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Web posted on: Tuesday, August 18, 1998 5:15:02 PM

Today's buzz stories:

Farrah Fawcett battery case goes to jury


SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- A jury has begun deliberating in the trial of Farrah Fawcett's ex-boyfriend, who stands accused of beating the "Charlie's Angels" star. Fawcett says director-producer James Orr knocked her to the ground and beat her head on the asphalt during an argument. She has admitted smashing the windows of his home and attacking his car with a baseball bat.

Orr denies the charges; his defense described Fawcett during closing arguments as an "insanely jealous" woman who repeatedly attacked Orr. But the prosecution countered by saying Orr's alleged use of force against the actress was "not just excessive, but (potentially) deadly." He faces two years in jail and a $12,000 fine if convicted on the two counts of misdemeanor battery.

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Curtains back up for Broadway's 'Cabaret'


NEW YORK (CNN) -- It was plagued by a Times Square scaffolding collapse, losing more than $1.5 million while the doors were closed, according to a theater spokesman. Now "Cabaret" is reopening, nearly a month after a construction accident shut the Roundabout Theater Company down.

The collapse of scaffolding attached to a 48-story skyscraper shut down many streets, including the one where the sold-out musical is housed; 35 performances were canceled due to the accident.

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Blair Brown, who were to have gone into the show in the last few weeks, will be making their debuts Thursday. Leigh replaces Natasha Richardson, who won a Tony for her portrayal of the show's Berlin nightclub singer Sally Bowles. Brown takes over from Mary Louise Wilson, who played the landlady in the show.

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Titanic's video launch date set


LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Get your checkbook and your video rental card ready: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has set September 30 as the launch date for the home video of "Titanic," the highest grossing film of all time.

And, get ready for an onslaught of ads. Fox is supporting the home video launch with a $50 million marketing campaign -- eclipsing the $40 million spent on marketing the film version. For those few who are unfamiliar with the film's plot, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play out a tragic love story set against the 1912 sinking of the cruise ship Titanic.

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Rivera bares soul to Playboy


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Maverick NBC News anchor Geraldo Rivera says he's unfazed by reports that co-worker Tom Brokaw isn't fond of his style of journalism -- but had no qualms about slamming "Dateline NBC" and a slew of other colleagues, including Jerry Springer and ABC anchor Peter Jennings, in an interview to be published in Playboy's September 1 issue.

Geraldo told Playboy that the difference between tabloid shows like "Hard Copy" and newsmagazines like "Dateline NBC" was "in degree, not substance ... The topics on 'Dateline NBC' and those other network shows are exactly the same ones everyone else is doing." He called ABC's Jennings "little Petey, whose father put him on the air." And he called ABC News anchor Barbara Walters "a very sexy babe."

Neither ABC News nor NBC News commented on the report, citing a focus on coverage of President Clinton's testimony regarding Monica Lewinsky. Rivera's new CNBC program, "Upfront Tonight," is due to premiere on August 24.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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