Former Fox Entertainment Group chief John Matoian, 47, will take over as president of HBO Pictures, beginning Dec. 2. Matoian, who resigned from Fox last month, will replace Robert Cooper, who left to become president of Sony’s TriStar Pictures in July. ”The good news is HBO is not broken,” says Matoian. ”It’s just a matter of moving forward.”
Rap mogul Marion ”Suge” Knight, 31, CEO and cofounder of Death Row Records, for failing to show for a drug test as part of his probation, Oct. 22, in L.A. Knight, who was driving the car in which Tupac Shakur was fatally shot on Sept. 7, is on probation for a 1992 assault conviction.
Undaunted by mortality, showbiz legend Bob Hope, 93, is now a free agent. The comedian and NBC will end a 61-year relationship and part ways following the Nov. 23 broadcast of Laughing With the Presidents, his 284th prime-time special. As he awaits offers, says his spokesman, Hope continues to play golf every day, even with impaired vision and hearing.
Ex-Laker girl Paula Abdul, 34, can probably get all the pom-poms she wants since marrying sportswear manufacturer Brad Beckerman (age unavailable), Oct. 25, in Beverly Hills. It’s Beckerman’s first marriage and Abdul’s second — she divorced actor Emilio Estevez in 1994.
The Nanny’s Fran Drescher and her husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, both 38, are separating after 17 years of marriage; no reasons were given. The couple, who met at a Queens, N.Y., school when they were 15, currently have no plans to file for divorce, according to Drescher’s publicist. They will continue to work together on the hit CBS show, where Jacobson is an executive producer.
Comedian Morey Amsterdam, reported to be 87, of a heart attack, Oct. 27, in L.A. A veteran of vaudeville, radio, and TV, he was best known for his 1961-66 role as Buddy Sorrell, the quick-witted comedy writer on CBS’ The Dick Van Dyke Show. ”He was the human joke machine,” says Mary Tyler Moore, his costar on the show. ”You could name any subject and within two seconds he could make a joke. And a damn good joke, too.”