Forest Whitaker, Monty Hall, and Steven Grant made headlines this week

By EW Staff
Updated October 20, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Entertainment news for June 7, 1991

Acting heavyweight Forest Whitaker steps into the ring as a boxing heavyweight early next year. He’s set to play slugger Joe Louis in The Brown Bomber. ”I idolized him,” says Whitaker, 29. ”Not only was he a great champion, but he gave pride to the black community.” While the portly star of Bird and A Rage in Harlem might seem an odd choice, as a teenager he was a Golden Gloves fighter with a ”pretty fair” record. However, to emulate Louis in fighting trim, Whitaker must lose 85 of his 285 pounds, so he has engaged heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield’s trainer to organize a diet and exercise program for the next eight months. Producers Brad Wyman and David Rotman are talking with Rage director Bill Duke about reteaming with the actor.

Get ready for the Geritol channel, the first cable-TV service designed for the over-50 set. Slated to debut in October, the Golden American Network will offer such gray-friendly programs as Monty and Company, a talk show hosted by 67-year-old game show great Monty Hall; Morey and His Friends, a comedy series starring 78-year-old Dick Van Dyke Show veteran Morey Amsterdam; and Satellite Bingo, which viewers can play at home via phone. Says Hall, ”No one was offering programming for viewers over 50, and there are about 60 million of us.”

The Kennedy assassination, explored in several upcoming films, including Oliver Stone’s JFK, is also coming to a comic-book store near you. Badlands, a six-issue graphic novel, is ”a cumulative version” of some of the best-known conspiracy theories, including the possibility that a Lee Harvey Oswald look-alike was involved, says writer Steven Grant, 37, who collaborated with artist Vince Giarrano, 30, on the comic. Published by Oregon-based Dark Horse Comics, Badlands‘ first issue ships in mid-July, with the final issue out by Nov. 22 to mark the 28th anniversary of that black day in Dallas.

Written by: Leonard Klady, Benjamin Svetkey, Pat H. Broeske