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Animal group investigates ''Survivor'''s pig killing

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Michael Skupin, Survivor: The Australian Outback

CAMERA HOG Australian animal protection authorities are investigating the wild pig killing aired on ”Survivor” last week. Queensland’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will view the episode — in which Kucha tribe member Michael Skupin butchers the animal with a knife — to determine whether the show breached the state’s Animal Protection Act. Since many Australian hunters are licensed to kill the pigs, it’s unlikely that charges will be filed. Furthermore, no one really knows whether that was the only killing that took place on the show. After all, Alicia looked pretty furious at Kimmi.

SWEET DEAL After turning the comic strip / cartoon ”X-Men” into a hit, director Bryan Singer has struck a deal with Studios USA to update the classic television series ”Battlestar Galactica” for the USA Network. Although the futuristic show aired on ABC for only one season, from 1978 to 1979, it retains one of the most loyal followings in the sci fi industry, making a reinvention as plausible a hit as ”Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Singer plans to executive produce the series and direct the pilot, if the shooting schedule doesn’t interfere with his ”X-Men” 2 duties. Somewhere in the heavens, Lorne Greene is smiling.

CHART ATTACK It’s been another great week for Shaggy, whose album ”Hotshot” held on to the No. 1 spot on the charts. The MCA record sold 294,000 copies last week. Settled into the No. 2 spot is the Beatles with ”1,” which moved another 201,000 units. The ”Save The Last Dance” soundtrack won’t budge from No. 3, selling 162,000 copies. Dido‘s ”No Angel” bumped up two spots to claim a No. 4 finish for the week, the singer’s highest showing to date. Jennifer Lopez‘s ”J.Lo” dropped another peg to No. 5. Rounding out the top 10 are Sade‘s ”Lovers Rock” (No. 6), Lenny Kravitz‘s ”Greatest Hits” (No. 7), Ja Rule‘s ”Rule 3:36” (No. 8), Crazy Town‘s ”Gift of Game” (No. 9), and Ludacris‘ ”Back for the First Time” (No. 10).

LEGAL BRIEF Rappers don’t have all the fun. Country singers Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney may have to stand trial in a Buffalo suburb in May for hijacking a police horse. According to AP, Chesney took a joyride on an Orchard Park, N.Y., police horse there last June that led to a scuffle with local sheriff’s deputies. McGraw is accused of grabbing an officer by the neck while he was helping to remove Chesney from the horse; his charges include assault, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, and harassment — a series of misdemeanors that could add up to a year in prison. As for horse happy Chesney, who was given permission to sit on the animal but not to ride him, he was charged with harassment after refusing to dismount. An Orchard Park judge is reviewing a request from the singers’ lawyers to throw out the case.

REMAKE Pop divas Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and Pink are teaming to remake the Patti LaBelle disco classic ”Lady Marmalade.” You know the one: ”Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” The cover of the 1975 hit will be featured on the ”Moulin Rouge” soundtrack. The updated ”Marmalade” will be released April 27, the first single from the much anticipated soundtrack. The film, directed by Aussie Baz Luhrmann, stars Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, and John Leguizamo and hits theaters May 4. According to SonicNet.com, the album will also feature updates of David Bowie’s ”Diamond Dogs” (by Beck and Timbaland), DeBarge’s ”Rhythm of the Night” (by Latin singer Valeria), and ”The Sound of Music” (by none other than Ozzy Osbourne).

AWARD The man who could make his guitar talk, Peter Frampton, received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the trophy for best guitar performance (”Off the Hook”) at this year’s Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards. ”Off the Hook” was up for a Grammy on Wednesday night for best rock instrumental performance, but lost out to Metallica’s collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, which won for ”The Call of Ktulu.” Other winners of the 2001 Orvilles, presented Tuesday, include: Grammy’s best new artist Shelby Lynne, best female country guitarist; Emmylou Harris, best female acoustic guitarist; and Alabama’s Jeff Cook, best male country guitarist.

REUNION Oh, that Larry King. The King of Talk reunited the ”Who Wants To Marry a Multimillionaire” couple Darva Conger and Rick Rockwell on his Wednesday night episode of ”Larry King Live.” The two, who sat by side, were chilly but civil toward each other. ”I’m so sorry I put myself in that situation. I never should’ve been there,” Conger claimed about her participation in the controversial game show. Rockwell replied later, ”I don’t understand how somebody could go on a show like that; there is nothing ambiguous about the title of the show.” But according to Conger, she thought the game was fixed and that Fox had already chosen the woman who’d marry Rockwell.

CASTING Jennifer Lopez has a new onscreen beau: ”Judging Amy” star Dan Futterman, who will play J.Lo’s ex- boyfriend in the domestic violence thriller ”Enough.” Michael Apted (”The World Is Not Enough”) is the director. Gerard Depardieu and Stellan Skarsgard (”Breaking the Waves”) have signed on to the directorial debut of Matt Dillon. ”Beneath the Banyan Trees,” a $17.5 million thriller, also stars James Caan and Natascha McElhone (”Love’s Labour’s Lost”). Dillon started production this week in Cambodia.

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