Entertainment News from November 1997
Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
- Apparently trying to pick up where his former wife left off, Prince Charles brings Prince Harry to South Africa where the 13-year-old royal meets Britpop phenoms the Spice Girls at a charity concert. The spare heir blushes when Baby Spice busses him on the cheek.
- It's a fairy-tale night for ABC. The Wonderful World of Disney's Cinderella and Oprah Winfrey Presents: Before Women Had Wings land the troubled network its highest-rated night of regular programming in seven years and a big win in the first Sunday of the November sweeps. Cinderella scores an 18.8 rating and Before Women Had Wings registers a 19.0 rating. Each rating point represents 980,000 households using television.
- The most-talked about film of the year debuts at the 10th Annual Tokyo International Film Festival. Love-story/disaster epic Titanic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, wows a mostly Japanese audience, while the event barely registers a blip on these shores. The film is scheduled for a December 19 U.S. release.
- The Spice Girls's sophomore effort, Spiceworld, hits shelves in England.
- ABC News announces that Connie Chung has joined the network as a correspondent and a substitute anchor for ABC's news and newsmagazine programs. Terms of the contract are not disclosed. Chung has been away from network news since 1995, when she was fired from CBS.
- In other network news news, CBS announces Prince Edward plans to produce and host specials for the network.
- The search is over; Stephen King has found a new publisher. Simon & Schuster's Scribner division announces it will publish King's upcoming novel, Bag of Bones, and two other books for a paltry $2 million advance per book and a whopping 50 percent cut of the royalties. Earlier in the fall, King abandoned his publisher of 18 years, Viking, and publicly put up for auction his manuscript for Bag of Bones.
- The Senate confirms Prof. William R. Ferris as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Ferris is an anthropologist and folklorist at the University of Mississippi.
- CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather announces he has inked a deal with the Eye network. The new deal puts him in the anchor seat through 2002, with a $7 million annual paycheck.
- Walt Disney Co. and former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg agree to settle a long-running, heated legal battle. However, they don't decide on a dollar figure to the breach of contract suit filed by Katzenberg. Katzenberg, who left Disney in 1994 and formed DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen in 1996, claims Disney owes him an incentive bonus of at least $250 million – 2 percent of the profits from movies produced during his tenure with the company. Katzenberg's hits include The Lion King, Aladdin and Pretty Woman. Disney claims he forfeited his bonus when he left the company before his contract expired. Both parties will later negotiate a settlement.
- Marv Albert returns to David Letterman's Late Show, though this time he doesn't highlight the wacky and wild moments of sports. But he does dance around Letterman's sticky questions, particularly queries about panties, transvestites and back biting.
- Move over Cats, there's a new feline in town. The Lion King attacks Broadway's New Amsterdam Theater with ferocity, causing critics to gush over the musical's extraordinary theatrical achievement.
- The Lion King trounces Broadway records, becoming the biggest and fastest ticket seller in Great White Way history. The day after the show opens, it takes in an astonishing $2.7 million at the box office. Disney's Beauty and the Beast previously held the crown with a $1.2 million one-day wrap.
- Bob and Jakob Dylan share a bill for the first time, at a San Jose party sponsored by Applied Materials, the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductor equipment. Dad performs with his touring band, and son with his band, the Wallflowers. The Dylans did not play together.
- The Smashing Pumpkins announce they have dumped another drummer. Touring drummer Matt Walker, who replaced Jimmy Chamberlin in August 1996, will leave the Pumpkins in early December to devote his time to his other band, the Cupcakes.
- People magazine's November 17 issue names George Clooney the Sexiest Man Alive, though he had asked not to be considered. Other hunky men cited include Jakob Dylan (sexiest rock star), The Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger (sexiest author) and George Strait (sexiest country singer).
- Despite advertising boycotts and protests from some Roman Catholics, ABC orders a full season of Nothing Sacred, a drama about a conflicted priest. The show has had a battle in the ratings as well, going up against NBC's Friends and Union Square.
- MGM files a $25 million lawsuit against Sony Pictures, alleging that Sony's plans, announced in October, to produce a new series of James Bond movies stem from a “disgruntled former executive's ”attempt to “lay claim to the most successful and enduring motion picture franchise in history.” The executive, John Calley, now runs Sony's film division. Kevin McClory, who made the Bond films Thunderball and Never Say Never Again, is also named in the suit.
- The New York Post reports that Kevin Costner and Princess Diana had plans to star together in the sequel to The Bodyguard. Costner said the role was written for Diana and was modeled on her life.
- Charles Frazier wins the National Book Award for fiction for his first novel, Cold Mountain. The nonfiction prize goes to Joseph J. Ellis for American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson.
- Walt Disney announces plans to produce a new Mickey Mouse cartoon series — the first one since the 1950s. MouseWorks should debut in January 1999.
- Speaking of resurrecting stars of the past, ABC confirms it has ordered 13 episodes of a new sitcom, starring Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper, based on the characters they played on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
- Geraldo Rivera, host of CNBC's Rivera Live and a syndicated talk show, accepts an offer from Fox News to host a nightly news program and an interview show. NBC, which owns CNBC, said it plans to counteroffer.
- Coolio finds Germany is no gangsta's paradise. Coolio and seven others are arrested for assault two days after the rapper punched a woman in the stomach at a clothing boutique. Police said Coolio and his posse attempted to leave the store with $2,000 worth of clothes, and Coolio punched a saleswoman when she confronted him. The band's manager said the whole thing was a misunderstanding, as a clothing company promised the band new threads and the band just needed to pick up the clothes at the store. Later the same night, while onstage, he encouraged fans who can't afford to buy his records to steal them. German authorities consider charging him for “incitement of crime.”
- Harold Evans, president and publisher of Random House Trade Publishing Group, resigns from his post to become vice chairman of Mort Zuckerman's publications group, which includes the New York Daily News, U.S. News & World Report and Atlantic Monthly. Random House promptly names editor-in-chief Ann Godoff as his replacement.
- INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence is found hanging in a Sydney, Australia, hotel room. The band was set to launch a 20th anniversary tour. Hutchence and his fiancée Paula Yates were due to marry in January.
- In the November 24 issue of Life, Michael Jackson sort of announces his wife, Debbie Rowe, is pregnant with their second child. He says she has to “take it easy” because “there's another one on the way.” Yikes.
- Geraldo Rivera ends the bidding war between NBC and Fox, and NBC is the winner. He will continue to host CNBC's Rivera Live, develop another prime-time show for the cable network and take on more responsibilities at NBC News. He will forfeit his syndicated The Geraldo Rivera Show. Neither NBC nor Rivera talk about salary, but rumors have it in the $4 million–$6 million range.
- Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's wife, confirms that she's pregnant with Prince Michael Jackson's sister. Paris Michael Katherine Jackson is due in May.
- The November sweeps end, with CBS edging out NBC, which had won the race for the last three years. CBS averaged 15.1 million viewers per night, and NBC attracted an average of 14.8 couch potatoes. ABC comes in third with an average of 14 million and Fox follows with 12.3. Sweeps periods, held in February, May, July and November, help networks determine how much to charge advertisers.
- The Full Monty, the British comedy about a group of unemployed steel workers who resort to stripping to earn a few quid, becomes England's highest-grossing film of all time, bringing in $66.2 million. Monty ousts Four Weddings and a Funeral from the perch.
- Diana, Princess of Wales — Tribute goes on sale in Britain. The star-studded lineup of participating musicians includes Luciano Pavoratti, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Queen. The album is set to hit U.S. stores on December 2.
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