Plus, news about Mariah Carey, Moby, Alan Keyes, Paula Zahn, Bill Moyers, Ray Harryhausen, The Three Stooges, ''Shrek,'' and others
Whoopi Goldberg
Credit: Whoopi Glodberg: Steve Grantiz/Retna

TROPHY TIME After a three-year hiatus, ”Hollywood Squares” panelist Whoopi Goldberg will host the Oscars again this year, on March 24. It’ll be the fourth time Goldberg has hosted the Academy Awards, and it’ll be the first time for her (and for the Academy) in Oscar’s new digs, the just-built Kodak Theater at the new Hollywood and Highland complex off Hollywood Boulevard. No word on whether Whoopi’s return is a result of Steve Martin‘s low-key, low-rated hosting job last year.

SOUND BITES Both Mariah Carey and EMI are denying last week’s reports that EMI’s Virgin records is trying to buy Carey out of her multimillion-dollar, multi-album contract after the resounding flop of her first Virgin disc, the ”Glitter” soundtrack. Virgin wooed Carey away from Sony (run by Carey’s ex-husband, Tommy Mottola) last April with a deal worth $20 million per album for four or five records, but had supposedly tried to buy her out for $50 million after ”Glitter” sold a dismal 2 million copies (a tenth of what some of her Sony albums have sold), and after new EMI CEO Alain Levy went on a cost-cutting spree. ”EMI wishes to make clear that it has made no such payment or agreement,” the label said in a statement. ”There were inaccurate reports in the media that the recording agreement between Mariah Carey and Virgin Records has been terminated,” said a statement from Carey’s people. ”EMI has correctly stated that the contract remains in full force.”…

Sounds like Moby is rethinking his commitment to animal rights. On his website, he recounts a cautionary tale of what happened to him on New Year’s Day near his lower Manhattan home. ”I was walking around Chinatown (as I’m wont to do) and I stopped to pet a street cat (as I’m wont to do) and the street cat attacked me (as they’re wont to do) and it bit my hand very deeply (as they’re wont to do).” After waking up the next morning in ”tons of pain,” he went to the hospital and was given a tetanus shot and antibiotics. So kids, if you’re bitten by an animal, ”go to the hospital right away,” he warns. As for the cat, ”I’ve decided that, although I’m still a vegan, I will definitely eat this cat if I see it again.”

TUBE TALK ABC Entertainment Television Group co-chairman Stuart Bloomberg, the man who helped make ”Is that your final answer?” a national catchphrase — and then drove it into the ground — gave his final answer to ABC yesterday, resigning after 22 years at the network. Bloomberg took the fall for ABC’s disastrous ratings performance this season, a fourth-place finish behind even Fox. Bloomberg is credited with all but saving ABC with ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” two years ago, then wearing out the show’s welcome with four airings a week, while failing to develop new hit shows (save for this season’s modest hits ”Alias” and ”Philly”). Still, Bloomberg’s cochair, Lloyd Braun, is keeping his job. Also, ABC is promoting Susan Lyne, head of ABC’s TV movie division and credited with such successes as ”Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows” and ”Oprah Winfrey Presents: Tuesdays with Morrie.” She’ll be named president of ABC Entertainment (a position vacant since notoriously embattled Jamie Tarses left it three years ago), reporting to Braun….

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