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David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, ...
Credit: X Files: Nicola Goode/FOX

SPOOKY RETURN A few months ago, David Duchovny announced that he was not coming back to ”The X-Files” series, not even as a one-shot guest star. However, he didn’t rule out another movie appearance. Now it looks like series creator Chris Carter and producer Frank Spotnitz are conspiring to bring Duchovny’s Fox Mulder back to the big screen. The feature would reunite Mulder and Gillian Anderson‘s Scully, if only for a one-shot appearance; since the movie won’t be out until late 2003 at the earliest, the film would be a stand-alone story, rather than an event that advances the plot of the series, like the 1998 ”X-Files” feature. Of course, by late 2003, there may not be a series anymore, or Anderson may have left. One can only speculate, since the whole deal is still shrouded in mystery. But the truth is out there.

FUND AND GAMES Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly has stirred up a Hollywood hornet’s nest with his accusation that the donations to celebrity fundraisers for terror relief aren’t reaching the victims, and that the stars who helped raise the money don’t care once the cameras stop rolling. O’Reilly launched that charge on his Oct. 31 ”The O’Reilly Factor” and repeated it two days later in FNC’s sister organ the New York Post, saying that celebrities ”get a lot of positive publicity when they do these events, but when it’s time to take some responsibility, they are MIA.” He also called celebrities ”weasels” for not responding to his charge.

But one can always count on George Clooney to fire off an angry letter. Clooney, who helped organize the Sept. 22 ”Tribute To Heroes” telethon for the United Way’s September 11 Fund, wrote to O’Reilly, saying, ”What is not important is your attack of the performers… What is important is your accusation that the fund is being mishandled and misused. That, sir, as you know, is nothing short of a lie. The fund is intact and has already handed out some $36 million to victims’ families (15,000 checks), with over $230 million more to be allocated as the United Way sorts through the complicated process of who is in the most need. To have given out all of the money only six weeks after it was raised, would truly be irresponsible. If you were a journalist, you would have known that.

”It took one phone call to find information. One phone call you did not make. But hey, it’s the first week of sweeps and you need to run a hard-hitting exposé of irresponsible, pampered performers and try to bait them on your show with inflammatory statements. I’m sure it must have been frustrating for you that not one person took the bait.”

Clooney also said O’Reilly’s charge would hinder future fundraising efforts, such as the upcoming DVD and CD releases of the various benefit concerts, because people will be leery of contributing if they think their pledges aren’t being disbursed.

In response, O’Reilly told E!, ”Number one, there are no ratings sweeps in cable news. Number two, ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ doesn’t deal with celebs. We’re a news program investigating this important story. [Clooney] is certainly entitled to his opinion. We’ve invited him on the program, but if he feels so strongly about it, why doesn’t he come on?…. We know exactly where every penny of the September 11 Fund is going…and the money is not getting to the people quickly.” O’Reilly added that he doubted Clooney actually watched his show or even wrote the letter. ”His letter reads more like a publicist’s letter to me.”

In recent days, however, celebrities have started taking up O’Reilly’s invitation. Clint Eastwood phoned in to the show on Friday, and Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn appeared last night. The couple agreed with O’Reilly that the funds should be accounted for and the intended recipients kept in the loop, but they also argued that the United Way should be allowed a longer window, four to six months, to deal with the logistical tangles of such a huge undertaking.

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