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Showbuzz

October 8, 1999
Web posted at: 5:27 p.m. EDT (2127 GMT)

Today's buzz stories:

Berle

Berle defamation suit dismissed

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Milton Berle's defamation lawsuit against a magazine he says portrayed him as gay has been thrown out, the judge saying that a California court is the wrong venue. According to Berle's attorney, the 91-year-old entertainer plans to re-file the case against Century 21 Real Estate Corp. in Illinois.

Berle filed the suit when the magazine Lambda's Out!, a resource guide for the gay community, featured a famous old burlesque photo of Mr. Television in Carmen Miranda regalia, complete with fruit headdress and makeup. The caption read: "Our team of friendly professionals know how to cater to royalty -- after all, every queen deserves a castle."

Berle's suit alleged violations of rights of publicity, unfair competition and defamation. U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Matz dismissed the suit on Monday, after finding that it was inappropriate to try the case in California.

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Stranded on a desert island -- for ratings

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It's like "Real World," the lost episodes. The CBS television network has announced the launch of a new series called "Survivor," in which 16 volunteers will be marooned together for 49 days on the tropical island of Palau Tiga, off Borneo in the South China Sea.

Producer Mark Burnett, who makes the popular "Eco-Challenge" TV adventure race into inhospitable environments, says "Survivor" could prove gripping if the right cast is assembled. "I hope we get a cop from New York, and maybe a small petty criminal from some other city ... they won't get along."

The show's contestants will be equipped with little beyond the basic supplies of a shipwreck, and will be forced to fend for themselves in building shelter, foraging for food and defending against such dangers as wild pigs, pythons and poisonous sea snakes. CBS is to air the show in 13 one-hour installments next summer.

Forget "Gilligan's Island," this could be "Lord of the Flies": Every three days one member of the group will be voted off the island by the rest. The last person left is to collect a prize of $1 million. No word on how the last two people left will decide who wins. Piggy.

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Welles' 'Ambersons' being remade in entirety

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Orson Welles' original concept for "The Magnificent Ambersons" is finally in the works. Variety reports that a four-hour miniseries is planned, one that follows Welles script -- something that couldn't be said of the original version of the film.

The famed director originally created "The Magnificent Ambersons" in 1942 for RKO Pictures, but while Welles was on vacation the company cut nearly an hour and burned the original footage so Welles couldn't restore it.

The tale is frequently recounted to demonstrate the often cruel artistic environments filmmakers fight against when creating a movie. But now RKO, revived a decade ago, is trying to make amends. It's to produce the miniseries, with shooting to begin next summer in Ireland. "We're not going to want to change a line of the script," says producer Gene Kirkwood. "Who wants to mess with an Orson Welles script he wrote right after making 'Citizen Kane?' This is the best spec script in town."

"The Magnificent Ambersons" is an adaptation of the 1918 Pulitzer Prize-winning Booth Tarkington novel about a stubborn man who loses his family fortune and social prominence because he's unwilling to embrace changes coming in the age of the automobile.

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Wahlberg

Wahlberg says the way to 'King' was marked with challenge

(CNN) -- In this week's edition of USA Weekend, Mark Wahlberg says he had a hard time shaking his rap-star persona when he switched jobs to become an actor. "People were coming at me for all the wrong reasons," says Wahlberg, who's currently starring in "Three Kings." "I didn't want movie audiences thinking they were going to see Marky Mark. I wanted to start over."

Wahlberg, 28, first became famous in the early 1990s as a rap star, and then as a Calvin Klein underwear model. Now, he says he's not comfortable with the prospect of hitting it big in Hollywood. "I don't want the pressures of being a movie star," he says. "If I can continue to grow and play interesting, challenging roles, that's enough."

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And the winner isn't ...

MADERA, California (CNN) -- Police recently searching the home of a suspected drug dealer came across something interesting -- an Oscar statuette on the suspect's bedside table.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed the statuette was authentic and had been missing since 1982, says Madera County Sheriff's spokeswoman Rita Valdivia. "It was never presented and was apparently stolen from a warehouse," she says.

Officers found the Oscar in the home of Jose Garcia, 23, who was booked on suspicion of possession of methamphetamines for sale and for being a felon in possession of ammunition.

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