INFOTAINMENT ABC is denying that it meant Leonardo DiCaprio’s interview with President Clinton – taped for an upcoming Earth Day special – to be a news segment. The network claims that the plan was for the President to take DiCaprio on a tour around the White House to show how it had been altered to make it more environmentally conscious, but the Commander-in-Chief turned it into an impromptu sit-down chat. The White House, on the other hand, tells the Associated Press that ABC planned the interview and DiCaprio’s questions had been sent over a day earlier; deputy press secretary Jake Siewert cited the fact that the ABC crew took four hours to set up the cameras for the one-on-one as proof that it was no surprise. ABC News chief David Westin found out about the situation after it occurred, and sent out an email to his disgruntled department assuring them that the DiCaprio interrogatory may end up being pulled from the April 22 special, and that ”all roles of journalist must be played by journalists.” Yes, but can Sam Donaldson audition for ”The Beach 2”?
RECOVERING Mariah Carey had to cancel Tuesday night’s Boston concert after being hospitalized for food poisoning. The singer checked into Mass General Hospital on Monday night, where she was put on intravenous fluids and was expected to stay for a couple of days, according to Reuters. The concert was postponed to April 13. Doctors attribute the malady to bad oysters that she ate over the weekend; somewhere Whitney Houston is saying, ”Bad oysters! Now why didn’t I think of that one?”
CASTING Heather Graham may play a prostitute being stalked by Jack the Ripper in ”From Hell,” which also stars Johnny Depp…. The Wachowski brothers are trying to nab Jet Li for a role in their two ”Matrix” sequels, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Fitting him into the casting budget may be a problem, but they would actually save money if they had him work double duty as Keanu Reeves’ English tutor…. Meg Ryan is producing and may star with Ellen DeGeneres in ”Second Chance,” a comedy about five beauty contest finalists who get together for a rematch 15 years after a controversial pageant…. Joseph Fiennes may play a cowboy in Turkey involved in a love triangle in ”Dust.” There’s nothing like the life of a Turkish cowboy, out on the range, just you, the plains, and a saddlebag full of kebab…. Nikky Katt joined the cast of David E. Kelley’s new drama about high school teachers, ”The Faculty,” set to debut next fall on Fox…. Selma Blair will be a suicidal bank teller who offers to help a robber if he promises to kill her in ”Take My Life Please,” a film based entirely on a single pun.
ENGAGED There’s a lot of love finally going on in TLC, but unfortunately, it’s not among the band mates themselves: Both Tionne ”T-Boz” Watkins and Lisa ”Left Eye” Lopes are expected to get hitched. Watkins’ wedding to rapper Mack 10 (whose baby she’s expecting) will be held in August, and Lopes was spotted shopping for engagement rings with model Sean Newman, her boyfriend.
NO SCORE NCAA fever is dipping below 98.6 degrees. This year’s finals between Florida and Michigan State on CBS received the worst ratings ever for the tourney, pulling in a 14.1 rating, handily beating last year’s record low of a 17.2.
BLUNDERFUL Are you plagued by the deep-seated fear that you’ll never again get to see soap opera actors crack each other up? You can relax, at least for the near future: ABC has signed a three-year contract with Dick Clark to produce anywhere from 7 to 19 more ”Bloopers” specials.