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January 15, 1998|SHAUNA SNOW


Brinkley Ads Off ABC: ABC has stopped airing controversial commercials featuring former ABC anchor David Brinkley speaking for the Archer Daniels Midlands agribusiness company. The ads--which critics maintain were designed to look like editorial content--had been running in "This Week," the Sunday news show that Brinkley once anchored. ABC officials said Wednesday they accepted the ads thinking that all major networks would run them; NBC had earlier opted against the ads.

Allen Stays 'Home': ABC's top ratings performer, "Home Improvement," will return, with "Tool Man" Tim Allen agreeing to an eighth season. "The 'Home Improvement' [cast and crew] are like a second family to me, and I'm not quite ready to break it up," said Allen, who will reportedly earn $1.25 million per episode.

Too Much Reality: Actor Eddie Mekka (Carmine on "Laverne & Shirley") nearly choked during a taping Tuesday of the WB network's "The Jamie Foxx Show." He was playing a gangster whose scarf gets caught in an elevator, but the stunt backfired when Mekka, 45, actually began to choke, Mekka's spokesman said. Foxx ran to his guest's aid, using a pair of scissors to cut the scarf and free Mekka, who was hospitalized for treatment.

Brooks Settles: Just as opening statements were about to begin Wednesday, Garth Brooks settled with songwriter Guy Thomas, who had contended that Brooks' song "Standing Outside the Fire" was lifted from a Kenny Loggins tune, "Conviction of the Heart," written by Thomas. Settlement terms were not disclosed. Brooks said that he did not expect the matter to harm his career and he planned to "just keep on doing what I'm doing."


Actors Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, both 27, are expecting a child in July, Thurman's publicist announced Wednesday. No word on if the couple will wed. . . . Christian Slater arrived at La Verne's Public Safety Facility shortly after noon Wednesday to begin a 90-day jail sentence for battery and drug convictions. The suburban facility was chosen by Slater's lawyer so the actor could avoid hardened criminals. . . . Director Stanley Donen ("Singin' in the Rain," "Damn Yankees") will receive an honorary Oscar during the 70th Academy Awards ceremonies on March 23. Previous recipients include Kirk Douglas and Federico Fellini. . . . Former KLSX-FM (97.1) talk-show host Riki Rachtman was sentenced Tuesday to 15 days on a Caltrans crew for punching fellow radio host Doug Steckler after an on-air altercation last September.

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