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Web posted on: Wednesday, August 05, 1998 5:36:53 PM

Today's buzz stories:


'Home Improvement' losing middle child

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Jonathan Taylor Thomas is leaving home -- "Home Improvement," that is. The 16-year-old actor, who plays the middle son on the popular ABC sitcom, wants to focus more on his education, and "concentrate on his preparation for a top university," his publicist said on Tuesday.

Thomas, a junior in high school, will appear in three "Home Improvement" episodes in the upcoming season -- the first two and a holiday-themed December show. The series stars Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson as the parents of three boys. Zachary Ty Bryan and Taran Smith play their other sons.

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Air Force will help with Keiko's trip home

SALEM, Oregon (CNN) -- Keiko the killer whale is moving soon to familiar waters with the help of the Air Force. The 10,000-pound "Free Willy" star will be loaded onto a C-17 Air Force transport plane to make the eight-hour flight to Icelandic waters, where he was captured years ago, Bob Ratliffe, executive director of the Free Willy Keiko Foundation, said Tuesday. The move will take place within a few days after Labor Day, Ratliffe said.

Once he arrives in Iceland, Keiko will live in a netted enclosure anchored near the Westmann Islands, and his handlers hope to eventually release him. Keiko's saga began two years ago, when schoolchildren inspired by the "Free Willy" movies helped raise money to bring the ailing whale from a cramped Mexico City amusement park to a spacious tank at the Oregon aquarium, with the intent to someday set him free.

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Woody Harrelson walks with family members outside the Denver courthouse

Harrelson calls dad's former lawyer 'stone cold liar'

DENVER (CNN) -- Actor Woody Harrelson denounced testimony made by a lawyer who represented his father 20 years ago, when the elder Harrelson was convicted of murdering a federal judge. The lawyer, Thomas Sharpe, was testifying at a federal court hearing that is trying to determine whether Charles Harrelson deserves a new trial, which he has requested, claiming he received inadequate legal counsel during his first trial. Sharpe testified that he pursued every possible lead in a failed effort to clear his client. "I didn't buy it. I think he's a stone cold liar," the younger Harrelson told reporters after listening to the testimony.

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Stern TV given radio name

NEW YORK (CNN) -- He might be making a TV show, but radio shock jock Howard Stern is not forgetting his roots. Stern has named his new Saturday night series "The Howard Stern Radio Show." The show will premiere August 22, appearing through syndication initially in about 70 percent of the U.S. television market and in Canada, according to Eyemark Entertainment.

Stern's show will feature highlights from his daily radio program plus some original content delivered for television. Stern is also continuing his show on cable's E! Entertainment Television on Sundays through Fridays.

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Beatle Paul carrying on wife's work with animal rights

BONN, Germany (CNN) -- Former Beatle Paul McCartney tells Animal Times magazine he wants to continue his wife's work in animal rights. McCartney says he wants to underscore his wife's work for animal rights by giving his first interview since her death in April to the quarterly magazine.

"Animal rights is too good an idea for the next century to be suppressed," McCartney said in the interview, to be published in the magazine's September edition. "I think it's time we get nice. I want people to be reassured that we're going to keep this torch burning." Linda McCartney, a photographer, animal rights activist and multi-millionaire with her own line of vegetarian food, died after a two-year-fight against breast cancer at the age of 56.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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