plus, Michael Jackson will team with Stevie Wonder, and Oprah may sit in at 'Good Morning America'

By Josh Wolk and Joe Flint
Updated March 24, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

RECOVERING Johnny Carson, 73, underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery last Friday to treat coronary artery disease. A spokesman from Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., says Carson is doing fine and is expected to be released in a few days…. ”Everybody Loves Raymond” costar Peter Boyle is recovering from an apparent mild heart attack. He is expected to make full recovery but will likely miss taping the last three episodes of the hit sitcom.

QUITTING David Milch, Steven Bochco’s partner in crime, told Tom Snyder Tuesday night that he would be leaving ”NYPD Blue” when his contract expires at the end of next season. Milch wants to spend time with family, maybe write a novel, and hang out his own (Bochco-less) production shingle.

GOING ENGLISH Encouraged by the film’s pair of Oscars, Miramax is going to release a version of ”Life Is Beautiful” dubbed into English. Although the studio had already planned to release an English version for video and airplane viewing, the brothers Weinstein have now decided to put out a theatrical version. Roberto Benigni and his on- and off-screen wife, Nicoletta Braschi, will likely dub their own voices.

CONCERT NEWS Michael Jackson will play two concerts this summer to benefit Nelson Mandela’s children’s fund charity, the Red Cross, and UNESCO. As usual, Jackson is staying far away from America for these shows: The first will take place on June 25 in Seoul, and the second will take place on June 27 in Munich. Joining him on stage will be Stevie Wonder, Luciano Pavarotti, and Boyz II Men.

GOING IT ALONE Geri Halliwell‘s first post-Spice solo single, “Look at Me,” will be released in England on May 10, and will likely hit American radio on May 17. The song will be featured on her new album, which should come out this summer.

SUBBING ABC has reportedly been talking to Oprah Winfrey about filling in as cohost of “Good Morning America” for a vacationing Diane Sawyer or Charles Gibson. Although no dates have been decided, it would likely occur after May sweeps.

LAWSUIT Everclear has settled a 1997 lawsuit, paying $125,000 to a woman who was injured at a Boston concert by two stage-diving members of the New England Patriots. The woman had to have surgery on her neck and spinal column after football players Max Lane and Trent Bledsoe landed on her; she claims the band encouraged the two to leap into the crowd. The two Patriots and the concert hall also chipped in for a total settlement of $1.25 million…. Director Ron Howard was awarded $605,000 by a Los Angeles jury in a court case that was initially brought AGAINST him by a Malibu real estate investor Jeff Greene. Howard had rented Greene’s Brentwood home when he was preparing ”Ed TV” but moved out early after flooding and other problems. Greene had sued for breach of contract, but the jury decided that he had lied about the house’s condition, and decided on damages for Howard who will donate the windfall to charity.

MILLENNIUM FEVER ABC is planning a 27-hour marathon on New Year’s Eve 1999 to cover celebrations all over the world and to monitor the effects of the Y2K bug. Peter Jennings, who will host, maintains he will remain on the air throughout the entire show. But don’t think this will preempt your annual Dick Clark fix: Although this coverage will take the place of his annual New Year’s Eve special, Clark will be given a role in the show.

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