JUST BETWEEN YOU AND ME...: Connie Chung — whose career just hasn't been the same since she urged Kathleen Gingrich to whisper sweet somethings into her ear during a 1995 interview — is out of work again. On Tuesday, CNN abruptly axed her prime-time show Connie Chung Tonight. Although CNN asked her to stay on in another capacity, Maury Povich's other half declined.
BATTLE FOR VIEWERS: In the war over cable news leadership, Fox News Channel has outdrawn CNN in the ratings during the first five days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Through Monday, Fox has averaged 4 million viewers to CNN's 3.57 million. But don't count CNN out yet: Word has it the network is considering sending Bill Hemmer into the field shirtless.
IDOL NEWS: Fox will debut its kiddie version of American Idol, titled Junior Idol, on June 3. The spinoff will air in AI's Tuesday-8 pm timeslot. In related news, Variety reports that American Idol 3 will kick off in January 2004.
D-DAY: Las Vegas was the place to be Tuesday night as newly-shorn diva Celine Dion debuted her much-hyped $30 million stage show "A New Day" at the 4,100-seat Colosseum at Caesar's Palace. During the 100-minute extravaganza, the 35-year-old singer belted out 20 tunes, including such classics as "Fever," "At Last" and "I've Got the World on a String." Under the terms of her contract, Dion is expected perform five nights a week, 40 weeks a year until 2006 — or until the locals stage an uprising against her.
BELATED THANKS: Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski issued a statement from France Tuesday saying he was "deeply touched" to be honored with the best director Oscar for his Holocaust drama The Pianist. Polanski, who fled the U.S. in 1978 after being sentenced to prison for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, faces arrest if he returns.
FITTING TRIBUTE: Republican Rep. Jeff Habay plans to introduce legislation that would rename the Highland Park Bridge in suburban Pittsburgh after late TV icon Fred Rogers, who died last month of stomach cancer.
LESS IS MORE: ABC is shortening its prime-time shows by 2 1/2 minutes to make room for war updates. "By asking our producers to deliver shorter episodes, we've addressed the need for news updates while also protecting the integrity of our prime-time content," an ABC rep tells Reuters. Good, because I was beginning to worry that no one was protecting the integrity of According to Jim.
PEACE PIPES: Rocker Lenny Kravitz has recorded a peace anthem with Iraqi pop star Kadim Al Sahir titled We Want Peace. The tune is available at www.RockTheVote.org.