PASSAGES: J.Lo Comforts Ben at Funeral
RATED: According to preliminary national ratings from Nielsen, Sunday's landmark 300th episode of "The Simpsons" -- wherein Bart successfully sought a divorce from his family -- was seen by 21.2 million viewers overall. It was followed by another big hit, a "Married ... With Children" reunion special (19.2 million viewers overall), which gave FOX its strongest non-sports numbers on a Sunday in more than three years, reports Variety. On rival ABC, Matthew Broderick in a muted version of "The Music Man" did just okay, attracting 13.1 million viewers overall but ticking off a lot of critics, who found Broderick hopelessly miscast.
OKAYED: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department approved a request by TV journalist Barbara Walters, 71, to interview incarcerated actor Robert Blake, 69, who lost two defense attorneys when they disagreed with his granting a TV interviews, reports the Los Angeles Times. Blake faces trial for the murder of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, 44. Blake's current lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., said he would stand by Blake, though he strongly disagrees with his client's decision. No interview or airdate has been reported.
AGREED: Peter O'Toole, 70, will accept an honorary Academy Award after all, following his initial reluctance to do. (He preferred to win one on his own, he wrote, or else wait to get the honorary honor when he turned 80.) "It looks like that may indeed happen, and we couldn't be happier," Pierson said in a statement. O'Toole's New York-based manager, Johnnie Planco, declined to confirm the Academy's announcement, saying the matter was being kept a surprise.
DIED: "Leave It to Beaver" creator Joe Connelly, 85, who based the '50s sitcom on his own 8-year-old son, Rick (and the Beav's older brother, Wally, on Connelly's son Jay, 14), died Thursday after years of failing health, said his family. ... Another icon from the past, albeit a camp one, Vera Hruba Ralston, 79, a Czech-born Republic Pictures star (her husband, Herbert Yates, owned the B-picture factory), died of cancer Feb. 9, reports AP. Her best-known film was 1944's "The Lady and the Monster." ... Also, investigators are looking into Sunday's death of Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Steve Bechler, 23, who died of heatstroke in Florida after becoming ill during a workout Saturday.
ARRANGED: All the members of the '90s pop phenomenon the Spice Girls -- Victoria "Posh" Beckham, Mel "Sporty" Chisholm, Geri "Ginger" Halliwell, Mel "Scary" Brown, and Emma "Baby" Bunton -- are set to reunite Monday for the first time since their acrimonious split five years ago. Why? "The girls are meeting up for a social dinner. But it's not a 'Spice' meeting," a spokeswoman tells Reuters.
REQUESTED: Attorneys for Michael Jackson -- whom, you may remember, was in the news a lot last week -- say they will ask a judge to dismiss a $13 million lawsuit by the singer's former business manager. Jackson, 44, claims his signature was forged on an agreement to pay Myung Ho Lee for business advice, according to court documents. Lee sued Jackson last April, alleging Jackson backed out of a concert deal he signed in September 2001.