Billboard Bits: VNU/Reuters, Ja Rule/Outkast, Chieftains

News on VNU/Reuters, Ja Rule/Outkast, Chieftains

NellyReporting and charts from Billboard, Billboard Bulletin, and will be part of a new, real-time entertainment information service being launched in April 2003 by global media giant Reuters with Billboard parent company VNU Business Media. Billboard's fellow VNU publications The Hollywood Reporter and Back Stage will also provide content for the service, which will be available to financial institutions, the media, businesses, and individuals around the world.

"The integration of VNU's entertainment news and measurement data with Reuters' reporting and distribution will create the definitive entertainment information service," said Mike Marchesano, CEO of VNU Business Media and president of VNU Publications Entertainment Group. "This world-class syndicated product will combine in-depth industry information with 24/7 global coverage to produce the last word in entertainment reporting, and we are proud to partner with the prestigious Reuters brand to set a new benchmark for the marketplace."

NellyHip-hop artists Ja Rule and Outkast were among those honored last night (Oct. 16) in New York at the seventh annual GQ Men of the Year Awards. Outkast was on hand to accept the award for band of the year from actress Naomi Watts, but Ja Rule couldn't be there, so his trophy was accepted by its presenter, model Molly Sims. Held at the Hammerstein Ballroom, the event also featured musical performances by Eve, the Wallflowers, and Chris Isaak.

Rocker Lenny Kravitz also took part in the affair, presenting the film actor, drama award to Denzel Washington. Other winners included NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, and actors Samuel L. Jackson, Liam Neeson, and Ian McKellan. An edited version of the show will be broadcast Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. All of the winners are featured in the November issue of GQ, which hits newsstands tomorrow.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

NellyDerek Bell, a member of the famed Irish band the Chieftains since 1972, has died in Phoenix. An exact cause and time of death are currently unknown. He was 66. Following a Sept. 30 concert and television taping in Nashville to launch the Chieftains latest RCA/Victor album, "Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions," and to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary, Bell had remained in the U.S. for minor surgery and a routine physical examination. He had been given the all-clear by his doctors to return home to Ireland before succumbing.

Bell was an accomplished musician on the harp, oboe, horn, cor anglais, hammered dulcimer, and keyboards. He won six Grammy Awards while with the Chieftains, and in 2000 he was awarded an
MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for his contribution to traditional Irish and classical music.

-- Ray Waddell, Nashville


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