OUTKAST ANYTHING BUT: The first-ever Black Entertainment Television Awards were handed out last night in Las Vegas, and hip-hop group OutKast was the big winner — picking up trophies for best male group and video of the year for "Ms. Jackson." Denzel Washington was named best actor for Remember the Titans and Sanaa Lathan scored best actress honors for Love & Basketball. However, the star of the event — which recognized black entertainers and athletes in music, film and sports — was Whitney Houston, who received a Lifetime Achievement award. The pop diva — who in recent years has been dogged by rumors of drug problems — accepted the statue shouting, "I'm a survivor... The best is yet to come."
REHAB FOR SORKIN: The West Wing's creator, Aaron Sorkin, has agreed to court-supervised drug treatment in lieu of imprisonment on drug charges, Reuters reports. He was arrested on April 15 at Burbank Airport when hallucinogenic mushrooms, cocaine and marijuana were found in his carry-on bag. If he successfully completes the program — which may last up to two years — Sorkin will eschew jail and fines altogether. "Needless to say, it is a relief to have a resolution regarding my legal situation," Sorkin said in a statement. "I fully intend to proceed as directed by the court, and am eager to get back to work and focus on what's important."
THE REVIEWS ARE IN: The early word on Steven Spielberg and the late Stanley Kubrick's top-secret A.I.: Artificial Intelligence — due in theaters June 29 — is good. Variety calls it a "deeply thoughtful and thoroughly fascinating film," but adds that it is "not E.T., nor is it a kid's film." Meanwhile, Time's Richard Corliss raves that the pic boasts a "beautiful central performance" by Haley Joel Osment, who stars as a robot boy who yearns to be real. Corliss goes on to say, however, that "A.I. engrosses without quite enthralling." Finally, Newsweek's David Ansen enthuses, "A.I. exhilarates, frustrates and provokes: It's the most ambitious Hollywood movie in sight." You don't have to tell us twice.
JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace will be released on DVD Oct. 16 — the first Star Wars pic to be made available in this format. The two-disc set — priced at $29.98 — will feature seven new scenes deleted from the original, as well as a running commentary by director George Lucas.
DEEJAYS AXED: San Jose-based radio personalities Kramer and Twitch — who caused mass hysteria last week with a phony report that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake had been in a serious car accident — have been fired. Oops! We guess the joke's on them.
HARSH REALITY: The brains behind the acclaimed reality series American High is segueing from the classroom to the operating room. TNT has given a 13-episode order to Residents, a reality-drama series from R.J. Cutler that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "chronicles the personal and professional lives of eight to 12 medical residents during their first year out of med school." The show is expected to premiere on the cable network late next year. American High, meanwhile, concludes its run tonight on PBS.
SHORT CUTS: Survivor host Jeff Probst's film, Finder's Fee, won best picture at the Seattle Film Festival. Probst wrote and directed Fee, which stars ER's Eric Palladino as a street artist who happens upon a $6 million lottery ticket... Meg Ryan is in Thailand filming an hour-long TV documentary about elephant conservation... Actor/comedian Bill Bellamy and actress Kristen Baker were married on Saturday, June 16. Bellamy stars in the WB's new fall sitcom, Men, Women & Dogs... Talk-show hostess Ricki Lake gave birth to son Owen Tyler Sussman on Monday in the bathtub of her New York home. The newborn — Lake's second child with hubby Rob Sussman — was delivered by a midwife. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge
-Last week's episode of WWF Smackdown tied with ABC's "My Wife and Kids" as the 78th highest-rated primetime network program according to Nielsen Media Research.
-The term "WWF" fell from number 14 to number 17 on this week's Lycos 50 ranking the top 50 search terms on the Lycos search engine.
-The WWF is planning to ship some of its talent to WCW. WWF officials have already notified some of its talent that they will be shipped to the new WCW once they complete their already scheduled WWF appearances. In recent months there has been speculation that the WWF will send several of its undercard wrestlers to WCW, but not touch any of their top talent. Reports say that the WWF will indeed send some of their top talent over to WCW. Based on his upcoming match with Shane McMahon at the King of the Ring this Sunday, Kurt Angle will be on of the bigger names placed in WCW, but nothing has been official. When the idea came into thought of the WWF buying WCW, Triple H entertained the idea of jumping to WCW to give it a big boost. Of coarse, that was before the injury, and Rock's time off to create movies. At this time Triple H will remain in the WWF.
-The following are the 24 wrestlers had their contracts purchased as part of the new WCW sale: Lance Storm, Hugh Morrus, Mike Awesome, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Shawn Stasiak, Shane Helms, Johnny the Bull, The Wall, Shannon Moore, Mike Sanders, Mark Jindrak, Elix Skipper, Kwee Wee, Sean O' Haire, Chuck Palumbo, Jaime Knoble, Lash LaRoux, Kaz Hayashi, Yun Yang, Stacy Keibler, Reno, Kid Romeo, Jason Jett (EZ Money in ECW), and Evan Karagias. DDP and Kanyon will join Buff Bagwell, Booker T., and Rob Van Dam as wrestlers how have officially signed since the sale. Billy Kidman (maybe Torrie Wilson), and Tommy Dreamer are also expected to sign.
-You can add Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac to the King of the Ring lineup. It hasn't been confirmed by the WWF but from valuable sources.
-Expect for the WWF to add two or more matches for the King of the Ring this week on Sunday Night Heat prior to the PPV.
-Chris Benoit will be undergoing a test today to attempt to pinpoint his nerve damage and a decision on treatment should be made by the end of the week. Benoit has been suffering some numbness in his tricep and a recent MRI did not reveal the cause of the numbness. Benoit will not miss this Sunday's King of the Ring.
-Updated King of the Ring Card:
WWF World Title
Steve Austin (c) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit
WWF Light Heavyweight Title
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. X-Pac
Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon
King of the Ring Tournament Semi's:
Kurt Angle vs. Christian
Rhyno vs. Edge
Winners square off to determine the 2001 King of the Ring.
-Reports indicate that some sort of confrontation between the Undertaker and DDP is expected to go down at the PPV.