Booksellers unhappy with McCourt's adUnhappy with an...

People And Places

May 03, 1999

Booksellers unhappy with McCourt's ad

Unhappy with an author they once honored, independent booksellers overwhelmingly approved a resolution criticizing Frank McCourt for appearing in a television ad for the on-line superstore barnesandnoble.com. The American Booksellers Association, meeting in Los Angeles, voted Saturday at BookExpo America to draft a letter to McCourt expressing disappointment. He is the author of the hugely popular "Angela's Ashes" and the coming sequel "Tis."

Two years ago, the association presented McCourt its annual ABBY award, given to the author whose book they most enjoyed selling. His memoir was a surprise success and he has given a lot of the credit to independents.

Leaving `Law & Order'

The faces continue to change at the NBC drama "Law & Order." This time it's Benjamin Bratt (aka Det. Reynaldo Curtis), who becomes the latest in a long succession of actors who have checked out of the series after putting in a few years of service.

Bratt will leave at the conclusion of this season, his fourth. He will be replaced by Jesse L. Martin, best-known for recent guest shots on "Ally McBeal," in which he played Ally's boyfriend, and "The X-Files."

"Law" creator and executive producer Dick Wolf said Bratt is welcome to reprise his role in the coming spinoff about the NYPD sex crimes unit, "Law & Order: SCU." Next month, Bratt starts work on the Paramount feature "The Next Best Thing," which stars Madonna and Rupert Everett.

Starbucks gets `Magic'

Former NBA star turned movie theater mogul Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Howard Schultz, the gregarious CEO and philosopher-chairman of Starbucks, will get together over coffee Wednesday at a new Harlem location of the coffee chain to announce a joint venture. They say the Johnson Development Co. and Starbucks Coffee Co. together plan to develop Starbucks stores in "inner city and under-served locations throughout the United States."

Mornings with Gumbel

CBS News is expected to announce this week that "CBS This Morning" -- still struggling to climb out of third place in the morning ratings race -- will move in the fall to a new street-level studio across from Manhattan's Plaza Hotel. Although a CBS News spokeswoman declined comment, that move almost certainly means that Bryant Gumbel will be the next host of the program. Gumbel reportedly has agreed to the new job on the condition that the show make the move.

Orlando's sour notes

Singer Tony Orlando has sued Wayne Newton for more than $15 million, accusing his former friend of wrongly throwing him out of the Branson, Mo., theater they once shared and damaging his reputation. Orlando was locked out of the Talk of the T.O.W.N. Theatre by Newton's company, which said it was owed more than $2 million. Orlando denied it and was evicted, charges the lawsuit, which asks for lost earnings.

Today's birthdays

Broadway librettist Betty Comden is 80.

Folk singer Pete Seeger is 80.

Singer James Brown is 66.

Singer Engelbert Humperdinck is 63.

Singer Frankie Valli is 62.

Sports announcer Greg Gumbel is 53.

Magician Doug Henning is 52.

Singer Christopher Cross is 48.

Actress Jill Berard ("Hiller and Diller") is 9.

From staff and wire reports

Net Byte du Jour

Oh, the humanity! Among the topics addressed by the thousands of tortured souls who have been baring their lives on The Open Diary: "Thoughts on life," "Life as I see it," "God," and "Crawling into the fetal position." Peek in or record your thoughts at

http: //www.opendiary.com.

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