Three worthy documentaries vie for your attention Monday night: "American Experience: Building the Alaska Highway" and "POV: Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed," both on PBS (check local listings for times), and "The Origins of AIDS" on Sundance at 9 p.m. EST.
I Am a Wolfe Fan? President Bush has reportedly been "enthusiastically" recommending Tom Wolfe's latest novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons" -- you know, the one that blows the lid off all the beer drinking and bad sex that goes on on college campuses these days -- to friends. And though the White House won't comment about the president's purported embrace of the book, officially citing biographies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, along with the Bible, as the tomes currently on his night table, the International Herald Tribune tracked down Wolfe himself to speculate on what in his boozy, sexually graphic book might have captured the White House-dwelling former frat boy's imagination. "I imagine he responded to the blinding talent," Wolfe said, adding, "but beyond that, I'm just not sure." (International Herald Tribune)
Tapper the new Ted? Recent rumors that George Stephanopoulos may be called in to replace Ted Koppel on "Nightline" have themselves been replaced by rumors that "Nightline" itself may soon be history. And ABC parent Disney is reportedly considering two very different shows to run in its stead: a sports show currently being developed by ABC sibling ESPN and what the Los Angeles Times has termed a "freewheeling show" focusing on "tabloid-friendly fodder" like the Michael Jackson trial and hosted by "Good Morning America" weekend edition co-anchor and former Salon writer and current ABC Washington reporter Jake Tapper. So what will become of Koppel himself? The veteran newsman is said to be interested in making a proposed move to the ABC Sunday talk show "This Week," currently hosted by Stephanopoulos -- but not until after "Nightline" celebrates its 25th anniversary in May. (Los Angeles Times)
Smoking gun in the Cosby case? The woman who has accused Bill Cosby of drugging her and fondling her at his home early last year has reportedly taped phone calls from Cosby made after she went public with her allegations. Sources have told the Philadelphia Daily News that the tapes support the woman's allegations and that they have been turned over to the Phildelphia-area prosecutors overseeing the case. The alleged victim's lawyers are not commenting, and no charges have yet been filed in the case. (Philadelphia Daily News)
Must ... fight ... award-show fatigue: The Screen Actors Guild offered little surprise by handing Jamie Foxx and Hilary Swank best actor and actress awards, respectively, on Saturday night. But the group's voters knocked everyone for a loop when they named Alexander Payne's "Sideways" -- not Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" or Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" -- the year's best movie, giving it the best motion picture cast award. Sandra Oh, accepting the award on behalf of herself and her three costars, Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen, called Payne (to whom she is married) a "director who saw in each of us something that most people don't usually see." (Hollywood Reporter)
Also: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the powers that be behind this week's Fashion Week in New York have worked out a deal whereby PETA activists will attend the events (and be allowed to promote their anti-fur cause in a subdued sort of way) rather than disrupt them, as they have in the past. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Suge Knight is in jail in San Bernardino County, Calif., after police pulled him over for making an illegal U-turn, found marijuana in his truck and arrested him for violating his parole. (N.Y. Daily News) ... Jessica Simpson's husband, Nick Lachey, reportedly propositioned a young blonde at ESPN Magazine's Super Bowl party over the weekend. (Rush and Molloy) ... "America's Next Top Model" winner and "Surreal Life" attention grabber Adrianne Curry is said to have "jumped onstage and gyrated topless in front of 500 red-blooded customers" and to have given out "free lap dances" at the New York strip club Scores the other night. (Page Six) ... Harry Winston jewelers are confirming that the 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring Ben Affleck gave Jennifer Lopez way back when has been "re-acquired" by the company and is back up for sale, but will not disclose who returned it. (Reuters)
-- Amy Reiter