Top Story: Travel Agent Sues Jackson
Travel agent Cynthia Montgomery is suing Michael Jackson for failing to pay the tab for the private jet that brought him from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara where he was arrested on child molestation charges, The Associated Press reports. Montgomery is suing for $50,000 in damages stemming from Jackson's failure to pay the $18,000 fee for the chartered XtraJet that flew the singer to Santa Barbara. According to her lawyer, Robert T. Moore II, during the three years Montgomery managed Jackson's travel arrangements she often paid travel fees up front with the singer paying her back later. Moore said at a press conference, "They told us in so many words that we're not going to get paid." In response the question of why Montgomery would pay for travel arrangements herself Moore replied, "Michael Jackson is kind of a slow pay and XtraJet would not deliver the jet without payment up front." Jackson is currently suing XtraJet over the cameras that secretly videotaped Jackson and his lawyer Mark Garagos as Jackson flew to Santa Barbara November 20th. Garagos won a temporary restraining order preventing XtraJet from releasing the in flight tapes.
Sex To Hit Theaters?
Michael Patrick King, executive producer of HBO's hit sex and relationships comedy Sex and the City, is in talks to bring the show to the big screen for HBO's theatrical wing, AP reports. Stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis are also in talks to reprise their roles as 30-something New Yorkers who navigate dating, careers, marriage, and of course, sex. The film would pick up where the series finale, which airs this Sunday on HBO, leaves off.
Tonight Show Gets "Stern" New Announcer
Former Howard Stern radio show provocateur "Stuttering" John Melendez will be the new announcer for The Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno, AP reports. The show's current announcer, Edd Hall, is leaving the show after 12 years to pursue film roles. Melendez will serve as announcer as well as correspondent for the top late night show, getting involved in comedy sketches and interviews with people on the street. Melendez is apparently taking voice classes to help improve his announcing skills. On Stern's radio show, Melendez is known for his ability to embarrass the people unlucky enough to be interviewed by him, though he will reportedly tone this skill down for Leno's Burbank, CA-based show. Executives at The Tonight Show chose Melendez after seeing him on the ABC reality show I'm a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here.
Supermodel Campbell Takes Case to House of Lords
In an effort to reinstate a ruling in her favor regarding UK privacy rights, Naomi Campbell has taken her case to the House of Lords, the highest court in England, Reuters and AFP report. Campbell, 33, successfully sued The Daily Mirror in 2002 over printing a report about her attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting along with photos of her leaving the meeting. She was awarded 3,500 pounds when the court found the paper to be in breach of confidentiality and the Data Protection Act. The ruling was then overturned by the Court of Appeal, which ruled Campbell must pay the newspaper's 350,000 legal fees. The court agreed with the Mirror's contention that Campbell lied when she said she was not struggling with drug addiction and publishing photos of her leaving the NA meeting was "justifiable in the public interest". The hearing in the House of Lords is expected to last two days.
Peacock and Eye Win Sweeps
NBC and CBS have swept the second week of the four week February sweeps period during which networks vie for ratings to lure advertiser cash later in the year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. NBC's final season of Friends and the Donald Trump reality show The Apprentice scored high ratings, earning the network a 12.6 million viewer average. NBC's "Must See TV" was outpaced by CBS which won an over 14.2 million viewer average with CSI taking in a jaw-dropping 30.9 million viewers Thursday night, marking the highest ratings for a show this season. Fox also did well with American Idol, nighttime soap The O.C., and reality show My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancée. ABC only managed to rustle up an 8.3 million viewer average with their Extreme Makeover: Home Edition leading the way. UPN and WB did well with America's Top Model and Everwood respectively.
Raymond Loved By Top Markets
Syndication rights for the hit CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond are being gobbled up by Fox-owned stations, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show is in its second syndication cycle meaning syndication rights are being renewed or purchased by addition stations. The first syndication deals were struck in 1998 with the newly signed deals taking effect in 2008. Though the cost of syndication rights were not released, it is estimated that they are at least $4.4 million for the national rights, double the cost for the first cycle in '98. Everybody Loves Raymond is currently in its 8th season.
Beastie Boys Back in June
New York rap trio Beastie Boys are putting the finishing touches on their new album to be released in June, Rolling Stone reports. This is the first album for the group since their wildly successful 1998 release Hello Nasty, which has sold 3.8 million copies since its debut. The Beasties began writing songs for the new album as far back as 2001 and recorded some of the tracks in 2002. Grand Royal, the label that released the Beastie's Check Your Head and Ill Communication has run into financial troubles of late, going bankrupt in 2002. It is currently for sale online with a starting bid of $10,000.
Role Call: Hornet Stings Smith; It's Open Season on Kutcher and Lawrence
Writer/director/New Jersey comic book store owner Kevin Smith is set to direct a big-screen adaptation of the comic book The Green Hornet for Miramax, AP reports. Hornet started out as a radio serial in the '30s and later spun off into a comic book. In the '60s it was made into a show starring Van Williams as Britt Reid, millionaire by day, cr