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Hepburn improving in hospital

Katharine Hepburn had tests at a Hartford, Conn., hospital Thursday and was expected to go home in a few days.

The nature of the 94-year-old actor's illness was not disclosed. Her past health problems include arthritis, pneumonia and Parkinson's-like tremors.

Hepburn, admitted Wednesday night, was in stable condition Thursday afternoon and "showed improvement in her overall appearance and her spirit," hospital spokesman James Battaglio said.

Farrell gets new job

Syl Farrell, recently departed host of public TV talk shows Tampa Bay Week and Dialogue, has landed a similar job with Hillsborough County government.

Farrell will help develop public affairs programming for HTV22, the county's TV channel, said Mike Foerster, county communications director. Farrell will make $36,900 a year.

Farrell worked at WEDU-Ch. 3 for 11 years. The station this month announced it would stop producing the shows he hosted because of budget constraints.

Rather not ruffled

Dan Rather says he will not deign to respond to conservative groups that suggested CBS avoided the story of missing intern Chandra Levy until Wednesday because U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, with whom Levy reportedly was involved, is a Democrat.

Rather did point out that the CBS Evening News did not not report about President Bush's daughter's underage drinking charge. He has been critical of what he calls the "Hollywoodization" of news.

More TV notes

By a vote of 7-0, Autumn became the latest evictee from the Big Brother 2 house Thursday night, leaving nine people. . . . Warner Bros. has lined up comic actor Caroline Rhea to replace Rosie O'Donnell when O'Donnell's talk show contract expires in June, reports. . . . MTV has picked up seven more episodes of The Andy Dick Show. The second season premieres Aug. 5. . . . REM's taping of MTV Unplugged, scheduled to air Thursday, has been rescheduled for Aug. 9 on MTV2. Its MTV premiere will be Aug. 22.

Music notes

Metallica lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield has entered an unidentified rehabilitation facility for treatment for alcoholism and other addictions "until further notice," the band said on its Web site, The band has postponed recording sessions for its new album and other activities. . . . Janet Jackson canceled her concert in Milwaukee on Wednesday after chipping a tooth and having a root canal. She will do her next scheduled concert, Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Entertainment Tonight reported. . . . Madonna is putting together a definitive collection of her favorite tracks and two new songs for a greatest hits CD she hopes to release in time for Christmas, The Sun of London reports.