Wednesday, March 26, 2003

CNN drops 'Connie Chung Tonight'

New York -- CNN on Tuesday abruptly dropped one of its best-known anchors, Connie Chung, who had been hired only last spring as the centerpiece of a star-driven prime-time lineup.

"Connie Chung Tonight" had been criticized in some circles for its emphasis on crime and personality stories but had drawn strong ratings in a nondescript time slot.

Her show was temporarily replaced by an Aaron Brown-anchored news program after the war's start last week, and she had asked management for a time when it would come back. Instead, she was informed Tuesday that the show had been canceled, CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson said.

Chung was asked to stay at CNN in another capacity and declined, Robinson said.

A major figure in broadcasting over the past 30 years, Chung was hired away from ABC News last year.

Dixie Chicks in new squawk

Los Angeles -- As if President Bush wasn't a big enough foe, the Dixie Chicks are in hot water again, this time with the PETA.

Actually, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doesn't have a beef with the band, but with its management company, which nixed an ad the Texas-based trio did as part of PETA's "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign. The ad featured Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire posing in a field of flowers clad in nothing more than a few strategically placed instruments.

The band's managers, afraid that the recent brouhaha over Maines' antiwar statements would embroil the Chicks in another boycott, pulled the ad. They even tried to pay PETA $10,000 to pretend the whole thing never happened, MSNBC reports.

Kravitz has song for peace

Los Angeles -- Plenty of celebs have been vocal about their antiwar sentiments. Lenny Kravitz is doing them one better: The 38-year-old nose-ringed rocker is letting love rule by recording a duet with Iraq's reigning pop star, Kadim Al Sahir.

"We Want Peace," made available for download on Rock the Vote's Web site Tuesday (, is being billed as "an urgent call for America to be a peaceful leader in the world."

MTV shows restraint

London -- During wartime, MTV is nixing violent videos, such as ones with images of war and explosions, a spokeswoman told MSNBC's The Scoop.

"Videos with words such as 'bomb,' 'missile,' 'war' or other sensitive words in the artist or song title should not be shown at the moment," said MTV Europe executive Mark Sunderland. "We're screening videos with an eye toward current events to make sure whatever we play is sensitive and appropriate."

Off-limits videos include Aerosmith's "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (contains footage from "Armageddon"), U2's "Miss Sarajevo" (contains missiles, guns and buildings being blown up) and Bon Jovi's "This Ain't a Love Song" (contains war scenes and victims in distress) and Radiohead's "Lucky" (contains war footage).