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NAMES IN THE NEWS

Crichton sells his next book

As the movie version of Michael Crichton's book, Jurassic Park, raked in $60-million in its first five days on movie screens, the author's agent sold the film rights to Crichton's latest book to Warner Bros. for $2.5-million, tying the record set by John Grisham's The Client and Gay Talese's Thy Neighbor's Wife. In fact, if Crichton's latest book is produced, he stands to make more than $3-million in all from the deal. The untitled book deals with a timely and provocative subject _ sexual harassment in the workplace.

Maples drops

shoe charges

Marla Maples has agreed to drop criminal charges against her former publicist accused of snatching 40 pairs of her shoes, but the Manhattan district attorney's office may continue to press criminal charges against the publicist, Chuck Jones, for possession of an illegal weapon _ a semiautomatic pistol police discovered in his apartment while searching for Maples' footwear. Jones was arrested in July after he was videotaped taking high heels from the bedroom of Maples' Trump Parc Apartment. He was charged with burglary, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.

Madonna takes

on the tube

Madonna is moving into mainstream TV under a multiproject deal that ABC has signed with her Maverick Television Co. Her company will develop and make series, miniseries, specials and movies. Neither ABC nor Maverick would reveal the amount of money involved in the deal. ABC already has committed to several projects, including a four-hour miniseries called Madonna: the Early Years. Madonna will not be in the miniseries and may not be an on-screen factor in the series, miniseries and other projects named in the deal. Madonna said she was looking for an "established network" that was "willing to take chances."

Diana Ross: She's

one busy woman

Diana Ross on Wednesday announced five new projects including a book, docudrama and a world tour. Speaking at the New York restaurant Planet Hollywood, Ross said she was producing her first, career-long retrospective recording scheduled for September release, Forever Diana, on the Motown label. Ross said the collection of four CDs will range from 1963 through the present and will include her years as one of the three Supremes. Ross also said she is penning her memoirs, Secrets of a Sparrow. The title comes from a moving spiritual sung by her mother, Eye on the Sparrow, and the fact that her mother called her sparrow because she was skinny, quick and loved to sing. Ross also has signed a TV deal with ABC where she will star, produce and possibly direct three made-for-television movies. In her spare time, Ross plans a world tour in 1993-94.

Scuffle delays

Elton John show

Rock superstar Elton John, who canceled a concert in Tel Aviv after deciding Tuesday night was not all right for fighting, agreed Wednesday to play the show after all. Israeli officials, with help from the British ambassador, begged John to fly back from London. He fled there on his private plane after fans, photographers and bodyguards brawled when he arrived in Israel Tuesday. "John's main bodyguards came out of the limousine cursing, pushing and punching," said a reporter at the scene. She said two photographers were punched in the face, and a fan's ankle was injured when she was flung against a wall.

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