Rosie O'Donnell's Really Big Show | 'Lethal Weapon 5'? Not So Fast | Superstars Will Rock for Obama
Rosie O'Donnell's Really Big Show
I told you back on July 28, and now it's being announced officially: Rosie O'Donnell is the new Ed Sullivan.
Rosie is getting her own live-from-New York variety show on NBC, with a test segment set to air on Nov. 26, the night before Thanksgiving.
After that, expect a launch soon after — probably February — and more likely on Sundays than Wednesdays. Part of the idea is to do the show from a Broadway theater. On Sundays, most of those shows are "dark" or closed.
"Rosie's Variety Show" will air at 8 p.m., so O'Donnell will have to watch it with certain kinds of material. In order for this project to work — and I think it will, amazingly well — she's got to observe the "family hour." Kids will be watching. Her own kids will be in the audience. Blue material will be verboten.
The next question is, who will be the house band? After seeing him host a PBS special last month in Boston, I recommend Rosie look up Chris Botti. The trumpet player is like a modern Doc Severinsen via Sting, and already has talk-show band cred following his stint on the short lived "Caroline Rhea Show."
And who knows? Maybe if Elisabeth Hasselbeck leaves "The View," she can be Rosie's Carol Merrill. Just kidding!
'Lethal Weapon 5'? Not So Fast
We're just catching up to reports (it started in Entertainment Weekly) that a "Lethal Weapon 5" could be in the offing. Not so fast.
Even though Shane Black, who wrote the first "Lethal Weapon," has floated out the idea of directing this one, there are a lot of obstacles.
For one thing, it's doubtful that director Richard Donner would return. Internet blogs are rife with rumors that it’s a matter of producer Joel Silver vs. Donner. But that seems far-fetched.
While anything’s possible, Donner’s dissatisfaction with Mel Gibson started with "The Passion of the Christ" and was only exacerbated by his antics in Malibu. Donner, who’s had more commercial success than almost any other Hollywood director, doesn’t need the headache of getting involved with Gibson now.
Similarly, it’s unclear how Danny Glover would feel about working again with a man whose broadcast racist comments. Glover made a lot of money on the four "Lethal Weapon" movies. It’s not like he "needs" this. He’s got lots of other projects.
Then there’s the whole question of whether Warner Bros. wants to be the first major studio to break down and have a Gibson film. Gibson’s current project, "Edge of Darkness," is an independent production outside of the studio system.
And what about the fact that "Lethal Weapon 4," released 10 years ago — long before Gibson’s career suicide — wrapped up everything that needed to be said for this long-in-the-tooth series? Gibson’s days of dislocating his shoulder and putting it back in place, or making Glover run around pretending to be horrified by his partner’s actions, are safely resolved.
The best plan for "Lethal Weapon"? Let sleeping dogs lie. Just ask Sylvester Stallone what it’s like to bring back ancient characters well past their prime. Ouch!
Superstars Will Rock for Obama
Maybe you’ve heard: Barack Obama is bringing out the big guns for fundraising.
Two rock superstars who rarely get together are combining forces for the Democratic presidential nominee. Both Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, hometown heroes of New Jersey and New York, are going to perform in Manhattan on Oct. 16 at a superstar fundraiser.
The event, at the Hammerstein Ballroom, is also shaping up as a family affair. I’m told that Billy will perform a duet with his singer daughter, Alexa. Their number will most likely be a reprise of Ray Charles’ "Baby Grand," which they did last May at the Rainforest Foundation concert at Carnegie Hall.
Springsteen and Joel should also generate some special guest-star firepower. I’m told that Springsteen’s E Street Band is likely to show up, include wife Patti Scialfa.
As for Alexa Joel — whose mom, yes, is Christie Brinkley — she’s getting the fundraising started Thursday night when she joins a bunch of hot indie acts — this very night — at the Highline Ballroom on West 16th St. in New York.
Among the other performers will be Cass Dillon, whom Billy selected to sing his anti-war song, "Christmas in Fallujah," earlier this year. Alexa makes another stop next Monday at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut to keep polishing up her much buzzed-about act.