What the country is talking about the week of March 27, 1998

1 GIANT EARTH-SMASHING ASTEROID Whoops! We meant ”light showers ending this afternoon, sunny tomorrow.”

2 ROMA DOWNEY The star of Touched by an Angel is divorcing her second husband, the star of Touched by a Lawyer.

3 ELLEN They taped what could be her final show. Her replacement will probably be a ”normal” sitcom featuring a seminude, dumb-blond sexaholic — none of that gay stuff.

4 KATHLEEN WILLEY She accused the President of groping her in the Oval Office. Can’t he afford to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom?

5 SUSAN LUCCI She’s been nominated for her 18th Daytime Emmy award. If she suffers her 18th embarrassing loss, the Yankees will hire her as a pitcher.

6 THE OSCARS Approximately a billion viewers worldwide will be at home watching the ceremonies. What a great night to see a movie.

7 THE MONARCHY To show how modern they are, the firstborn may now inherit Buckingham Palace regardless of gender. Just the way it is in most flats.

8 THE BARBARA WALTERS SPECIAL An Oscar-night tradition. Like laughing at the Best Original Song production numbers.

9 THE SIMPSONS The cast of voices wants big pay raises. Those grueling eight-hour weeks are taking their toll.

10 PRIMARY COLORS John Travolta plays a graying, draft-avoiding, overweight Southern politician. Oh, no — it’s The Newt Gingrich Story.

11 VIDEO GAMES Old faves like Centipede will be returning. To keep parents busy while the kids design Web pages.

12 SOUP MAN You can buy his mulligatawny on the Home Shopping Network. But you have to wait on hold for an hour.

13 LEONARDO DICAPRIO Playgirl‘s editor reportedly resigned rather than print nude pictures of him. She thought he should go through puberty first.

14 MR. NICE GUY Jackie Chan is a TV cooking-show host mistakenly chased by killers. They’re really after Sister Wendy.

15 WILD THINGS Hot teenage tramps in T-shirts. In other words, Melrose Place with an R rating and a writer.