REMEMBERING DIANA Just two days before the second anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, Elton John has made a plea for the British government to create a permanent memorial to his friend the late princess. Sir Elton, who was performing in England yesterday for the first time since he was fitted with a pacemaker, told 10,000 concert-goers that ”it’s about time” for a public memorial.
CONCERT ALERT Sponsor American Express has announced that a rumored free concert in New York City’s Central Park, ”Sheryl Crow and Friends,” will take place. Eric Clapton has already signed on for the Sep. 14 concert at the park’s East Meadow, but the other ”friends” will be announced next week. Unlike previous free Central Park shows – such as Garth Brooks’ 1997 concert, which was open to the entire public – only 25,000 tickets to the Sheryl Crow show will be made available. American Express plans to distribute tickets to the concert after Labor Day (Sep. 6) in all of the five boroughs through an instant game. Winners will receive two tickets to the concert.
CASTING Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will return to the big screen in ”End of Days” on Thanksgiving weekend, will develop and star in a remake of ”Seven Men From Now.” Financed by Beacon Pictures, ”Seven Men” will be a modernization of the 1956 Western starring Randolph Scott as a sheriff who turns vengeful after a group of bandits kill his wife (sounds like every Mel Gibson movie)…. Robin Williams has signed on to star in and produce ”Taxi Dog” for Warner Bros. Based on a series of picture books, ”Taxi” follows a mean NYC canine and a gruff taxi driver who form a humorous alliance. So far, no director (or dog) is attached.
EMMY NEWS With 16 statuettes, HBO was the big winner of the creative-arts Emmy awards held Sat. night in Pasadena. NBC followed with 11 awards; ABC got 7, and Fox and CBS each picked up 6. Mel Brooks won his second outstanding guest actor in a comedy Emmy for playing Uncle Phil on NBC’s ”Mad About You,” and Tracey Ullman won in the same category for playing the kooky therapist on ”Ally McBeal.” Edward Herrmann (”The Practice”) and Debra Monk (”NYPD Blue”) received Emmys for best guest in a drama. NBC’s miniseries ”Alice in Wonderland” was the most-awarded program, taking home four Emmys. The main Emmy ceremony will be presented on Sept. 12.
SOUTH PARK CENSORED The English infants school of South Park is being renamed The Orchards thanks to the potty-mouthed American cartoon. The school’s governor said they knew of ”South Park,” which is apparently a cult classic in England, and decided it was ”not a particularly nice cartoon” with which to share the school’s name. Does this mean there’s a name change in the future for Cartman Preschool and Hanky Elementary?
SWEET DEAL Comedian Damon Wayans has struck a big-dollar deal to develop and star in a sitcom for ABC. Wayans, who had his pick of interested networks, reportedly got around $3.5 million for 13 episodes of a blue-collar comedy he’s developing, with an additional $1 million signing bonus. The project is slated for the 2000-2001 television season.
BACK TO SCHOOL Former rapper Mase, whose real name is Mason Betha, has enrolled at Clark Atlanta University this semester. Mase, 20, who left hip-hop to pursue a career in gospel music, is going to major in business administration at the historically African-American college.
Y2K ALERT Beware of the wares of Clark: Dick Clark is pitching a new General Mills cereal that celebrates the end of the millennium. Early next month, Clark – who is best-known to post-American Bandstand viewers as the perennially youthful New Year’s Eve host – will introduce Millenios, cereal made of oat-and-corn 2s and 0s that will be sold until January.