How to wake up Julia

The phone call woke her from a sound sleep. But Julia Roberts was "quite happy" to hear the news from boyfriend Benjamin Bratt that she'd been nominated for a best-actress Oscar for "Erin Brockovich."

"It's a nice call to get when you're sound asleep," Roberts said. "I had only just gone to sleep, just gotten quite asleep when the phone rang. Benjamin won the 'fast finger dial' on that one and got to tell me the good news."

"This is just my happy time," Roberts said. "I got nominated for an Oscar! That's thrilling! I couldn't be happier."

In the March 9 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Roberts said what she loves is that she "will forever be on that list with those gals. 'Til the end of time. I. Will. Always. Be. On. That. List."

'Frasier' renewed ...

NBC has struck a deal with the studio that makes "Frasier" to keep the five-time Emmy-winning comedy about a pompous Seattle psychologist on the air for at least three more years.

If NBC hadn't nailed down the agreement, there was a risk that Paramount would have shopped the comedy to another network. Series star Kelsey Grammer seemed happy on Tuesday to be staying put. "I got off the phone and jumped around the room for a while" when the deal was done, Grammer said.

... but 'Bette' bows out

Like "Bette"? Better tune in tonight.

CBS has pulled the plug on Bette Midler's troubled sitcom, with Wednesday night's episode to be the last original one that will hit the air, say trade reports.

Production on the show has been shut down after 18 episodes, four short of the original 22-episode order. Despite a strong ratings start and somewhat promising reviews, the show faltered, with uneven writing and a constant recasting of its secondary roles.

In November, Midler, 55, moaned on-air about her show to fellow network star David Letterman. Appearing on "The Late Show," Midler called her own sitcom "the lowest thing that ever happened to me in my life."

Dennehy adds sitcom to resume

Playing Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" was "the best experience" of his life, says Brian Dennehy, who stars in the new NBC comedy "The Fighting Fitzgeralds."

Dennehy, 62, plays a loud, gruff but lovable dad with three grown sons.

It's quite a switch for the Tony-winning actor.

"A sitcom is different," he told AP Radio. "I mean, this is for money, and I like doing comedy, and I'm good at comedy, and if you're a good actor, why would you always want to do the same thing?

"The whole point of being an actor is you can play different parts and so this is about as different as it can be."


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