Diana Ross won't stand trial

Tucson, Ariz. -- There will be no trial for pop diva Diana Ross on drunken-driving charges.

During a pretrial hearing in Tucson City Court, Ross' lawyers said she was ready to accept a plea agreement and would change her earlier "not guilty" plea at a hearing scheduled Feb. 9.

Her trial had been scheduled for this month.

Details of the agreement, including what type of plea Ross, 59, may enter or whether any type of sentence might be involved, were not released.

The neurotic director

Los Angeles -- Actor Tony Shalhoub says his recent stint as a film director gave him more insight into the phobic, obsessive-compulsive detective he plays on the USA Network series "Monk."

Shalhoub, who won Emmy and Golden Globe awards last year for the show, fulfilled a professional dream by making his feature directorial debut with the indie comedy "Made-Up," a mockumentary that co-stars his wife, Brooke Adams, and Gary Sinise.

Said Shalhoub, "Directing truly does legitimize our control-freakish tendencies. It brought out the most 'Monkish' aspects of my character."

Musical causing commotion

La Jolla, Calif. -- Here's one for the annals of What Were They Thinking?

A theater in California is working on a musical -- yes, a musical -- about the 1997 cross-country killing spree of Andrew Cunanan, the reputed gay escort and drug user who murdered five, including fashion designer Gianni Versace.

In development at the La Jolla Playhouse in California, which got a $35,000 grant for the project from the National Endowment for the Arts, the grim-sounding musical already has drawn protest from Cunanan's family and from some members of the gay community in Florida.

"Cunanan was sick, and do you celebrate that? People's lives were gone, and do you celebrate that?" asked Bill Peters of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale.

The theater's artistic director, Shirley Fishman, said the piece would be loosely based on Cunanan's life and "examine some issues in our contemporary society like class difference, the media's obsession with celebrity, wealth and fame, and the media's penchant for sensationalism."

'Frasier' series to end

Los Angeles -- After some brief talk of keeping the show going for a 12th season next fall, NBC said Monday that its five-time Emmy-winning comedy, "Frasier," would call it quits in May.

This was widely assumed to be its last season, but in recent months Kelsey Grammer, who has portrayed the high-strung psychologist Frasier Crane for 20 years since the character originated on "Cheers," had said he was open to continuing.

"Frasier" won the Emmy for best comedy for five straight years, from 1994 to 1998.

Its exit means that NBC will go into next season without both of the popular, urbane comedies that have defined it as a network for the past decade. The last episode of "Friends" also will air in May.


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