ANNIVERSARY PARTY NBC’s ”Today” celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday with an event possible only once every half-century: a brief simulcast with CBS rival ”The Early Show.” The CBS morning show tracked host Bryant Gumbel‘s visit to his former colleagues on the NBC set a few blocks away, where he sat in the anchor chair from 1982 to 1997.
Other visiting alumni included Florence Henderson, Estelle Parsons, Hugh Downs, Barbara Walters, Deborah Norville, Jane Pauley, and Tom Brokaw, who recalled that he once overslept during his host gig but no one noticed. ”They started the show without me.”
The show also paid tribute to its 1950s roots with a guest chimp named Jonas (in apparent homage to early ”Today” simian star J. Fred Muggs), who got a little too, um, excited around Katie Couric. ”Jonas and I are having a baby,” she announced after the show. ”He got a little frisky.”
REEL DEALS James Cameron‘s films have always featured strong women — think Linda Hamilton in the ”Terminator” movies, Sigourney Weaver in ”Aliens,” even Kate Winslet in ”Titanic.” His next project will have a whole army of strong women. It’s an adaptation of ”Last of the Amazons,” a soon-to-be-published novel by Steven Pressfield, in which the tribe of women warriors attacks ancient Greece. It’s not clear whether Cameron, who hasn’t been behind the camera since ”Titanic” in 1997, will direct or just produce. Pressfield has a similar project in the works with ”Ali” director Michael Mann, who plans to adapt the novelist’s ”Gates of Fire,” an epic of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C….
Robert Downey Jr. may be returning to a life of crime, this time on screen. He’s in talks to star in ”Six Bullets From Now,” a docudrama about the biggest hotel robbery in history, the armed theft of $10 million in jewels from New York’s Pierre Hotel in 1972. Stephen T. Kay (”Get Carter”) is shooting the film this spring. In true Hollywood great-minds-think-alike fashion, there’s a competing project in development based on the same event, a DreamWorks adaptation of Ira Berkow‘s 1988 book, ”The Men Who Robbed the Pierre.”…