Plus: Slater attacked in London, NBC woos Katie to stay, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 24, 2005 08:00 AM

ADDED: ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson told reporters the network “will probably do one extra episode to help us with the finale” of its hot Sunday night hit Desperate Housewives, New York’s Daily News reports. He also said that he expects “tremendously amicable” salary negotiations for the cast – some members of which have made rumblings about their relatively paltry paychecks compared to stars of other hit shows. McPherson also said that Housewives and another top new series, Lost, will likely be rerun through the summer.

ATTACKED: Christian Slater, 35, escaped a knife attack Friday outside the London theater where he is starring in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, reports the BBC. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Slater was unharmed but that the weapon had “penetrated the clothing” of a man believed to be Slater’s bodyguard. Police reportedly recovered a knife from the scene, but no arrests have been made. In the play, which closed as scheduled on Saturday, Slater played the role that won Jack Nicholson an Oscar in the 1975 movie version.

ASSURED: NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, trying to scotch rumors that Katie Couric may leap to the desk that Dan Rather is vacating in March on the CBS Evening News, has told TV reporters that he expects the Today cohost to remain at NBC for a long time. Her contract extends for another year and a half, and he said negotiations over an extension have already begun. “We’ve decided that if CBS goes after Katie Couric, we’re going after Julie Chen,” said Zucker, according to the Associated Press. Chen, one of the CBS The Early Show hosts, married top CBS honcho Leslie Moonves in Mexico over the holidays.

ANNOUNCED: Grammy nominees Green Day, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and U2 are the first batch of performers announced for the Feb. 13 Grammy Awards, to be hosted by Queen Latifah. Ellen DeGeneres, Christina Milian and John Travolta are among those due to be presenters.

POSTPONED: The taping of the final episode of Everybody Loves Raymond was put on hold Friday because Patricia Heaton developed laryngitis. A wrap party was scheduled for Sunday regardless. Last week, series star Doris Roberts said of ending the show: “In order to survive in life, you have to have the ability to accept loss. … You have to accept that and move on.” Added costar Peter Boyle: “I have that ability because I lost my hair at a very young age.”

DIED: Rose Mary Woods, 87, the devoted secretary of President Richard M. Nixon, died Saturday night in a nursing home in Allaian, Ohio, according to reports. Woods took the credit for “inadvertently erasing” 18 1/2 minutes in a 1972 audio tape that recorded a crucial conversation between the president and chief of staff H.R. Haldeman that allegedly covered what Nixon knew about the break-in at Democratic headquarters at Washington’s Watergate complex.

CAST: Patti LaBelle will play Matron Mama Morton in Chicago (a role delivered by Queen Latifah in the movie) when the musical plays at L.A.’s Pantages Theater from Feb. 5-20. She will star with former talk-show host Wayne Brady, who portrays lawyer Billy Flynn (the Richard Gere movie role) in the touring production, AP reports. LaBelle, 60, appeared on Broadway in the 1982 revival of the musical revue Your Arms Too Short to Box with God and has brought her one-woman show to several Broadway theaters since then.