February 22, 2002 01:00 AM

‘WISE’ MARIAH: Her summer 2001 movie “Glitter” may have tanked with critics and audiences, but Mariah Carey is having a second life on the silver screen, says the Hollywood Reporter. The 31-year-old pop diva, who has had a run of lousy luck lately, received glowing reviews for her starring role in last month’s Sundance Film Festival selection “Wisegirls,” and as a result is preparing to reunite with the film’s producer, Anthony Esposito, for her next movie, the drama “Sweet Science.” According to the trade paper, Carey will star as a zealous boxing manager who drafts an unknown female boxer and then sets out to make them both famous. The project is due to begin shooting this summer.

STING TOME: He’s got two years to compile what it is he has to say, but according to reports, Sting has just sold his memoirs for $1.5 million to Bantam Dell, a unit of the Bertelsmann publishing empire. The New York Post says that the tome, to be published in 2004, will not be a tell-all per se, though it will chronicle some personal aspects of the ex-Police man’s life, including his experiences with drugs. According to the paper, major international publishers came to New York and visited Sting, 50, at his Central Park West apartment during the past month to see his 10-page proposal.

ROSIE RELATIONSHIP: There’s no putting to rest the rumors of a rift between ABC News stars Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, as even The New York Times pointed out. The latest episode, notes the paper, concerns Sawyer’s landing a big interview in which Rosie O’Donnell talks about being a lesbian — which will not air until March 14, on “Primetime Thursday.” But Walters and her sister hosts on “The View” already did a segment on O’Donnell’s coming out, following reports of the revelation in PEOPLE.com and elsewhere. The Times reports that people at ABC News confirmed on Tuesday that Sawyer, 56, was angry that Walters, 70, had scooped her. But Sawyer told the Associated Press on Tuesday that she does not believe that her colleague had meant to dampen her exclusive.

BUSH BRIEFS: We see London, we see France, we President Bush’s underpants. And, according to The Washington Post, they are “tighty-whities,” also known as briefs. The unveiling took place in a $5.95 novelty cutout book that went on sale at the Kennedy Center — and, apparently, other retail outlets — this week entitled “George W. Bush and His Family Paper Dolls.” The illustration of Bush on page seven, by artist Tom Tierney, features the president demurely clasping his hands in front of himself as he sports his briefs, matching T-shirt and . . . cowboy boots. First Lady Laura Bush is garbed in a full-length blue slip. The Post quotes the book’s text as explaining that her “underwear . . . is more modest than today’s swimwear.”

LANCE LANDS: Word of ‘N Sync member Lance Bass’s blasting off into outer space was premature. “It is as if I said I had bought Australia,” Sergei Gorbunov, a spokesman for the Russian space agency, told Reuters on Thursday, adding that there is absolutely no agreement between MirCorp and his agency, Rosaviakosmos, let alone with Bass, as had earlier been announced. “MirCorp has no right to sell these flights. They have no link to Rosaviakosmos,” he said. On Thursday morning, the world was atwitter with the news that, for a $25 million passage fee, the Amsterdam-based space travel company MirCorp, was trying to book Bass, 22, aboard a mission due to blast off in November. In a statement, Bass said he was “completely overwhelmed (but) looking forward to completing this lifelong dream.”

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