'Anonymous' Fallout: CBS News President Andrew Heyward said Thursday that he has accepted the resignation of Newsweek columnist Joe Klein from his job as a political commentator for CBS. Klein, who finally admitted last week that he was the "anonymous" author of the politically charged novel "Primary Colors," had lied about his identity during an interview on the "CBS Evening News." Heyward said he had been "deeply troubled . . . that Joe had not been truthful with us or, more importantly, the public. At this point," he added, "I'd prefer to leave the moral judgment to others." In a note to Heyward quoted by the CBS executive, Klein said that he felt "terribly sorry about any discomfort" his actions had caused CBS and that he was resigning "with great sadness." Newsweek, which earlier had defended Klein, announced Thursday that the magazine has asked Klein to take several weeks off.
Taking On 'Real Life': Funnywoman Merrill Markoe, former head writer of NBC's "Late Night With David Letterman," has joined the team of national correspondents for NBC's daytime magazine show "Real Life." Markoe, who will be based in Los Angeles and provide "humorous takes on everyday situations," previously appeared on Michael Moore's irreverent series "TV Nation" and was a reporter for KCOP-TV Channel 13, where she hosted "Merrill's L.A."
Queen vs. BBC?: In what is being viewed as retribution for the BBC's Nov. 20 hourlong interview with Diana, princess of Wales--in which she admitted to adultery and questioned the suitability of Prince Charles to become king--Queen Elizabeth II has ended the BBC's 60-year monopoly on broadcasting her annual Christmas message. The palace has announced that Britain's commercially funded Independent Television network will produce and broadcast the British monarch's message in 1997 and 1998. Afterward, the assignment will alternate between the BBC and ITV.
Focus on Short Films: More than 150 short films--including the Holocaust-themed "One Survivor Remembers," Nick Park's animated Wallace and Gromit adventure "A Close Shave" and the Christine Lahti-directed "Leiberman in Love," all of which have won Academy Awards--will be screened at the second annual Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, taking place next Wednesday through Aug. 4 at Palm Springs' Spring Theater. This year's lineup, which more than doubles the 75 films offered last year, also includes the world premiere of "Shoot the Moon," executive produced by "Friends" star David Schwimmer, and the West Coast premiere of the sci-fi thriller "Take Out the Beast," starring "Wings" star Steven Weber. Several other world and U.S. premieres are scheduled.
The Country Way: Bob Coburn, longtime on-air personality at classic rock station KLOS-FM (95.5), on Thursday took over the 2 to 7 p.m. weekday afternoon drive slot at country music station KZLA-FM (93.9). The addition of Coburn is part of KZLA's recent transformation to a "country-rock" format, in which artists including the Eagles, Bob Seger, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett and James Taylor are played alongside country hit makers like Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and Shania Twain.
A $4.9-Million Image: A Chicago judge has ruled that former "A-Team" star Mr. T must pay $4.9 million to Calvin Hollins and John Bitoy--two men who had claimed that they transformed the former nightclub bouncer Lawrence Tero into the flashy mohawk-coifed tough-guy character that became known as Mr. T. The men said the entertainer had agreed to pay them 20% of his gross earnings for life. Mr. T, who is battling lymphoma cancer, said after the ruling, "It's just one round," indicating that he would appeal. His lawyer had maintained that Hollins and Bitoy did nothing to earn any fees.