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4:30pm ET, 4/16










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Today's buzz stories:

Letterman to Bush: C'mon, debate

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, North Carolina -- A smart-aleck host, an unpredictable audience and a chance to blow your shot at being president. What's to be afraid of?

George W. Bush isn't exactly leaping at the chance to appear with Vice President Al Gore on David Letterman's "Late Show" for an election-eve debate. The CBS host, never one to keep his opinion quiet, has been giving the Texas governor Texas-sized grief over it.

Gore, who's vacationing here, has already accepted an offer to debate Bush on the November 6 show. That leaves the Bush campaign uncommitted. "We're breathing down their necks," Letterman said Wednesday.

After Letterman blasted the Republican presidential nominee for not returning phone calls, the campaign finally contacted the show.

"We've received many invitations for debates, but we have not made any decisions about which to accept," Bush press secretary Mindy Tucker said later.

Bush's delayed response isn't all that surprising. His "Late Show" appearance earlier this year was widely panned, marred by technical problems and an awkward joke about Letterman's open-heart surgery.

Sun rises on ABC's 'Fiddler on the Roof' remake

LOS ANGELES -- The folks who delivered the Emmy-nominated "Annie" to ABC last year have announced plans to remake another classic Broadway musical.

A three-hour adaptation of "Fiddler on the Roof" could air as early as next May on "Wonderful World of Disney," Variety reports

The producers are searching for someone to play Tevye, the Jewish dairy farmer played by Zero Mostel on stage and Israeli actor Topol in the 1971 film.

Rimes croons incognito in 'Coyote Ugly'

RENO, Nevada -- You may not have heard of Piper Perabo, but you've probably heard her voice.

The actress, who plays an aspiring songwriter in the new film "Coyote Ugly," gets some major vocal help from country singer LeAnn Rimes.

"It's me, but it doesn't sound like me," said 17-year-old Rimes, whose voice is dubbed in when Perabo sings. "I softened it. I kinda sang more nasally."

Rimes recorded four songs for the film, despite a doctor's order that she rest her voice. The singer -- who said she's had mononucleosis and several cases of tonsillitis -- figures she'll be fine in time for a short fall tour. "It's getting better, so I should be working again soon," she said.

TV cops honor America's top officers

WASHINGTON -- Some of TV's top crime-fighters will honor their real- life counterparts Saturday at a Washington ceremony.

Jerry Orbach of NBC's "Law & Order" and Yaphet Kotto of "Homicide: Life on the Street" are among the celebrities lined up to attend the seventh annual Top Cops Awards, which honor law enforcement officers from across the country.

Winners include officers who were involved in life-threatening shootouts, a trooper who took part in a rescue in the Alaskan wilderness and an officer who jumped into an icy river to save a driver whose car went off a bridge.

The co-emcees of the event will be Richard Belzer of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and CNN Headline News anchor Lynne Russell, who is a reserve deputy sheriff in Fulton County, Georgia. Other celebrity presenters include actors from "Third Watch," "Law & Order" and its "Special Victims Unit" spin-off.


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