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Web posted on:
Wednesday, October 28, 1998 4:19:30 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:


Joan Cusack signs small-screen deal

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Oscar-nominated actress Joan Cusack has signed a deal with the Casey-Werner Co. to make her prime-time debut in a sitcom for next fall, according to a Variety report. Cusack, who has starred in movies like "In & Out" and "Nine Months," will star in a show with a concept that has yet to be determined. Insiders say ABC and NBC are both vying for the show. It will be written by Eric Gilliland ("Roseanne"). Carsey-Werner executives could not be reached for comment, but Cusack's agents at International Creative Management confirmed the pact.

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Geraldo Rivera sued by N.Y. lawyer over TV challenge

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A New York lawyer filed a civil suit against Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday over a challenge Rivera made on "Rivera Live" on CNBC last month. Rivera, during a debate on the President Clinton sex scandal, promised to give $10,000 to anyone who could show a case where a person had been criminally prosecuted for lying about sex. Attorney Marc Bogatin said he did research in a law library, where he found five such cases. He said he has tried to contact Rivera about collection of the $10,000, but has not received any money.

A spokesman said Rivera had been referring to federal prosecution for lying about sex and said a few people had come forward with cases. "We are looking into this claim as we are with the others," said the spokesman, John Brine.

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Rapper Keith Murray begins three-year sentence

NEW BRITAIN, Connecticut (CNN) -- Rap star Keith Murray surrendered to police Monday and has begun serving a three-year sentence for assault. Murray was convicted for a 1995 fight at a nightclub, and failed to surrender on September 24. Prosecutors said he beat 16-year-old David Hughes with a bar stool, leaving him with disfiguring scars on his head.

Murray told MTV on Friday that he had some business to attend to before turning himself in. If convicted of failure to appear, Murray could get up to five additional years behind bars. Murray's first album, "The Most Beautiful Thing in the World," went gold after its release in 1994.

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Frankenheimer accuses video store of 'mutilating' Cameron's 'Titanic'

SALT LAKE CITY (CNN) -- John Frankenheimer says a Nevada video store that edits out racy scenes from James Cameron's "Titanic" is "mutilating art." Frankenheimer, who directed such films as "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Seven Days in May," urged an industry boycott of Sunrise Family Video.

For $5, the video store owners will edit out the scene in which Kate Winslet poses nude and another that suggests Leonardo DiCaprio's and Winslet's characters have sex. For $3 more, employees will edit out other scenes from James Cameron's movie. "It's like being a museum curator and taking a Picasso painting of a nude and painting a bathing suit on it and trying to pass it off as a Picasso," Frankenheimer said in Tuesday's Salt Lake Tribune.

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Redford backs Democratic candidate for Colorado governor

DENVER (CNN) -- Actor-director Robert Redford spent some time on the campaign trail Tuesday. Redford appeared at a Colorado fund-raiser for Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler, the Democratic candidate for governor. Redford called Schoettler better for the environment than her opponent, Republican State Treasurer Bill Owens, a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industry.

"It's a very clear picture -- the difference between you and your opponent," Redford told Schoettler. Owens had been expected to be the first Republican to win the top spot in Colorado after 24 years of Democratic governors. But a poll taken earlier this month showed him and Schoettler neck and neck. Redford has ties to Colorado: he attended the University of Colorado in Boulder on a sports scholarship.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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