Halting ‘Sensation’: The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, has canceled its scheduled mid-2000 showing of “Sensation: Young British Artists From the Saatchi Collection,” the exhibition that sparked a public furor over its showing at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. But the most publicized controversy--in which Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted (unsuccessfully, because of a court ruling) to deny the museum’s city funding because of his objections to Chris Ofili’s artwork “Elephant Dung Madonna"--is said to have played only a minor role in the Australian decision. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the cancellation came because of a separate controversy that involves ethical questions about the show’s New York sponsors themselves having financial stakes in the show’s outcome. According to the report, Charles Saatchi, the owner of the artworks, contributed $160,000 to the Brooklyn museum’s costs, while several of the artists’ dealers--including the venerable Larry Gagosian--each contributed $10,000 or more. In addition, Christie’s, which contributed $50,000, is featuring “Sensation” artists in a forthcoming sale; and singer David Bowie, who ponied up $75,000, owns works by “Sensation” artists including Damien Hirst.


Keeping the Morning Beat: Kevin & Bean fans, it should be safe to turn on your radio Wednesday, as morning team Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter look to be staying put at alternative-rock station KROQ-FM (106.7). With their contract set to expire today, the hosts hammered out a new deal with station management over the Thanksgiving weekend, program director Kevin Weatherly said. Meanwhile, the duo’s lawyer said that while the actual contract had not yet been signed by Monday afternoon because of a few points still in contention, he also expected the deal to go through. As negotiations had headed to the wire, the pair entertained other bids, reportedly including a firm offer by KLOS-FM (95.5) to take over the afternoon drive-time slot and eventually move to mornings to replace that station’s Mark & Brian team, whose contract runs through August 2001 but have been mired in controversy for alleged racial insensitivity. Details of Kevin & Bean’s proposed new KROQ contract were not disclosed, but it is believed to give the hosts annual salaries comparable to Mark & Brian’s seven-figure fee.



UPN Stunts: UPN will replace the canceled Tuesday night series “The Strip,” which has its final airing on Jan. 11, with “I Dare You,” a stunt series from reality producer Bruce Nash (“Breaking the Magician’s Code”). “I Dare You,” which premieres Jan. 18 at 8 p.m., will feature professional daredevils performing stunts in Las Vegas. In other UPN news, the network has changed the title of “Shasta McNasty” to simply “Shasta.” UPN has ordered nine more episodes of the series, which will move to 9 p.m. Tuesdays starting Jan. 18, followed by “Dilbert” at 9:30.


No Talking to Mama: Five former cooks and cleaners for Sylvester Stallone sued him Monday, claiming they were fired for breaking household rules that included not making eye contact with him or speaking to his mother. The five, all temporary workers hired for 15 days in 1995, are seeking more than $1.5 million in damages. They said they were fired six days into their contracts because Stallone’s mother, Jackie Stallone, gave them pens and an autographed picture of herself as gifts. Stallone’s attorney did not immediately return calls seeking comment.



British composer, pianist and conductor Thomas Ades has won the University of Louisville, Kentucky’s Grawemeyer Award for music composition for the year 2000. Ades, 28, is the youngest-ever winner of the $200,000 international prize. . . . Jean-Claude Van Damme’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on the actor’s behalf Tuesday to misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and driving without a license. Van Damme, 39, was arrested Sept. 23 outside a West Hollywood restaurant. . . . CBS’ “One Special Night” with James Garner and Julie Andrews drew the highest ratings for any TV movie this season, with an estimated 25.9 million viewers tuning in Sunday night. . . . The Foo Fighters’ performance on tonight’s “Late Show With David Letterman” will be Web cast live at at approximately 3:15 p.m. The group will perform its current hit, “Learn to Fly,” as well as a second song that will be available only to Web cast users (and those in Letterman’s studio audience). . . . Two members of the rap group Digital Underground were arrested for allegedly fondling a 21-year-old woman backstage against her will after an Arkansas concert. Band members Kyle James Eastern Jr., 21, and Michael Sheldon Pierson, 30, face first-degree sexual abuse charges. Eastern also was charged with drug possession after police allegedly found a small amount of marijuana in his pocket.