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Morning Report

July 18, 2002|Elaine Dutka

POP/ROCK

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Alcohol, Cocaine Found in Aaliyah Pilot's System

The Bahamas Department of Civil Aviation announced Tuesday that Luis Antonio Morales, pilot of the doomed flight that killed singer-actress Aaliyah last summer, had cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time the plane went down.

Authorities are still trying to determine the extent to which those substances--revealed in an autopsy and subsequent toxicology tests--influenced his flight skills.

The statement also indicated that the Cessna 402B, which was flying 700 pounds overweight, may not have had the requisite maintenance, specifically fuel-pump wiring modifications. But an examination of the plane showed no cause for malfunction.

It has already been established that the pilot was not authorized to fly the Cessna and that, 12 days before the crash, he'd been in a Florida courtroom pleading no contest to cocaine possession, trafficking in stolen airplane parts, theft and driving with a suspended license. He was sentenced to three years' probation.

Federal authorities have launched a criminal probe into the owner of the plane--Florida-based Chacon's Blackhawk International Airways, which wasn't licensed to fly charter planes in the Bahamas. A civil lawsuit has been filed by the families of Aaliyah and other victims, charging Virgin Records, several video production companies and Blackhawk with negligence and recklessness.

The singer was in the Bahamas shooting a video for "Rock the Boat," an album released posthumously.

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TELEVISION

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New 'Ren & Stimpy' Episodes on the Way

John Kricfalusi, the man who created the Nickelodeon hit "The Ren & Stimpy Show," is coming back--creating six new original episodes of the series for TNN.

The network will also air the 52 original shows as part of its adult animation block set to launch in the spring. The tale of an ornery asthmatic Chihuahua and his trusting feline sidekick, the show was a catalyst for the animation renaissance of the 1990s.

It's a victory, of sorts, for Kricfalusi, who left the series during its second season in 1992 in an acrimonious parting with Nickelodeon, which continued to produce the program. A resulting lawsuit was settled out of court and Viacom now owns the property.

"The whole gang is back. It's just like the old days--only ruder," said Kricfalusi, who will reprise the voice of Ren.

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QUICK TAKES

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Angelina Jolie and her husband, Billy Bob Thornton, have been living apart for four months and haven't seen each other since June 3, the Oscar-winning actress told Us Weekly. Thornton's spokesman told the magazine they remain "very married." ... Paul McCartney will kick off his "Back to the U.S." tour this fall--a few months after completing his first swing through the nation. Local dates: the Arrowhead Pond on Oct. 25 and Staples Center three days later....David Chase, the creator of "The Sopranos," revealed this week that he and the show's producers are discussing the possibility of a big-screen version after the HBO series ends....'N Sync's Lance Bass has been selected by the Russian Aviation and Space Agency to fill the third seat of the fall space mission, though he still has several steps to complete and no contract has been signed.... "The Price Is Right" host Bob Barker returned to his L.A. home Tuesday after undergoing prostate surgery. He expects to return to work Aug. 19.

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