New Rembrandt Record: A 17th century portrait by Rembrandt set a new record price for the Dutch master Wednesday, selling for $28.69 million at a London Christie's auction. "Portrait of a Lady" was part of the collection of the late Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild that was being offered in a two-day sale. The price was more than three times the $8.7 million fetched by Rembrandt's "Portrait of a Girl" in 1986, the previous record for the artist's work.
Fox Moves: Another of TV's new high-profile star vehicles has hit a red light, with Fox canceling John Goodman's "Normal, Ohio." Meanwhile, the network will premiere two new series on Jan. 10. "Grounded for Life," a family comedy from Carsey-Werner Productions ("Roseanne," "That '70s Show"), will air in Goodman's Wednesday 8:30 p.m. time slot, followed at 9 p.m. (replacing the canceled "The $treet") by the reality program "Temptation Island." The latter six-episode series will follow four couples whose commitment is challenged when they are matched up with others on a Caribbean island. Also starting Jan. 10, a second weekly edition of "That '70s Show" will run Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
Post-Election Boost: The drawn-out Florida election battles may not have been good for the country, but they have paid off for the network newscasts. "NBC Nightly News," ABC's "World News Tonight" and "CBS Evening News" have seen their combined viewership climb by an average of 4 million more nightly viewers since the October election. That's good news for respective anchors Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, whose shows have been in a longtime ratings decline due to lifestyle changes and the proliferation of cable news.
Olsen Empire Expands: The ubiquitous Olsen twins are returning to series television, with Fox Family Channel having ordered 26 episodes of a new Mary-Kate and Ashley live-action comedy to debut this summer. The teens will produce and star in the as-yet-untitled series, which is expected to air as part of the cable network's Saturday daytime schedule.
Awards Roundup: Gil Cates has signed for his 10th turn as Oscar producer of the March 25 Academy Awards. . . . A total of 179 feature films, 41 foreign-language films, 110 TV series and 77 miniseries or TV movies have qualified for consideration for the Jan. 21 Golden Globes. Nominations will be announced Dec. 21. . . . The 53rd annual Prime-Time Emmy Awards will be held Sept. 16, with nominations due July 12. . . . Director Ridley Scott ("Gladiator") will receive this year's director's achievement award Jan. 13 during the 12th annual Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival. Other festival honorees will include Nicolas Cage (Charles A. Crain Desert Palm Award for acting) and composer Randy Newman (Frederick Loewe Award for achievement in film scoring). . . . Time magazine has named Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (opening here Friday) as the year's best movie. . . . Lifetime CEO Carole Black will receive the New York Women in Film & Television's Muse Award for Outstanding Vision & Achievement tonight. Previous recipients include Meryl Streep, Penny Marshall and Barbara Walters. . . . The Hollywood Women's Press Club has given its annual "sour apple" award to radio-television host Laura Schlessinger.