Entertainment News from December 1998

Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche tell the Los Angeles Times they're so fed up with Hollywood giving them the cold shoulder since they disclosed their relationship that they're leaving town and their careers for at least a year. “Everything that I ever feared happened to me. I lost my show,” DeGeneres said. “I've been attacked like hell. I went from making a lot of money on a sitcom to making no money.”
He may not have Jimmy Smits' butt, but Rick Schroder has something that viewers want. Almost 19 million viewers tune in to his NYPD Blue debut, which we're happy to report was a pleasant surprise.
CBS announces that 60 Minutes II will debut January 13, 1999, at 9 p.m., displacing the drama To Have and to Hold, which will go on hiatus.
It looks as if American Psycho, a film based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel, finally has a star and director in place — again. Last year Christian Bale and Mary Harron were set to act in and direct the film about a yuppie serial killer. But then Leonardo DiCaprio showed some interest, and all hell broke loose. The small, indie film became a big indie film, Bale involuntarily bailed and Oliver Stone was reportedly going to take over the helm. Once Leo decided he hadn't finished being a party boy and opted out of the film, Harron was reinstated and now won the battle for Bale as leading man.
President Clinton awards Bill Cosby, Willie Nelson, Andre Previn, Shirley Temple Black and Broadway team John Kander and Fred Ebb with Kennedy Center honors for lifetime achievement in the arts.
Let's hope we don't have to go down this road again anytime soon: Dennis Rodman tells USA Today that he has no plans to annul his marriage to Carmen Electra. “I'm still married,” he says. “The decision I made [to marry] is my decision, and I hope it stays.”
Mark your calendars. DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox announce plans to produce Minority Report, a sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg. The film should be released in the summer of 2000.
In an unprecedented move, 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt makes an on-air apology to viewers for the airing of an erroneous story on heroin smuggling. The show was broadcast in June 1997 and was based on the British documentary The Connection, which claimed the Columbian Cali drug cartel had established a new route to London. British lawyers and television producers revealed recently that the filmmakers had hired actors to play smugglers. Hewitt said the producers of the segment had consulted with the Drug Enforcement Agency and had no reason to believe the filmmakers had fictionalized the story. “We, you, and television viewers in 14 other countries were taken,” Hewitt said. “To make amends, we felt obligated to lay it all out in detail and ask you to please accept our apology.”
It's about time. Linda Hamilton takes the next step in terminating her marriage to King of the World, James Cameron and files for divorce. The couple, who have a 5-year-old daughter, separated earlier in the year.
Norman Fell, best known for his role as Mr. Roper on Three's Company, dies of multiple myeloma. He was age 74.
Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh undergoes liver-transplant surgery. Hepatitis C caused internal bleeding, which led to the transplant. Doctors say the operation was successful.
A fire ravages the apartment building of Macaulay Culkin's mother and siblings. No one in the Culkin clan was seriously injured, but four other tenants of the building die of smoke inhalation. An electric heater is reportedly to blame.
Charmed star Alyssa Milano wins $230,000 after a default judgment stemming from a suit she filed against Website creator John Lindgren, who allegedly posted nude photos of the actress on the Internet. She plans to invest the money in, a “Hollywood-friendly” search engine.
Rapper Busta Rhymes is busted in New York City on weapons-possession charges. Police said they found a loaded gun in his car while making a routine traffic stop.
Christmas comes a few days late for the film industry as moviegoers spend a whopping $147.7 million over the three-day weekend. It's the highest three-day gross of all time. Patch Adams, the Robin Williams comedy, leads the way, with a $25.3 million take.