Celebrity news from the week of January 26th, 1996

By Casey Davidson
Updated January 26, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

WINNERS Playing an angel in the upcoming The Preacher’s Wife is having a divine effect on Denzel Washington. On Jan. 14, the actor received the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors’ prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. award (past honorees include Rosa Parks and San Francisco mayor Willie Brown). The organization also named the new pediatric wing at Los Angeles’ Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital after the actor, who has helped raise more than $4 million for South Central L.A. causes. ”He could be out on the beach sipping mimosas, but instead he’s here helping out,” says a spokesman for the board of supervisors.

DEALS They don’t call it jackpot for nothing. After much speculation, Janet Jackson, 29, clinched a reported four-album, $80 million deal with Virgin Records, making her the music industry’s highest-paid performer (over brother Michael and Madonna, who each got $60 million deals in the early ’90s)… That sound you hear is network execs breathing a huge sigh of relief. At last week’s press tour, ABC said it wants the mercurial Roseanne back for a ninth season (sans TV hubby John Goodman); CBS said Murphy Brown, one of the few bright spots on its otherwise dim slate, would return; and NBC brass beamed as Jerry Seinfeld announced the return of Seinfeld for season No. 8. Says Seinfeld, ”We all sat down in December and decided this was going to be our last year, but then we started having so much fun, it was like at the beginning when we were a bomb.”

REAL ESTATE Speaking of the former domestic goddess, Roseanne’s about to march through Georgia. The actress, who’s made her mark in little Eldon, Iowa, has put her two Brentwood, Calif., homes up for sale and is eyeing a move to sleepy Savannah. And how will her high jinks play with locals? ”Roseanne will fit in just perfectly,” says former Savannah-based author John Berendt, whose Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is set there. ”It has a mother lode of eccentric characters. She’ll get along just fine.”

BIRTHS/ADOPTIONS A 7-pound 10-ounce girl, Caroline, to Today coanchor Katie Couric, 39, and husband Jay Monahan, 40, Jan. 5 in New York City. The couple has another child, 4-year-old Ellie…Playing an expectant mom in Father of the Bride II must have stirred the maternal instincts of Diane Keaton, 50. Joining a growing circle of Hollywood adopters, Keaton is now Mommy Hall to a baby girl named Dexter.