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David Letterman scraps an anti- CBS top 10 list

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Jennifer Lopez
Lopez: Isabel Stolte/AP/Wide World

TUBE NEWS Everybody knows David Letterman likes to pick on his own network, CBS. But apparently the late night host crossed a line with a proposed top 10 list for Tuesday, Feb. 6. According to Paulette Osborne, a second row studio audience member of Tuesday’s show, Dave had originally read ”Top 10 Reasons Audiences Should Sue CBS,” referring to ”Survivor” loser Stacy Stillman’s lawsuit against the network. Osborne says the list included zingers like ”People are dying while they watch ‘Diagnosis Murder,”’ and the top reason, ”Because they have to watch the sucky shows on CBS instead of the good shows on NBC.” ”It was very funny,” Osborne tells EW.com. ”And it was just like him. He’s edgy and makes fun of everybody.”

However, after the show, which featured Jennifer Lopez, the producers asked audience members to stay put, so Letterman could read a second Top 10 list. This one, which made it to the air, was: ”Top 10 Things Dumb Guys Think J-Lo Means.” Although a Letterman spokesperson told the New York Post, ”We had no contact with the network about the Top 10. We substituted the J-Lo Top 10 because we thought it was funnier and fit better into the show,” Osborne says the original was ”much funnier” and that Letterman seemed ”rushed” and ”visibly annoyed” during the redo. ”He was matter of fact in his delivery, without ad libbing or joking like he had in the first one. It was really disappointing.”

BOX OFFICE Sure, ”Hannibal” will gulp down the monster’s share of earnings at the box office this weekend. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room at the table for Friday’s only other wide release, ”Saving Silverman.” Columbia Pictures had originally scheduled the youth targeted romantic comedy (starring ”American Pie”’s Jason Biggs) to debut Feb. 16 when, analysts say, it would have been buried by two other date flicks, ”Sweet November” (starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron) and ”Down to Earth” (with funny man Chris Rock).

Instead, the distributor opted to release the PG-13 film when it will be the only new alternative to this weekend’s R rated box office leviathan — a move analysts say will help it to a No. 2 debut with a respectable $8.5 million take. ”It’s classic counterprogramming. ‘Hannibal”s not to everyone’s taste, no pun intended,” says Paul Dergarabedian of tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. Theaters showing ”Hannibal” are likely to sell out throughout the country and the underage crowd will be barred from the graphic thriller, points out Robert Bucksbaum of Reel Source. This means many movie goers will wind up watching ”Silverman” by default. ”You got to hand it to them, [Columbia’s] marketing was brilliant on this film.” — Lori Reese

MAY DAY Universal Pictures has announced plans to release ”The Mummy Returns” on May 4 this year — one week earlier than previously expected. Of course, films switch release dates all the time, but for years the summer blockbusters began Memorial Day weekend. Now, thanks to two years of May successes, ”The Mummy” (May 7, 1999) and ”Gladiator” (May, 5, 2000), studios are stretching out the movie industry’s most profitable season to include all of May. ”We’ve got the goods, and one more week of summer playing time will be a great bonus for us,” said Nicki Rocco, Universal’s head of distribution, to the Associated Press. Plus, that gives the sequel, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, an extra week before the holiday weekend releases of Disney’s WWII epic ”Pearl Harbor” and DreamWorks’ heavily promoted animated pic ”Shrek.”

TOUR NEWS When a boy group meets a girl group… Dream, Bad Boy Records’ new girl band, has been chosen as the opening act for 98 Degrees‘ upcoming tour, according to MTV.com. 98 Degrees’ latest album, ”Revelation,” has sold more than 2 million copies, with their latest single, ”My Everything,” currently No. 34 on Billboard’s singles chart. Dream’s ”It Was All a Dream” is the No. 9 album this week, and their first single, ”He Loves U Not,” debuted on the charts at No. 9. The two groups will perform in 25 cities from March 22’s kickoff in Lexington, Ky., to the final concert May 6 in San Diego.

AWARDS ALERT The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has voted to add two new primetime categories to recognize reality TV at the Emmy Awards. Effective this year, ”outstanding nonfiction programming” will acknowledge shows which aren’t game shows or contests (like ”Popstars,” ”Making the Band,” etc.). ”Survivor” and ”Big Brother” can duke it out in the ”nonfiction programming special class” division, which will honor reality series with prize winners. Overall, it’s good news for the networks, as long as Richard Hatch doesn’t show up naked at the Emmys.

CANCELED The show is over, and jigglevision will never be the same. ”Baywatch” will air its series finale this May, after 11 years of entertaining beach and bikini lovin’ audiences around the world. According to Reuters, execs from the show’s producer, Pearson Television North America, said the lifeguard lifestyle was harder to sell to advertisers these days. ”Things have a natural life, and in our view it has run a natural life,” Brian Harris, Pearson CEO, said. Well, at least its LIFE was natural.

REEL DEAL ”The Gift” star Giovanni Ribisi is making a romantic comedy with his twin sister Marissa (”Grown Ups”) and their showbiz mom, Gay. Marissa will star, Giovanni will cameo, and Gay will produce the movie, ”Spencer.” Sis wrote the script with pals Meredith Morton and Shane Edelman, who will make his directorial debut on the indie. Other cast members include Jesse Bradford (”Bring It On”), Mia Kirshner (”Exotica”), David Krumholtz (”Slums of Beverly Hills), and Brad Pitt lookalike Brad Rowe.

‘HEART’ ATTACK ”Sports Night” star Felicity Huffman is in final negotiations to star opposite Tony Shalhoub (”Stark Raving Mad”) in CBS’ medical drama pilot, ”Heart Department.” Huffman will play a cardiologist who accepts a post at her old friend’s (Shalhoub) California teaching hospital.

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