Plus: Moore's Oscar gamble, Gandolfini unhurt in crash, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 07, 2004 09:00 AM
Mark Stewart/Camera Press/Retna

TEASED: J.K. Rowling is giving visitors to her Web site a brief preview of her as-yet unreleased sixth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Should Net surfers successfully crack a code on the site, an excerpt is exposed, which reads, in part: “He looked rather like an old lion. … streaks of gray in his tawny hair and his bushy eyebrows; he had keen yellowish eyes behind a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles and a certain rangy, loping grace even though he walked with a slight limp.” The site does not reveal who is being described. While Rowling, 39, is expecting her third child, she reassures fans on her site that her pregnancy will not delay the completion of the next book.

BYPASSED: Michael Moore will not submit his Fahrenheit 9/11 for consideration as Best Documentary at this year’s Academy Awards but will instead seek the Best Picture prize. “For me the real Oscar would be Bush’s defeat on Nov. 2,” Moore tells the Associated Press. The Bush-whacking movie has won the support of Democrats but enraged the president’s supporters, who booed Moore, 50, when he visited the Republican National Convention last week. Despite their disapproval, the$6 million film has become a sensation, grossing $117.3 million in the U.S. alone this summer, making it the most financially successful documentary in history.

DAMAGED: Sopranos star James Gandolfini was unhurt after a suspected drunken driver in a Lincoln Town Car slammed into the actor’s Chevy Avalanche Saturday night in New Brunswick, N.J. Gandolfini, 42, was in town for a football game between Michigan State and his alma mater, Rutgers. Neither driver was injured, but both cars were towed away from the scene.

PLUMMETED: After respectable numbers for last Monday’s premiere episode of The Jane Pauley Show, ratings for the syndicated talk show dropped significantly – by 29 percent – over the next three days, according to Nielsen figures. A six percent decline from Wednesday to Thursday was surprising considering Pauley appeared on NBC’s Dateline Wednesday night to promote her autobiography Skywriting, reports AP. Presumably, her show the following morning should have seen a bump, not a drop.

GENERATED: The 39th annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon raised $59.4 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but organizers said Monday that power outages and other disruptions from Florida’s Hurricane Frances contributed to a decline over last year. Donations totaled 1.8 percent less than last year’s $60.5 million, reports AP. Lewis, 78, was assisted during the 21-1/2 hour fundraiser by Ed McMahon, and the broadcast featured performances by Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, Ray Romano, Tony Orlando and others.

SUSPENDED: Jay Kay, the lead singer of pop band Jamiroquai, had his driving privileges revoked by British authorities after admitting to a speeding violation. The suspension will last six months. In addition, he was ordered to pay a $1,350 fine. Sheriff Robert McCreadie of Perth Sheriff Court in Scotland told the musician Monday that his conduct was “entirely unacceptable.” Kay had explained in a letter to the court why he overtook a string of cars on a road near Perth on Feb. 26, exceeding the 70-mph speed limit. Police officers recorded that his four-wheel drive vehicle was traveling at 105 mph.