Plus, Liv Tyler joins ''The Lord of the Rings,'' and ABC's Jamie Tarses steps down

By Josh Wolk
Updated August 27, 1999 at 12:00 PM EDT

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING 30 YEARS OLD Four of the six original members of Monty Python will reunite for a 30th-anniversary BBC TV special in October, for which the group is writing some new material. (Terry Gilliam will not be joining his former compadres and Graham Chapman passed away in 1989.) That sound you just heard was the collective orgasmic sigh of the world’s comedy nerds.

CASTING ”The Lord of the Rings” film adaptation has a new monarch, and she’s no lightweight: Liv Tyler will play the Queen of the Fairies in the movie trilogy…. Johnny Galecki (”Roseanne”) has joined the cast of the Ben Affleck/Gwyneth Paltrow love story ”Bounce,” written and directed by Don Roos, who cast Galecki in ”The Opposite of Sex.”

OUT THE DOOR Amid persistent rumors that she was going to be fired, ABC entertainment president Jamie Tarses has resigned, after three years with the network. Sources told Variety that she left because she was unhappy with her new superior, Lloyd Braun, who was brought in as cochairman of ABC during a merger with Disney’s TV-production arm. ”Jamie didn’t want Lloyd involved in her business or even in the business of the studio side if she was involved,” one insider told the trade paper, which also reported that the relationship was so icy that Tarses would not even greet Braun if they passed in the hallway. ABC reportedly did not fire her, but just told her that she had to get along with the other executives — which could be a command that she didn’t want to obey.

MUSICAL BREAK Following the lead of David Letterman’s and Conan O’Brien’s shows, ”Saturday Night Live” is releasing two albums of its greatest musical moments. ”Saturday Night Live: The Musical Performances” will be released on two separate CDs: The first will feature classic-rock acts like Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and Billy Joel, and the second will offer a more alternative roster, including Nirvana, Alanis Morissette, and the Beastie Boys. If these sell well, more CDs are likely, and knowing Lorne Michaels, so is ”The Musical Performances: The Movie.”

GUILTY The verdict is in on the second trial of ”Jenny Jones” guest Jonathan Schmitz, who killed his secret gay crush, and guess what? He’s still guilty of second-degree murder. His first conviction was overturned because of a judge’s error in jury selection. He’s been held in jail for the last three years, time that will be credited to his new sentence, which will be handed down on Sep. 14, according to Reuters. His attorney says that he will appeal on the grounds that this judge didn’t allow him to discuss the fragile emotional state that Schmitz was in after Scott Amedure publicly declared his love.

BETRAYED Director Lars Von Trier (”Breaking the Waves”) is irate after discovering that the producers of his 1997 film ”The Idiots” made slight changes to it without his knowledge before releasing it internationally. In 1995, Von Trier — along with three other Danish directors — developed Dogma, a manifesto declaring that their filmmaking should be entirely naturalistic, which meant only handheld cameras and no artificial light. Von Trier went ballistic when he found that his ”Idiots” producers had added some light to his film, and he demanded that it be recalled. Since the movie is already on video this is nearly impossible, but his studio Zentropa has said that it will now release his original untouched version this weekend.

ROBBED In the latest in a rash of rock-savvy burglaries, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash‘s Beverly Hills home was broken into last month. Twelve of his guitars — along with a great deal of studio equipment — were taken, according to MTV News. ”The police have had no luck [recovering it] yet,” says Slash. ”So we’re going to try and make sure that if anybody tries to unload it through the Internet or anywhere else, we’ll be alerted.” Someone keep an eye on eBay.