'All My Children' star Ruth Warrick dies at 88
New York -- Ruth Warrick, the darling of the daytime soap opera "All My Children" who launched her career in Orson Welles' all-time classic "Citizen Kane," has died, ABC-TV said Monday. She was 88.
Warrick died at her New York home Saturday of complications from pneumonia, said ABC.
In "All My Children," which debuted in 1970, Warrick played Phoebe Tyler Wallingford, the grande dame of the fictitious affluent town of Pine Valley. Until her death, she portrayed the meddlesome and over-the-top personality so believably that her fans often had trouble distinguishing between the stylish actress and her fictitious, equally sophisticated character.
Warrick, who was twice nominated for an Emmy for the role, was born in St. Joseph, Mo. She studied drama at what is now the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and once won a beauty contest to promote the Kansas City fall festival.
CBS courts Couric
New York -- Besieged CBS executives reportedly have approached "Today" show co-host Katie Couric about replacing outgoing evening news anchor Dan Rather.
Couric, 48, still has 16 months on her NBC contract, but Time magazine says it has confirmed with CBS sources speculation that she's at the top of a short list of candidates for Rather's job when he vacates it in March.
Couric has not publicly lobbied for the job, but she has said a woman should be considered.
"Whoever anchors those newscasts is really the face of the entire network news division. Why is it always white guys we're talking about?" Couric recently said on the "Today" show.
Other contenders for Rather's post are ABC's Ted Koppel, CBS White House correspondent John Roberts and rising CNN star Anderson Cooper.
Movie star marketing
New York -- Seen that slick, "cinematic" TV ad for American Express, "starring" Robert De Niro? The A-list powerhouse did the commercial under the direction of Martin Scorsese in a trend that's pairing hot actors and directors intent on making mucho moolah to sling product for companies far and wide.
The New York Post reports that Brad Pitt has wrapped shooting a TV spot for Dutch beer company Heineken with "Fight Club" director David Fincher. The ad shows Pitt buying a six-pack and then getting chased by paparazzi.
The kicker? The photogs are actually after the beer, not the Beverly Hills Achilles. Very humorous, that.
You can luxuriate in that drama on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6.
A kinder, gentler Springer
Cincinnati -- Jerry Springer's new radio talk show doesn't have guests who get in fist fights or blurt foul language.
Springer promised to provide unabashed liberal views to counter the positions of President Bush in the first airing Monday of his radio show in Cincinnati, where he once served as mayor.
Springer, who will continue to host his more raucous TV show, called the war in Iraq immoral, saying it appeared to be focused on determining whether Iraq's Shiite majority or Sunni minority will be in charge as the country tries to grow into independence.
"Would you be willing to have your son or daughter die for that?" Springer said.
Springer politely received those who called in to his radio show, in contrast to the conflict-oriented style of his TV show.
Some see the radio show as a springboard for the Democrat's possible return to politics in 2006, although Springer has declined to comment on that issue.
Leaving the '70s behind
Los Angeles -- Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher are leaving, but "That '70s Show" will keep on truckin' into an eighth season in 2005-06.
Fox is banking that the rest of the cast -- who have all signed on to the show's eighth year -- will be enough to keep viewers coming back to one of the network's longest-running series.
Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman says she expects both actors to make appearances on "That '70s Show" next season, which could help soften the blow of the show losing two of its principal stars.
Working in the show's favor is the fact that Grace and Kutcher were part of a fairly deep ensemble. Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith are set to return next season.
Awards honor best in children's literature
Boston -- The American Library Assn. announced the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals -- the Oscar awards of children's lit -- at the ALA's annual meeting Monday. Cynthia Kadohata, author of the novel "Kira-Kira," about a 10-year-old whose Japanese American family struggles with prejudice and poverty in Georgia, won the John Newbery medal.
Kevin Henkes, author and illustrator of "Kitten's First Full Moon," was awarded the Randolph Caldecott prize for his gouache and colored-pencil illustrations in the book, about a determined kitten that mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk.
Meanwhile, Princeton professor and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, author of "Remember: The Journey to School Integration," and Kadir Nelson, illustrator of "Ellington Was Not a Street," took home the Coretta Scott King Awards, recognizing black authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults.