TV NEWS The normally behind the scenes ratings game is becoming about as subtle as WWF’s Smackdown! In an effort to battle CBS‘ open challenge to NBC‘s Must See TV lineup, the network has decided to lengthen episodes of ”Friends” — and schedule a blatant misnomer on Thursday nights opposite ”Survivor: The Australian Outback.”
A shortened prime time version of ”Saturday Night Live” will air in the 8 to 9 p.m. slot during February sweeps following extended 40 minute segments of ”Friends.” ”We’re always looking for a fresh, innovative approach to bring viewers to our programming,” NBC’s recently crowned entertainment prez Jeff Zucker told Reuters. Fittingly, the longer shows are being called ”super size” episodes. Does that mean they include fries and a Coke?
SPLIT Another lengthy Hollywood marriage has the gone the way of…a Hollywood marriage. Kim Basinger,47, has filed for divorce from Alec Baldwin, 42, according to E! Online. The couple wed in 1993; they have a 5 year old daughter, Ireland.
WEB MUSIC What does the Dave Matthews Band have in common with entertainment giant BMG? The group is teaming with Napster while they promote their upcoming album ”Everyday.” The rockers have placed a link to the song swapping service on their website so that fans can hear the album’s first single, ”I Did It,” before its Feb. 27 release…. It turns out that the Internet is also the best place for fans of Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin to find their recently recorded duet, ”Nobody Wants To Be Lonely.” Martin’s label, Columbia, is giving all those who shelled out dollars for the Latin singer’s ”Sound Loaded” two ways of getting the single for free. Go to Martin’s website and download the track after inserting a copy of the CD into the computer. Or, send a proof of purchase sticker to Nobody Wants To Be Lonely, P.O. Box 4000, Carrollton, GA 30117. We promise there are no Ginzu knives involved.
FEUD Meanwhile, one of Martin‘s songwriter collaborators is lashing out at the Latin singer’s decision to sing at an inaugural celebration bash for George W. this Thursday. The scribe, Robi ”Draco” Rosa, told SonicNet he was outraged to learn that Martin will perform his tune ”La Copa de la Vida” (”The Cup of Life”) at the event.
He says his anger is not directed at specifically at Martin. Rather ”it’s about Bush using my song and Latinos and Ricky as pawns,” Rosa said. ”I’m not going to be a monkey performing at the palace. I’m all for celebrating with my people, but only when it’s for something real.” Martin was not available for comment.
DEATHS Bryan Gregory, former guitarist for the seminal punk band The Cramps died after suffering a heart attack in Anaheim, Calif. The Cramps formed in 1975 and released two albums, the ”Gravest Hits” EP and ”Songs the Lord Taught Us.” Gregory was 46.