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May 1, 2000
Web posted at: 3:57 p.m. EST (1957 GMT)

Today's buzz stories:

'Survivor' contestant charged with child abuse

MIDDLETOWN, Rhode Island -- A contestant who recently returned from taping the CBS game show "Survivor" has been charged with child abuse for allegedly forcing his son to jog, then roughing up the boy when he stopped.

Richard Hatch, a management consultant who specializes in team building and conflict resolution, turned himself in after his 9-year-old son told school administrators that his father assaulted him.

The boy told police Hatch, 39, woke him at 4:30 a.m. Thursday to go running because he wanted the youngster to lose weight. When he got tired and started walking, the boy said, his father pulled him by the ear and wrapped his hands around his neck to move him along.

Hatch remains free on $10,000 bond. The boy is in temporary state custody until the case is resolved.

Hatch had just returned home after spending 40 days on a remote island off Borneo along with other contestants in the game show, which is to begin airing weekly May 31. A CBS spokesman declined to comment on whether the arrest will affect his standing on the show.

Stewart lambastes 'Mt. Morgan' producers


NEW YORK -- British actor Patrick Stewart used his curtain call last weekend to accuse producers of failing to promote Arthur Miller's "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan."

"Arthur Miller and I no longer have confidence in our producers' commitment to this production, especially the Shubert Organization, or their willingness to promote and publicize it," said Stewart, who played Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." "Arthur and I feel frustrated and helpless."

A producer from the Shubert Organization released a statement disputing Stewart's claims. "The producers' commitment to 'The Ride Down Mt. Morgan' could not be stronger," it read.

The show's chief publicist also disagreed with Stewart. He said more money had been spent on advertising for the drama than was spent last season on two comparable productions: "The Blue Room," starring Nicole Kidman, and "Amy's View," featuring Dame Judi Dench.

Report: Dick swears off alcohol, drugs


NEW YORK -- Andy Dick, the actor who played the office goofball on "NewsRadio," says he's not kidding around with his life and career. He's been sober for nine months, US Weekly reports.

Dick pleaded guilty last year to charges of possessing cocaine and marijuana after a May 15 car crash in which he knocked over a utility pole near the Hollywood Bowl. He also pleaded no contest to charges of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

For years, Dick says, he felt like he had marionette strings attached -- "you pull the string and I'll pick my nose."

Now, the 34-year-old comedian tells the publication, he wants to "take the bull by the horns" and rework his life.

Dick's new projects include a small role in the upcoming Tom Green movie "Road Trip," and an NBC pilot written by "American Pie" scribe Adam Herz.

Cochran loses libel suit, again


SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnnie "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" Cochran has lost against an appeal involving a $10 million libel suit against the New York Post and one of its columnists.

The 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday declined to overturn a 1998 decision that concluded Post columnist Andrea Peyser was exercising her constitutional right to criticize Cochran's defense strategy in the double-murder trial of O.J. Simpson. Simpson pleaded not guilty to the killings of his former wife and her friend.

Peyser wrote that Cochran was part of a team of "legal scoundrels" who "dazzled a Los Angeles jury into buying his fantasy tale of a citywide police conspiracy, in order to set free a celebrity who slaughtered his ex-wife."

The column, clearly labeled an opinion piece, did not accuse Cochran of violating legal ethics or lying in court, said U.S. District Judge Kim Wardlaw.

Cochran's lawyer, Deborah Drooz, said she disagreed with the ruling but would not appeal.

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