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Whitney Houston may be singing ‘I Have Nothing’

BEVERLY HILLS CA - FEBRUARY 12:  Singer Whitney Houstarrives 2011 Pre-GRAMMY GalSalute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen Beverly

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Whitney Houston arrives at the 2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at Beverly Hilton on February 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Whitney Houston

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Updated: February 26, 2012 8:15AM



T hough Whitney Houston’s camp denies the long-troubled diva is having serious financial problems, it appears the singer and actress does face a number of challenges in the money department.

The good news: Houston’s battles to overcome her addictions appear to be working, and those close to her claim that she has remained sober for quite some time.

Lately, she returned to making movies, playing far different roles than the ones that made her box-office magic a few years ago.The first of those is “Sparkle,” a remake of the 1976 movie starring

Irene Cara and Lonette McKee. Houston will play the stage mother of “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks in a tale about a Detroit girls group.

According to a close Houston associate, the entertainer is fielding “pretty much any and all” offers these days to get her financial house in order. “Whitney has always lived large. … She’s doing fine with her personal issues, but she’s got a long way to go to get back on her feet.”

HOT TOPIC: In a great development for local TV-film production, NBC has ordered an hourlong pilot that will be shot here.“Chicago Fire” is described by NBC as an “action-driven drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department.” Among the producers behind the project is

Dick Wolf, the hugely successful creator of such hits as the four “Law & Order” series and the old “Miami Vice” show.Illinois film office director

Betsy Steinberg says, “We are thrilled that NBC has chosen to bring this pilot, which will employ several hundred Illinoisans, to Chicago — a tremendous opportunity for our local industry to work on a project created by the legendary Dick Wolf.”

If the pilot leads to a series, it also will be completely filmed in Our Town.

STARGAZING: Spies at the Sundance Film Festival report Kirsten Dunst’s new fling apparently is “Tron” star Garrett Hedlund. George Clooney’s current squeeze Stacy Keibler — no great fan of the Oscar winner’s Italian villa, decorated by his ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis — supposedly was influential in getting Clooney to buy a new hacienda down in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. … Though Seal said nothing negative about his estranged wife Heidi Klum in media interviews this week, the modeling legend is irked — believing personal issues never should be discussed in public. Another example of Klum’s fierce defense of her privacy: She didn’t mention her pending divorce to Kim Kardashian during a lengthy chat at a Golden Globes party — even while the reality queen dished about her own split with Kris Humphries.

HAPPY DAY: Not surprisingly, author Brian Selznick was toasting the 11 Oscar nominations for “Hugo,” the film based on his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Selznick was here Tuesday for the first preview of Chicago Children’s Theatre’s new musical version of his book The Houdini Box at the Mercury Theatre on Southport.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Michael Jordan and his Cornerstone Restaurant Group have teamed up with noted chef Bill Kim and his wife, Yvonne Cadiz Kim, to turn the old One Sixty Blue on West Randolph into Belly Q — an Asian barbecue concept, opening this spring.

ON THEIR TOES: A slew of Joffrey Ballet boosters will be in New York for Friday’s world premiere of the documentary “Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance” at the Dance on Camera Festival.

The film’s producing team includes the North Shore’s

Erica and Harold Ramis. Among those heading East for the premiere are Joffrey’s Ashley Wheater and Christopher Clinton Conway, plus board chair Jason J. Tyler. Sun-Times theater and dance critic Hedy Weiss is included in the film, which will have its Chicago premiere Feb. 18 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.



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