PASSAGES: Dr. Phil Sticking Around
RENEWED: Tough-love therapist Dr. Phil McGraw, star of the relatively still-new syndicated series “Dr. Phil,” has extended his contract on the show for two more years, through the 2005-06 TV season, reports Variety. When “Dr. Phil,” which was created by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, debuted in September, it scored the strongest numbers for a syndicated talk series since “The Oprah Winfrey Show” launched in 1986. It has continued to rate second only to “Oprah” in the talk show category and consistently ranks among all the top 10 syndicated shows.
RESCUED: Steven Spielberg has rescued another Oscar from the auction block by paying $180,000 for Bette Davis‘s Best Actress Oscar for the 1935 movie “Dangerous,” spokesman Marvin Levy said Thursday. Spielberg will donate the Oscar to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In the past, Spielberg, 56, has paid $578,000 for Davis’s Oscar for the 1938 movie “Jezebel,” and $607,500 for Clark Gable‘s Best Actor Oscar for 1934’s “It Happened One Night.”
COMPOSED: Bono, Joe Strummer and Dave Stewart have written a song tribute to Nelson Mandela called “48864” after Mandela’s prison number, which they will perform at a Feb. 2 Mandela SOS concert on South Africa’s Robben Island, according to published reports. The daylong concert is to raise international awareness about the AIDS epidemic that has ravaged Africa. Other musicians scheduled to perform include Queen, Macy Gray, Nelly Furtado, Shaggy and Johnny Clegg.
SOUGHT: Minnie Mouse might get jealous, bit it looks like Disney has renewed interest in purchasing the Jim Henson Co., which would include taking title to Miss Piggy. (Disney once tried to acquire the Muppets before, in 1989, but the deal unraveled with Jim Henson’s death in 1990.) According to trade reports, Disney had not made a formal proposal to the troubled German media firm EM.TV, which for the past two years has been the parent of the Henson empire. A Mouse House bid is expected to be in the $130 million range. That should keep Miss Piggy in feathered boas for many years to come.