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The big picture

Now that his CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond s going head-to-head against ABC’s Monday Night Football in most of the country, comedian Ray Romano prays that there are a few folks who don’t love football. “I tell people to at least give us the little picture, if they have picture-in-a-picture TV,” says Romano, 40, with a laugh. “But if you’re going to watch football, you don’t need dialogue, so give us the big picture! Or give us the little picture with closed captioning. Just give us a shot.” At least the Queens, N.Y., native is hoping that he will have home-screen advantage in the Big Apple. “In New York we go against football, and all my friends are in New York,” says Romano, “so this year I’ll find out who my real friends are.”

Murphy’s law

Fast-talking comedian Chris Tucker, who plays a Los Angeles detective to Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong detective in the hit action comedy Rush Hour, says he isn’t so quick to dismiss comparisons to Eddie Murphy. “Eddie had his breakout role in Beverly Hills Cop, and I think this might be [mine],” says Tucker, 27, who has sought career advice from the superstar. “Eddie told me the stuff to look out for in this business. He told me to stay focused. He said that’s the most important thing.” Before he tried his hand at show business, though, Tucker had other big ideas. “Once in high school I turned my locker into a discount candy outlet,” he recalls. “The principal cut the lock and about 500 Twix bars fell at his feet. I said, ‘Have a free Snickers.’ And he said, ‘You’re suspended.’ ”

The mighty Quinn

Since her 1993-’98 CBS drama Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman was canceled last spring, Jane Seymour may have found the perfect tonic with her new line of children’s books, This One and That One. The series, which began last month with the titles Yum and Big Jim, features kittens based on Seymour’s 2½-year-old twin sons, John and Kristopher, with director-husband James Keach. “These are the first books I’ve written, and they’re already asking for a third,” reports Seymour, 47. “They’re also making a one-hour movie based on the characters, and it’s possibly going to be a series.” So what was the British actress’s favorite book as a child?” Winnie-the-Pooh,” she says. “I loved how cuddly he was and his friendships with the other characters. And yes, I suppose I did like the fact that he was English.”

Rice work if you can get it

Since her memorable turn in the hit comedy There’s Something About Mary, Hollywood upstart Cameron Diaz admits success has definitely changed her. “It has toughened me up,” quips Diaz, 26. “I used to be such a nice girl. Now, I’m all calloused and bruised.” The hot actress next costars with Christian Slater and Jeremy Piven in the black comedy Very Bad Things, which is set to open Nov. 25. “This is my third wedding film,” says Diaz, who has reportedly split with longtime beau Matt Dillon. “I play a woman who will stop at nothing to get married—I got out all my wedding aggressions in the film.” In fact, Diaz, who triumphed over Julia Roberts in last year’s hit romance My Best Friend’s Wedding, picked up a few pointers from playing faux brides. “I think the movies taught me that I don’t want a big wedding,” she says. “It’s not about all the hoopla and if the seats have the right cushions on them.”