Reeve's animated feature moves forward
Yankee Irving, a computer-animated feature film that Christopher Reeve had been directing at the time of his death last weekend, will remain in production, producer Morris Berger told The Associated Press yesterday. But Berger said IDT Entertainment had not yet decided who will take over as director. "We've just been addressing personal issues and the great loss and reassuring our staff that the production will go on," he said. "Tomorrow we'll think those things through." Yankee Irving is about a father and his baseball playing son who overcomes personal obstacles to realize his dreams. Reeve, who had overseen the project for the past year, once described it as "captivating, with the perfect blend of warmth and wit." Reeve had been overseeing the film's production from his home office in Pound Ridge, N.Y., through a videoconferencing system set up by IDT, and regularly sent electronic files of character designs and animatics filled with notes to the company's animation production offices. Voice casting and theatrical distribution for Yankee, which is scheduled for release sometime in 2006, have yet to be announced. The Superman star died Sunday after suffering a heart attack and slipping into a coma the previous day. He was 52.
FCC to fine Fox for indecency violation
The Federal Communications Commission is reportedly preparing to levy a $1 million fine against Fox Broadcasting Co. and its affiliates for indecency violations dating back to April 2003 with an episode of the reality show Married by America, Reuters reports. According to Monday's edition of Television Week, the content in question involved lascivious banter among Married contestants and a segment that involved contestants licking whipped cream off each other's bodies. The weekly newspaper reported the fine stemmed from a complaint lodged by watchdog group the Parents Television Council. The fine comes less than a month after the FCC formally issued its $550,000 fine against CBS for Janet Jackson breast-baring incident during the Super Bowl telecast in February 2003.
Travolta to guest star on Alley's Fat Actress
Kirstie Alley, whose upcoming Showtime series Fat Actress is set to debut in March, will be in good company. The AP reports Alley's Look Who's Talking co-star John Travolta will make a guest appearance on the seven-episode, unscripted comedy series. Based on Alley's real-life struggles, the show follows a semi-fictional film and TV star as she comically contends with an unforgiving public and media over her struggles with weight. The actors will largely improvise based on a story outline. Travolta joins several guest stars slated for the reality hybrid, including his own actress wife, Kelly Preston, NBC Universal TV Group President Jeff Zucker and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper's Mark Curry.
Democrats want anti-Kerry docu shelved
The Democratic Party is expected to file a complaint today with the Federal Election Commission against the broadcasting company Sinclair Broadcast Group for their plans to air a documentary criticizing presidential candidate John Kerry, the AP reports. Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, made by Vietnam veteran and former journalist Carlton Sherwood, chronicles Kerry's 1971 testimony before Congress and includes interviews with Vietnam prisoners of war and their wives, who claim Kerry's testimony demeaned them and led their captors to hold them longer. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe argues Sinclair is acting as a mouthpiece for the Republican Party rather than a legitimate news outlet. Campaign finance records show that company's executives have donated thousands of dollars to Bush's campaign.
Cates to take on Academy Awards again
Gil Cates has signed on to produce next year's Academy Awards, making it his 12th time behind the star-studded Hollywood bash, AP reports. "With 11 shows under his belt, no other producer, living or dead, even comes close to the depth of Gil's experience," said Frank Pierson, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "We're lucky to have him back." Cates added, "I already have ideas whirling around in my head and can't wait to see them through to fruition on Oscar night." The 77th Academy Awards will be preceded by the telecast of the Academy's official pre-show red carpet arrivals from 5 to 5:30 p.m., which Cates will also executive produce.
Apprentice Troy McClain shopping for a college
Troy McClain, who was fired by Donald Trump during the first season of the TV reality show The Apprentice, is currently fielding offers from several colleges and universities, including Boise State, Columbia University and Albertson College of Idaho. McClain, who was one of the most successful and popular members on the inaugural season of The Apprentice, later said on his Tonight Show appearance it was his lack of a college degree eventually did him in. Trump heard his comment and offered to send McClain to the college of his choice. "This man, with an education, will be unbeatable," Trump said at the time. McClain started looking hard at Boise State after President Bob Kustra contacted him personally over the summer, his manager Ed Moore told the AP.
Madonna, Prince top Billboard touring awards
Madonna is one of the top finalist for Billboard's Backstage Pass Awards, which recognizes top achievements in touring and are based on ticket sales tabulated in Billboard's Boxscore Reports, LaunchMusic reports. Other finalists include Prince, Shania Twain, Josh Groban, Linkin Park and John Mayer. The awards will be presented Nov. 8 and 9 in New York.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
The woman who accused Don Johnson of groping her in January at a San Francisco sushi bar filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Nash Bridges star, The Associated Press reports. The unidentified woman's lawsuit accuses Johnson of sexual battery, assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and asks for monetary damages. Prosecutors refused in early May to file criminal charges against Johnson, who has said that there is no merit to the woman's accusations.
Next stop, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The city announced Thursday that it will rename the airport in honor of Armstrong on Aug. 2, two days before the legendary jazz musician would have turned 100, Reuters reports. The Federal Aviation Administration said that this is most likely the first major U.S. airport to be named after a black musician.
Looks like Jay Leno will never be able to go home again. A developer plans to tear down the Tonight Show host's Massachusetts childhood home to make way for a $2.6 million, five-bedroom house, AP reports. Leno said he would not have sold the 1950s home in Andover had he known developer Todd Wacome's intentions.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and former South African President Nelson Mandela teamed up Thursday to raise awareness of the Special Olympics. They took a ferry from Cape Town harbor to Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years as a prisoner of a former apartheid regime, to light a Special Olympics torch, AP reports.
Watch out Ann-Margret, here comes Carmen Electra. The former Mrs. Dennis Rodman will become a Las Vegas mainstay after signing a two-year deal to star in her own show at the Aladdin hotel-casino, AP reports. The former Baywatch star will perform 12 shows a week, beginning next year.
The Doctor is in, but only online. The BBC will transmit the first new Doctor Who adventure since 1996 on Friday via the sci-fi's show's official Web site at www.bbc.co.uk. Doctor Who last appeared in a TV movie that aired on Fox in the United States. Sylvester McCoy, the seventh actor to portray the Timelord, returns for Death Comes to Time.
If you thought NBC's Spy TV was merely a reality series, think again. The hidden-camera show "plays much more like a comedy, Variety quotes NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker as saying. One practical joke included a man who, thinking he is going out to test a new car, begs to be let out of the car as he is taken on a terrifying high-speed drive through city streets.
Kirk Douglas has lent his support to a campaign to save the Indian Hills Theater, which houses the country's largest Cinerama screen, AP reports. Methodist Health Systems, which bought the recently closed theater, plans to demolish it and build a parking lot in its place. Renovations would be too costly, Methodist Health Systems said. Douglas joins Janet Leigh and film critic Leonard Maltin in trying to save the theater, one of three left in the country that can still show Cinerama films.