterpiece), Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s ”You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (and we thought they’d been banned from the airwaves forever.), and — in a last-ditch effort to appear hip — Fatboy Slim’s ”Praise You” (presumably he saw the Volvo commercial). May we suggest alternatives? Styx’s ”Mr. Roboto” for Gore and BTO’s other hit ”Taking Care of Business” for Bush.