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In The Television Wars, Fox Finds A New ‘Ally’

Say this five times real fast: Calista Flockhart.

If you’re an “Ally McBeal” fan, you probably already have tried to get friends to watch one of the freshest new sitcoms on television.

Flockhart, the series star, plays a young lawyer whose amusing romantic and professional quandaries entertain men and women viewers alike.

“Although lawyer Ally verges at times on yuppie whiner,” writes Associated Press television writer Lynn Elberg, “Flockhart artfully keeps her vulnerable, funny and honest.”

Yet Flockhart, who has starred in several Broadway plays, had her doubts initially. “It was a big commitment,” she said. “Somewhere in my gut I had a feeling this show would do well. I was such a big believer in the writing.”

Loose talk

“Saturday Night Live” comic Norm MacDonald on why he was fired from “Weekend Update” (on “Late Show With David Letterman”): “I said, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ And I said, ‘Why is that, now? And he goes, ‘Oh, you’re not funny.’ And I said, ‘Holy Lord, that’s even worse news!”’

Her singing career is gone with the Wynonna

Naomi Judd turns 52 today.

Better men, eh? Such as Tom Arnold maybe?

Words of wisdom from Roseanne, courtesy of the “Ladies Home Journal’s Most Fascinating Women of 1997” television show: “All women desire to be as fat as myself but fear doing so. Because they think they won’t get any men, but… you’ll get more men, better men.”

So, that’s what they mean by bottom of the class

Noel Gallagher, the mouthy leader of the British rock group Oasis, told an Italian radio interviewer recently that the British royal family “should all be shot” and that he’d like to give Queen Elizabeth II a kick in the derriere. The response from Buckingham Palace: “Mr. Gallagher should apologize. If he has any class, any at all, he will.”

You should read his love letters to Mira Sorvino

Quentin Tarantino began blending imagination and violence early on. “Every Mother’s Day he used to write me a story where I would die, and then he would write about how badly he felt about my death,” the filmmaker’s mother, Connie Zastoupil, told Details magazine. “The only way he could tell me how much he loved me was by killing me off.”

There’s always room for a party of five

At the December opening of “Scream 2” in Los Angeles, the crowd was so packed, co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar told Entertainment Weekly magazine, that “the (fire marshal) closed it off. Tori Spelling, Jerry O’Connell and I couldn’t get in.” A woman shouting, “I’m Neve’s (Campbell’s) mother, and I will NOT tolerate this,” did get in.

When it rains, it pours, and when it pours, he smiles

Speaking of movie premieres, when Woody Allen attended the Los Angeles premiere of his film “Deconstructing Harry,” it poured down rain. “It couldn’t be better,” Allen said. “I am so lucky.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 photos

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by staff writer Dan Webster