Actress Katharine Hepburn will probably be released by the weekend, Reuters reports. The Academy Award-winning actress was hospitalized last week for a urinary tract infection but is responding well to treatment. Hepburn, 94, was going to be released last week but lost strength while being hospitalized and underwent a brief course of physical therapy.
A judge has accepted evidence that actor Jason Priestley has completed a three-month alcohol treatment program, BBC News reports. The former Beverly Hills 90210 star was sentenced to five days in prison last year by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor for a drunk driving conviction. Priestley also was ordered to serve three years probation and enter a drug and alcohol treatment program. In December 1999, Priestley crashed his silver Porsche into a lamppost and a parked car in the Hollywood Hills. The actor claimed he swerved to avoid a deer in the road. Chad Cook, a friend and passenger in the car, suffered a broken arm. Priestley appeared in Aaron Spelling's teen drama Beverly Hills 90210 and recently acted in London's Apollo Theatre in the Broadway play Side Man.
An Indianapolis homebuilder will have to pay more than $98,000 restitution to rocker John Mellencamp for allegedly falsifying billing invoices, The Associated Press reported. Timothy O. Eldredge is scheduled to appear Sept. 14 in Marion Superior Court and is expected to plead guilty to theft. Prosecutors charge that Eldredge double-billed John and Elaine Mellencamp after the couple hired The Eldredge Group of Indianapolis to build a $2.5 million home near Lake Monroe. If convicted, Eldredge could face up to three years in prison.
Missouri's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Access Resources Services Inc., the Florida company that promotes TV's Miss Cleo's tarot psychic reading, The Associated Press reports. Attorney General Jay Nixon said Missourians were billed for free services and that the company misrepresented rates and waiver fees. Some Missouri residents complained that they were billed for time spent on hold waiting to speak to a psychic or being billed without ever having requested the service. Attorney Sean Moynihan says the state has no basis for the lawsuit and blamed billing errors on telephone companies.
Sen. Joseph Liebermann (D-Conn.) will convene on a hearing on entertainment ratings on Wednesday, Variety reports. Lieberman has been a longtime critic of Hollywood, claiming that the separate ratings used for films, music, TV programs and video games are too confusing and therefore not effective in shielding children from sex, violence and vulgarity. Nearly the entire entertainment industry opposes the idea of a universal rating system, arguing that movies, video games and music are fundamentally different. The House Telecom Subcommittee on Friday asked RIAA president Hilary Rosen to read aloud lyrics to Eminem's song "Kill You," but Rosen refused, arguing that words in such songs are not meant to be taken literally. It is the first time the House of Representatives has weighed in on the Federal Trade Commission study of Hollywood's marketing practices.
Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync wants to do a duet with gal pal and pop sensation Britney Spears, Rolling Stone magazine reports. Timberlake said he is helping Spears, 19, move away from bubblegum pop in favor of a harder sound. He said they would record together when the timing is right. "I want it to be somethin' new that they haven't heard us do, that they don't think we could de," he told the magazine, "It would be huge."
Bruce Willis is officially dating 23-year-old Versace model Emily Sandberg, Entertainment Tonight reports. The two have been dating since November, but her identity was kept under wraps until now. Apparently, Willis' ex-wife Demi Moore has given her stamp of approval on the lanky blonde. According to US Weekly magazine, Willis invited Sandberg to celebrate July Fourth in Hailey, Idaho, with Moore and their children.
Ray Romano wants to appear on a celebrity version of CBS' hugely popular show Survivor, according to Reuters. The network is contemplating an all-star installment of the reality show but CBS president Leslie Moonves was sketchy on details about when the show would air or how it would look. Several other celebrities have expressed interest but did not want to be named just yet. The shooting of the celebrity series would have to be compressed to about 10 days, Moonves said, without assistants, phones or faxes. Someone would be voted off every two days. Moonves joked that being voted off in front of 20 million viewers would be devastating for an actor. The concept for a celebrity Survivor is currently on the backburner while producer Mark Burnett focuses on the show's third and fourth editions. Survivor: Africa is currently in production in Kenya and will premiere Oct. 11. Survivor 4 will be shot at an unspecified location this fall and will air in March.
Nicole Kidman is committed to star in Lars von Trier's Dogville and is denying rumors that she was dumped from the movie, Reuters reports.
The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet said Tuesday that executives at von Trier's production company Zentropa grew frustrated with delays in getting the actress to sign a contract. Daily Variety also reported that talks with Kidman had broken down, prompting producers to search for a replacement. "We've had enough of the Hollywood system. It may be commonplace in major movies that stars play the diva and don't bother to sign contracts, but we can't handle that, either psychologically or financially," Zentropa chief executive Peter Aalbaek Jensen told Aftonbladet. Kidman's publicist insists the actress is still doing the film, but has not yet signed on the dotted line.
Lawyers for actors Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, John Spencer, and Richard Schiff are in advanced talks with producers for Warner Bros.' West Wing, the New York Post's Pagesix.com reports. The new contracts would earn the actors about $1.4 million each a season. A rep for the actors said that while they are still negotiating, talks are not too far apart. The four actors failed to show up for work when production began on its third season two weeks ago. Rumors swirled that the actors were unhappy with their $30,000 per episode salary.
They could be worth millions to die-hard Grateful Dead fans-but, for the time being, they're staying in the hands of the man who built them. According to The Associated Press, five guitars owned and played by the late Jerry Garcia are in the legal spotlight in San Rafael, Calif., as a Marin County Superior Court judge has ruled that the man who made the instruments, Doug Irwin, was the rightful owner. Grateful Dead Productions had argued that Irwin's statute of limitations as owner of the guitars had expired and collectors should have the opportunity to purchase them.
Score one for Aimster. An Albany, N.Y., judge has ruled that the Internet song-swap service has a legitimate reason to file a copyright infringement suit against the major record companies. U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn refused pleas from the Recording Industry Association of America to throw out the case. Kahn said he made the decision to "enable a party who is challenged, or endangered in its enjoyment of what he claims to be his rights, to initiate the proceedings against his tormentor and remove the cloud by an authoritative determination of plaintiff's legal right," according to The Associated Press.
R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck appeared for a second time Monday in a British court stemming from an April incident on a British Airways flight . He was ordered to return July 31 for further judgment on charges of assaulting air crewmembers while flying April 21 on the British Airways plane, Reuters reports. Buck, 44, has publicly apologized for his behavior on the flight, admitting he was embarrassed by his actions.
A New York district court judge decided late last week that the World Wrestling Federation--which had filed a lawsuit against the Parents Television Council after it claimed that the wrestling organization was responsible for several children's' deaths--was not accountable for the tragic incidents, Variety reports. Said Judge Denny Chin: "The First Amendment does not protect statements that are false and defamatory even if they are made in the context of a public debate about issues of general concern.'' The WWF filed the lawsuit after several sponsors declined to fund the organization following the PTC's claims. "We're suing them for punitive damages because of the advertising dollars the WWF lost,'' said WWF lead attorney Jerry McDevitt. Both parties were ordered to settle their disputes June 22 in a Manhattan federal court.
After much controversy, a parody of the classic Margaret Mitchell novel Gone With The Wind will hit bookstores shortly. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled Friday that Alice Randall's novel The Wind Done Gone did not infringe copyright laws, and was suitable for publishing by Houghton Mifflin Co., Reuters reports. Randall's novel takes a satirical African-American view on Mitchell's Civil War-era story.
Though a federal judge ruled in April that author Alice Randall's parody of Gone With the Wind was creative piracy, some big-name corporations have rushed to Randall's side, according to the BBC. Her novel, The Wind Done Gone, has gained support from such companies as Microsoft, CNN, Dow Jones, Tribune, the New York Times and others. Each corporation has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in an Atlanta circuit court, citing the need for protection of the First Amendment.
As the TV "upfront" continues in New York City, ABC has announced its fall schedule, adding three new dramas, two new sitcoms and cutting back Who Wants to be a Millionaire to two nights a week.
CBS also has its schedule falling into place, with the network making its official announcement Wednesday. Fox Television will reveal its schedule on Thursday.
Here's a look at ABC's lineup:
The Wonderful World of Disney will stay put on Sundays in the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot. Alias, about a college student (Dude, Where's My Car?'s Jennifer Garner) who moonlights as a secret agent, will replace Millionaire at 9 p.m. Rounding out the evening, the top-rated Emmy-winning drama The Practice will remain in the 10 p.m. spot.
Mondays will still lead with Millionaire, followed by Monday Night Football.
Tuesdays will begin with Dharma & Greg, followed by the midseason hit What About Joan?, starring Joan Cusack. Jason Alexander's new sitcom, Bob Patterson, about a motivational speaker, will most likely end up in the 9 p.m. spot, doing battle against NBC's Frasier. Spin City or ABC's other midseason hit, The Job, starring Denis Leary, will follow at 9:30 p.m. Whichever sitcom is not on the Tuesday night 9:30 p.m. slot will be take the 9:30 p.m. slot on Wednesdays. Tuesdays will end with the new Steven Bochco legal drama, Philly, starring NYPD Blue alum Kim Delaney.
Wednesdays will begin as family night with Damon Wayans' sitcom My Wife and Kids, followed by the new Jim Belushi sitcom, The Dad, from Touchstone/Brad Grey Television. The Drew Carey Show will stay put in the 9 p.m. slot, with the 9:30 p.m. slot to be taken by either Spin City or The Job. Bochco's NYPD Blue will return in November to take the 10 p.m. Wednesday spot, replacing 20/20. The Barbara Walters-hosted newsmagazine will return midseason.
Thursdays will start with Whose Line Is It Anyway?, followed by a new sketch series from popular Whose Line … player Wayne Brady. The second installment of Millionaire takes the 9 p.m. slot, with the Primetime Live newsmagazine ending the evening.
On Friday, ABC will dump its comedy lineup. The night will kick off with the second installment of the reality show The Mole, followed by the new Warner Bros. drama Thieves, starring John Stamos. Emmy-winning drama Once and Again will take the 10 p.m. slot.
Saturdays will remain a movie night for ABC.
Midseason orders include a new Sally Field drama, The Court, and possibly two new comedies from Peter Tolan, The Web and HMO. Also planned is another reality show, The Runner, produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The show revolves around one person's race around a country, looking for prizes and trying not to get caught.
Saying goodbye is The Geena Davis Show and the medical drama Gideon's Crossing.
CBS also is shaping up its fall schedule with a planned five new dramas and two new sitcoms. One of the more anticipated new shows is the Lou Diamond Phillips-headlined Wolf Lake, a spooky X-Files-esque drama about investigators who look at the mysterious doings of wolves in the Pacific Northwest.
Also included on the drama list is: The Agency, delving into the CIA; a Richard Dreyfuss vehicle, The Education of Max Bickford; and The Guardian, about an attorney who works for child advocacy. On the new sitcom list is another Ellen DeGeneres starrer, Ellen, Again, and a Daniel Stern comedy, Community Center. Stern stars as a newly separated father who runs a community center.
Fox is looking at a few new dramas, including 24, Pasadena and Emma Brody, with new comedies being Bernie Mac, Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Greg the Bunny.
Although the film is already in production in Canada, Harrison Ford's upcoming K-19: The Widowmaker has run into legal trouble. Inna Gotman, a writer/producer who is suing K-19's production company, Intermedia Films, won a significant legal battle Wednesday in an Los Angeles Superior Court room, as a judge found Gotman had a legitimate case in her claim that Intermedia stole her original idea for the film. Though Intermedia denies the accusations--and pleaded with the judge to throw the case out--the judge saw in Gotman's favor, according to Inside.com. No release date has been set for K-19, which tells the tale of the Russian submarine of the same name and its 1961 nuclear crisis.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. had cocaine in his system when he was arrested April 24 on a charge of suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, Culver City, Calif., police said Thursday. Reuters reports that Downey, 36, had submitted urine samples to police immediately following his arrest. The samples, after analysis by toxicology experts, indicated cocaine was in Downey's system, Reuters said. He is expected in court Tuesday to face charges on this latest arrest--his second on drug charges since Thanksgiving.