Jailhouse Sales: Tupac Shakur's well-publicized legal battles may be helping his record sales. The controversial rapper and actor's new "Me Against the World" album will enter Billboard magazine's pop chart at No. 1 on Saturday, after selling 211,000 copies during its first week in the stores. Retailers said Shakur's strong sales performance was driven by the strength of his hit single, "Dear Mama," a sentimental ode to his mother. The 23-year-old Shakur is currently jailed on New York's Rikers Island, serving two years on a sex-abuse charge. Shakur, who was shot five times just weeks before his incarceration, has faced criminal charges four other times since March 1993, including weapons charges in Los Angeles, where a warrant for his arrest is outstanding.
Fox Readies Fall Shows: A new animated show from "Beavis and Butt-head" creator Mike Judge, a comedy starring film actress Rosanna Arquette, a religion-themed drama from "Picket Fences" creator David E. Kelley, an Aaron Spelling series about vampire clans in San Francisco and a military drama billed as "the most ambitious science fiction production in Fox's history" are among the 15 comedies and 10 dramas in development for the network's 1995-96 season, Fox Entertainment Group President John A. Matoian announced Wednesday. Other projects that will vie for a slot on the network include a sitcom starring "In Living Color's" David Alan Grier and another with Latino comic Carlos Mencia, a comedy about a crop of "young and sexy" flight attendants, two dramas focused on the pop music industry, a half-hour reality series following a group of firefighters and a new drama from "Northern Exposure" creators Joshua Brand and John Falsey.
Black Viewership: Black audiences are not watching ratings front-runners "Seinfeld" and "ER," according to New York's BJK&E; Media Group, which compiles annual surveys of viewing habits. In the latest survey, the top five most-watched shows among black households were Fox's "Living Single," "Martin" and "New York Undercover," followed by NBC's "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and ABC's "Me & the Boys." Among white audiences, those shows ranked 95th, 96th, 98th, 77th and 27th, respectively. Only three programs, "Home Improvement," "Roseanne" and "The CBS Sunday Movie" made both top 20 lists.
Happy Anniversary: ABC News' "Nightline" marks its 15th anniversary on the air Friday with a one-hour special on the economic crisis in Mexico anchored from California by Ted Koppel. The program, which only a couple of years ago was threatened because only about 60% of affiliates were carrying it live after the local news, is now live on 154 stations (or 78%) across the country. A total of 222 ABC stations now carry "Nightline," which is also doing well in the ratings.
Corcoran Gets Hirshhorn Collection: Washington-based art patron and collector Olga Hirshhorn has donated her eclectic collection of more than 3,000 objects to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the oldest art museum in the nation's capital. A longtime patron of the Corcoran, Hirshhorn began collecting in the 1940s and became a more active acquisitor after her marriage in 1964 to Joseph Hirshhorn, who has since died but whose monumental art collection forms the basis of the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The gift to the Corcoran includes 700 works by 19th- and 20th-Century European and American artists, decorative and folk art, posters, photographs and ethnic artifacts from Asia, Africa, Canada and the South Pacific.
Hollywood Helps Folds: Hollywood Helps, the entertainment industry service organization that aided industry members with AIDS, has disbanded due to fund-raising difficulties. The group, founded in 1988 by industry organizations and labor groups including the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, had raised an estimated $500,000 throughout the years. Funds left in the group's treasury will be distributed to industry members living with AIDS through Aid for AIDS. Several other entertainment industry-based AIDS groups, including Hollywood Supports, will remain in business.
Both Paramount Pictures and special effects wizards Industrial Light and Magic vowed Wednesday to fight what they called a "baseless" Chicago lawsuit filed by Illinois inventor Richard Bloomstein, who claims he invented and patented a technique that made it appear as if Tom Hanks' character in "Forrest Gump" was conversing with former President John F. Kennedy, ex-Beatle John Lennon and others. . . . Actress Glenn Close announced her engagement Wednesday to Steve Beers, a carpenter on Close's Broadway show "Sunset Boulevard." The couple met in early 1994 when "Sunset Boulevard" opened in Los Angeles. . . . Paramount Pictures has announced plans for an eighth "Star Trek" movie, with filming slated to begin in 1996. Rick Berman, who produced and co-wrote "Star Trek Generations," will return for the same duties. . . . The MTV Movie Awards, the cable channel's annual fete recognizing such categories as best on-screen kiss, most desirable male and female and best villain, will be taped in Los Angeles on June 10 for broadcast on the cable station June 15.