NEXT HE'LL TOUR WITH J. LO
Next time MTV is looking for a VJ, it can call the State Department. Secretary COLIN POWELL is telegenic, unflappable and good at perturbing authority figures. For a show that will air in 164 countries, Powell fielded questions from MTV viewers worldwide. He addressed Afghanistan and the drug war, but his most controversial statement came in response to a question on condom use. Powell said he encourages it for sexually active young people to prevent the spread of AIDS. The religious right immediately complained that the stance contradicts the President's line on abstinence as the best remedy. This means Carson Daly probably won't be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.
RUDY RULES BRITANNIA
New Yorkers know that RUDY GIULIANI bows to no man. And now they have learned that even powerful women with scepters are out of luck. The former mayor of New York City visited London last week and received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth for his leadership on Sept. 11 and its aftermath. But U.S. citizens, unlike subjects of the Commonwealth, don't kneel before the monarch, and so Rudy stayed upright. Giuliani received a silver cross and a star pin, but despite being compared to Winston Churchill during the blitz, he is not entitled to affix an official "Sir" before his name. Later he and his companion JUDITH NATHAN took in the sights and met Prime Minister Tony Blair. Visiting with members of Parliament, Giuliani offered some tips on how to combat London's rising crime rate. With few squeegee men in London, it's going to be tough.
THEY'LL BE THERE FOR YOU--AND NBC
Americans who watched the pairs figure-skating finals last Monday learned the outcome of another NBC nail biter during a commercial break: Friends would be back for a ninth season. The matter was resolved after a brief negotiation, in sharp contrast to the acrimony and waffling of two years ago. The promo announcing the show's return aired only hours after the new contracts had been signed, an indication of how much the network relies on the show to carry its prime time. But it is really the FRIENDS who should take a victory lap. Each cast member will earn $1 million an episode, an increase from their current amateur level of $750,000 a show.
Pageant contestants can seem almost robotic, all unmoving hair and pre-programmed speech. But they are in fact human, with feelings--and parents. The parents of the current Miss America, KATIE HARMAN, sent an eight-page letter to pageant officials earlier this month complaining that their daughter was made to pay for clothing alterations and her own victory party. Furthermore, they claimed they themselves had been treated rudely. Their concerns drew only a fixed smile from Katie, who issued a statement saying she was perfectly content with her reign. So it seems Miss Americas are so real, they even have parent issues.