The top entertainment news for the week of November 15, 1996

By Ethan Smith
Updated November 15, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

If there’s one thing Hollywood can’t pass up, it’s a sure thing, and as anyone who follows sports will tell you, there’s no surer thing these days than Tiger Woods. In the two months since he turned pro, the 20-year-old golf phenom has galvanized the PGA Tour by winning an unprecedented two tournaments out of his first seven starts, signing $60 million in endorsement deals, and eliciting a flurry of interest from the entertainment world. There are already five Tiger-related books in the works, including an autobiography and an instructional guide, which together brought $2.2 million from Warner Books. He’s been offered guest appearances on at least five sitcoms, plus a deal for a TV movie based on his life story. So far Woods has yet to commit to any of the small-screen projects, and a spokesperson says, ”It’s not likely he’ll accept any now. Right now the most important thing is his golf.” However, it’s a sure thing Hollywood will be keeping an eye on the Tiger.
Ethan Smith

On the set of his latest action flick, Fire Down Below, Steven Seagal‘s becoming as famous for his musical licks as his avenging kicks. The Buddhist butt kicker, who has been under siege, marked for death, and on deadly ground in the last decade, is now singing the blues. ”We jam in my trailer, at my house, on the set, wherever,” says Seagal, who’ll even write songs for the Warner Bros. film soundtrack. ”My songs are as good as any out there.” The ever-so-humble star even got himself a fan. ”He’s pretty damn good,” says The Band’s drummer, Levon Helm, who costars in the film along with Kris Kristofferson. ”His [guitar] playing is like his acting — he doesn’t overplay or go over the top.” Recently, Seagal joined Helm and The Band at a concert in Trenton, N.J., and a party at L.A.’s House of Blues for the opening of The Glimmer Man. Of course, that’s just a prelude to Seagal’s real dream: to record a pop/blues album with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Sting, and Phil Collins. ”I have no idea what people’s reactions will be,” says Seagal. ”I just want people to enjoy my music as much as I enjoy playing it.” — Chris Nashawaty

With seven weeks till Christmas, Macmillan’s just-released Flight of the Reindeer is suddenly on top of Hollywood’s shopping list. Universal, Sony, and Fine Line Features are among the studios vying for the film rights to Reindeer, which reconciles nagging Christmas questions like Virginia’s. By mixing fantasy and fact, Reindeer makes a convincing case for the Santa Claus myth through interviews with everyone from Mount Everest explorer Sir Edmund Hillary to George Bush (who reveals the role U.S. presidents play in Santa’s midnight ride). No studios will comment, but visions of another Santa Clause, the $145 million-grossing 1994 Tim Allen movie, are no doubt fueling this bidding war. (Meanwhile, the book, released in October, has 175,000 copies in print.) What will Hollywood make of the Santa myth? ”I can see it now,” says author Robert Sullivan. ”Stallone is Santa.”