SCHOOL DAZE When the seniors at California State University, Long Beach don cap and gown for their graduation day on May 31, one of those picking up his bachelor’s degree will be Steven Spielberg. He dropped out of the school three decades ago in his junior year to make his first film (the short ”Amblin’,” after which he named his production company). Last year, however, he quietly began finishing the requirements for a degree in film and electronic arts. ”I wanted to accomplish this for many years as a thank-you to my parents for giving me the opportunity for an education and a career, and as a personal note for my own family – and young people everywhere – about the importance of achieving their college education goals,” the 55-year-old Spielberg said in a statement. ”But I hope they get there quicker than I did. Completing the requirements for my degree 33 years after finishing my principal education marks my longest ‘postproduction schedule.”’ Hey, Steven, don’t worry. With that sheepskin and some industry contacts, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job.
TUBE TALK The fourth card in Fox’s second round of ”Celebrity Boxing” on May 22 will be a Battle of the Frizzy-Haired, TV Sitcom High-School Dorks of Indeterminate Ethnicity. In other words, it’ll pit Screech against Horshack. The Dustin Diamond vs. Ron Palillo matchup is as tough to handicap as the night’s other bouts – William ”Refrigerator” Perry has the weight, but Manute Bol has the height; and while Darva Conger isn’t an Olympic gold medalist, Olga Korbut’s gymnastics glory days were 30 years ago. As for the former ”Saved by the Bell” star, Diamond is much younger (he’s 25; Palillo is 53) and 5 inches taller than his opponent, but the former ”Welcome Back, Kotter” sweathog has the craftiness of age and that supremely annoying laugh, so don’t count him out.
The opening bout was to have featured scandal-sheet stars Joey Buttafuoco and John Wayne Bobbitt, but the New York Post reports that Fox has scratched Bobbitt from the lineup after he allegedly beat up someone outside the ring – his wife. (Shades of 1993, when then-wife Lorena famously dis-membered him in response to his alleged abuse.) Joanne, the current Mrs. Bobbitt, tells the paper the fight started in their Las Vegas home because she told her husband she didn’t want to go to Los Angeles with him to see him box Buttafuoco. ”He picked me up and slammed me down on the concrete floor of the garage. He got down on his knees and started kneeing me.” She says he broke her tailbone and her finger. She called the police from the hospital and had Bobbitt arrested for misdemeanor battery and domestic violence, which could land him in jail for a year. She also said she plans to file for divorce and obtained a temporary restraining order, ”but he’s posted the $5,000 bail now, and he’s out. I’m so scared.” Meanwhile, Fox has yet to announce whether it will find someone else to scrap with Buttafuoco, or whether he, too, will be scrapped….
Two months ago, Ted Koppel wasn’t sure if he still had a job. Now he has two. After ”Politically Incorrect” goes off the air in four to six weeks, Koppel will follow ”Nightline” with a second half-hour, tentatively titled ”Nightline Close-Up,” which will feature daily personality profiles. (Let’s hope this doesn’t mean he’s going to be doing a Matt Lauer ”Headliners and Legends” type show, where he has to lend his grave tones to clips from the life of Drew Barrymore.) Koppel and ”Nightline” co-anchor Chris Bury won’t be getting paid extra for their hosting duties, but the show is only temporary, until Jimmy Kimmel’s new talk-and-comedy show takes over the slot in January.
At ABC’s upfront presentation to advertisers on Tuesday, Kimmel said, ”Four months ago, it looked like David Letterman was coming to ABC. Instead, you got me. This is definitely not a step in the right direction.” He said his new show ”definitely won’t be ‘The Man Show.’ They assured me of that. But I do plan on getting Barbara Walters on a trampoline.”