Sinead O'Connor, Jodie Foster, and Tom Cruise made headlines this week

By EW Staff
Updated February 19, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

SNUBBING: Sinéad O’Connor’s papal protest has been excommunicated from Wayne and Garth’s Saturday Night Live Music A Go-Go, airing on NBC Feb. 21. Instead of giving audiences a chance to see O’Connor ripping the Pope’s photo again — arguably the most controversial musical moment in the show’s history — they’ll get a subdued Sinéad singing ”Last Day of Our Acquaintance” from a 1990 appearance. ”We thought it better to concentrate on her music rather than bring that up again and annoy a lot of people,” says producer John Head. Does this mean O’Connor is banned from future SNLs? ”We’re not going to say that,” says associate producer Liz Welch. ”If there’s a real reason to have her back, it’s possible.”…

MILKING: Astute filmgoers take note: In Sommersby, Jodie Foster plays a landowner’s wife with a cow, Clarice. Was it Foster’s idea to name the animal after her Silence of the Lambs character? ”No,” says a Warner spokeswoman, ”it was actually director Jon Amiel’s (Tune in Tomorrow).” Udder genius….

BEAMING: He’s no rocket scientist, but having played one on TV (and in six feature films), Star Trek‘s Scotty — James Doohan, 72 — will receive an honorary doctorate during a winter graduation ceremony at the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Feb. 27. ”Scotty’s done a great deal for the field,” says MSE president Hermann Viets, who believes Doohan singlehandedly motivated generations of kids to become engineers. Doohan’s reaction? ”I was awfully good in math.”…

CATCHING: Disease movies are spreading faster than the common cold. Take the recent bidding war for writer Richard Preston’s New Yorker article chronicling two Army pathologists’ brave efforts to contain a 1989 outbreak of the contagious Ebola virus in a Reston, Va., research lab. Producer Lynda Obst (The Fisher King) trumped two other studios with a $400,000 bid and is developing the project at Fox. Now the losers are developing their own fictional virus thrillers — Arnold Kopelson (Out for Justice) says he will produce Pandora at Warner Bros., while Pen Densham, John Watson, and Richard B. Lewis (Backdraft) reportedly have a project in development at Touchstone. ”The world is full of fictional heroes,” Preston says. ”People are hungry for real-life heroes.”…

RELAXING: Add 10,000 Maniacs to the FOB (Friends of Bill) list. Their latest album, Our Time in Eden, surged to No. 28 on the Billboard pop charts after the band’s appearance with Michael Stipe at MTV’s inaugural ball. Maniacs songs are even showing up on the new teen-angst Fox series Class of ’96. Lead singer Natalie Merchant says the band doesn’t care about its rebound (Eden had floundered after being released last fall) and won’t go on tour until May. ”Am I sounding like the high-powered ’90s businesswoman or what?” she asks….

SIGNING: Until a week ago, Allan Folsom’s biggest claim to fame was some writing credits on Hart to Hart. But then Little, Brown shelled out a record $2 million for his 1,000-page Ludlumesque thriller, The Day After Tomorrow — allegedly the most ever paid for a first novel. Slated for an April 1994 publication, the book is about an American doctor who unravels a Nazi plot in modern-day Europe. Little, Brown editor Fredrica Friedman describes it as ”the kind of page turner that comes along once in a lifetime.” Folsom, who is talking to movie studios, is already at work on a sequel….