Cybill Shepherd  | Kelsey Grammer  | Chicago Topples Rings | Record-Biz Resignation  

Cybill Didn't Quibble at Celeb Party

Oh, what happened to Cybill Shepherd? One of my favorite Hollywood personages, Shepherd has always been up front about everything that's on her mind.

I mean, she used to wear sneakers with ball gowns. She claimed she'd never have plastic surgery. But nothing stays the same.

When I ran into Shepherd last week at the wonderful Hollywood party that producer Irwin Winkler gave for Gangs of New York director Martin Scorsese, I knew right away there was trouble.

"Cybill," I said, "one of my fondest memories is of dancing with you at the Rainbow Room for the premiere of Chances Are. It was about 10 years ago. You wore sneakers."

"Well, no more," Shepherd replied. "I wear real dancing shoes now." She showed off some fancy, pointy-looking high-heeled numbers.

It was during this moment that Shepherd gleefully bellowed at a passing waiter, "Where's the vodka? I need more vodka!"

Even so, it was impossible not to notice that Shepherd looked more rested and revitalized than she had in years. What happened, I wondered, to her previous announcements regarding plastic surgery?

"Uh, I got to go," Shepherd said, but there was no place to go. So we just changed the subject. She's about to star as Martha Stewart on TV.

The movie, I can tell you, will indeed cover Stewart's financial troubles of the last year. The producer told me that he's going to cast the role of Sam Waksal, the Imclone chief who may have tipped Martha off to sell is stock.

Stewart's daughter Alexis will also figure greatly in the movie, as will Alexis's dad Andy.

As for Cybill, she still plans to put a stage version of her autobiography on the London boards before the end of the year.

Director Peter Bogdanovich, her old love and with whom she is still great pals, will direct and co-star as himself. I don't know about you, but I'd buy a ticket to that now sight-unseen.

NBC May Need a Grammer Lesson

Ran into Kelsey Grammer on Sunday at the Golden Globes with wife Camille. He looked great — quite a difference from the Kelsey I remember who drifted around Hollywood in 1986, unhappy and unsure of himself. He's a real success story.

"Are we looking forward to another season of Frasier?" I asked him.

"It's up to Paramount, isn't it?" he said of the show's owner. "They have to want it."

"Isn't it up to you?" I responded.

He paused. "Yes, I guess it is," he said.

Frasier has a Paramount contract that runs out with NBC in May 2004.

My guess is that that will be the end, although you never know. Someone told me the other day that Friends is still on NBC. Ross and Rachel are parents. Time flies!

Chicago Hits No. 1, Topples Rings

Chicago, the box-office phenomenon, became the No. 1 movie in America on Tuesday, toppling The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Two Towers had just crossed the $300 million mark for domestic sales on Monday. But with that landmark realized, it seems everyone in the United States has now seen the incredible second part of Peter Jackson's vision.

Chicago, playing on only 557 screens, did $950,000 worth of business. Two Towers, on over 3000 screens, did $750,000.

The Rob Marshall-directed musical, which won the Golden Globe on Sunday night for Best Musical/Comedy, is starting to look like a steamroller.

Yesterday, I told you that the movie's soundtrack debuts in the top three next week on Billboard's Top 200 albums. It's the only new CD on the charts for miles.

Chicago is in an interesting position right now. It doesn't open "wide" until Feb. 7, although there's a rumor that it may find its way into theatres sooner if Miramax decides to piggyback it with another release earlier.

I'm told that the other release might be Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. If so, that would make for a pretty cool night at the movies.

And what about Two Towers? Well, it won't disappear so fast. Frodo and friends still have lots of fans to keep them in popcorn through Feb. 11, the day the Academy Award nominations are announced.

The movie I'm more worried about is Focus Features' Far from Heaven. This remarkable film, directed by Todd Haynes and starring Julianne Moore, was once a front-runner in the Oscar race.

But with little push at the box office, FFH looks like it's starting to drift away. This would be a shame.

FFH, The Hours, Frida and Antwone Fisher are what I call "middle-of-the-pack" movies that need some extra help right now. They're all so good I would hate to seem them disappear too soon.

Hilary Rosen Out at Recording Lobby

Two weeks in a row of near-death-knell CD sales seems to have caused at least one thing to happen: the resignation of Hilary Rosen, who runs the Recording Industry Association of America, the record companies' nonprofit lobbying arm.

I have nothing against Rosen, but the RIAA has been impotent in the fight against Internet stealing, downloading and piracy. Meanwhile, sales of CDs are shrinking to nothing and no new artists are being developed for careers — just one-off novelty sales.

The RIAA needs a visionary or a proactive watchdog. How about Rudy Giuliani? You could just about see him going into kids' homes and unplugging their CD burners. Something has to be done quickly if the recording industry is going to survive....