Big Tops

Lucy Liu joins fighters Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson. Plus, Lauryn Hill may star as Bob Marley's wife, and 'Ally McBeal' and 'The Practice' win Peabody Awards

by Sandra P. Angulo

CASTING Lucy Liu (''Ally McBeal,'' ''Payback'') has been cast in ''Play It to the Bone,'' director Ron Shelton's new film. Produced by Shelton and Stephen Chin's Shanghai'd Films, ''Bone,'' which also stars Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson, follows two best friends and former boxing champs who go to Las Vegas to fight each other for the first time.... Grammy winner Lauryn Hill is reportedly in negotiations to play Bob Marley's wife, Rita, in Warner Bros. upcoming biopic about the late great reggae singer. Hill's fiance, Rohan Marley, is Rita's son. Rita was also a singer -- in the female trio the I-Threes, who were part of Marley's group the Wailers in the 1970s.

AWARD ALERT Uberproducer David Kelley's TV shows ''Ally McBeal'' and ''The Practice'' won the prestigious Peabody award for broadcast and cable excellence. Chosen from 1,300 entries, the 33 Peabody award recipients also included Linda Ellerbee -- for her impeachment commentary on Nickelodeon's children's news program ''Nick News'' -- and CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour for international reporting.

TUBE WATCH Fresh off his guest stint on ''Voyager,'' ''Seinfeld'' star Jason Alexander has signed on to voice the character Catbert on UPN's ''Dilbert'' through the 1999-2000 season. Alexander's debut on the low-rated animated show is next Monday night.... Writer-director James Dearden's (''Fatal Attraction'') new movie ''Rogue Trader,'' a biopic of scheming British futures-trader Nick Leeson starring Ewan McGregor, will skip U.S. movie theaters and go straight to HBO for its domestic debut. Miramax has secured all other TV and video rights.

SWEET DEAL CBS execs announced yesterday that CBS is buying King World Productions, the syndication giant whose hits include ''The Oprah Winfrey Show'' and ''Jeopardy!,'' for $2.5 billion in stock. Under the takeover agreement, King World's chairman and vice chairman, brothers Roger and Michael King, will now report to CBS TV head, Leslie Moonves.