Stephen M. Silverman
May 14, 2003 03:58 PM

PREVIEWED: “The Matrix Reloaded,” starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Laurence Fishburne, is so much in demand, reports Reuters, that its distributor, Warner Bros. (which, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner), has scheduled Wednesday previews ahead of a huge, 3,600-theater opening on Thursday. Still, “Reloaded” is only one-half the entire movie, the film’s producer Joel Silver says, because when it ends, its companion, “The Matrix Revolutions,” begins, this coming November.

SINGLED OUT: Bob Guiney, 32, a mortgage broker from Michigan, will be the next star of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which will air in the fall, the network announced. Earlier this year, Guiney was booted from “The Bachelorette” by Trista Rehn but proved to be popular with viewers — so popular, he told reporters Tuesday, that last month he was only able to devote nine days to his job. The rest were devoted to five appearances with Oprah and the signing of a deal to write the book, “What a Difference a Year Makes.”

QUOTED: “For all of us at NBC News, good night” — Jane Pauley, 52, signing off the air for the last time on Tuesday’s “Dateline NBC.” Her retirement officially begins Wednesday, though she says she intends to make documentaries.

MARRIED: E! host Jules Asner, 35, has left her job at the entertainment network and married film director Steven Soderbergh, the New York Post reports. She and Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “Ocean’s 11”), 40, wed Saturday in his Manhattan apartment. Asner was previously married, from 1992-96, to Matthew Asner, while Soderbergh was previously married to actress Betsy Brantley (“Double Jeopardy”), with whom he has a daughter, Sarah, 13. Asner, meanwhile, is said to be developing her own syndicated talk show in the vein of “Oprah.” For its part, E! termed her departure “amicable.”

HONORED: Veteran stunt performers Harry O’Connor — who died tragically last April while filming a stunt for the movie “XXX” — and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” stuntman Terry Leonard have been named to receive honors at the Taurus World Stunt Awards telecast, set to air on the USA Network June 7. O’Connor was known throughout the stunt community as one of the best in skydiving-related stunts, and his work can be seen in. “A Perfect Storm” and “Charlie’s Angels.”

BUSTED: “Up in Smoke” actor Tommy Chong, 64, of the spaced-out comic duo Cheech & Chong, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a federal conspiracy charge of selling drug paraphernalia over the Internet through his family-run business, Nice Dreams Enterprises, reports Reuters. He could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. But federal prosecutors said the actual penalty would likely be more lenient as part of Chong’s plea bargain, says the news service.

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