Chappelle's $50 million richer
Comedy Central's hot commodity Dave Chappelle inked a massive deal with the Viacom-owned cabler for two more seasons of his hit series Chappelle's Show. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the deal could be worth about $50 million, catapulting Chappelle, 30, into television's top earners. He'll be paid approximately $5 million per episode with a 10-episode commitment per season, will have a chance to profit from the show's DVD sales, and has set up a multimillion-dollar deal with Viacom's Paramount Pictures to star in features include an adaptation of the autobiography of Rick James, the funk veteran whom Chappelle has lampooned on his show. The ratings for Chappelle's Show have been high and have also helped to boost other longtime staples including The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and South Park."Life without Chappelle's Show would not have been very bright as far as getting or exceeding those numbers again," said Lauren Corrao, senior VP of original programming and head of development, told the Reporter. "It means a great deal to growing our schedule. We're thrilled to have him back."
MTV Music Video Awards adds more to its celeb roster
Dave Chappelle is also making an appearance at the 21st annual MTV Music Video Awards, joining other celebs including Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Ludacris, LL Cool J, Jon Stewart and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, The Associated Press reports. MTV announced that hip-hop artists Lil' Jon, Petey Pablo, the Ying Yang Twins and Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe will perform, along with Usher, Kanye West, Yellowcard, Jet, Hoobastank and Jessica Simpson. The show will air live Aug. 29 in Miami, Fla. Jay-Z's jarring video for "99 Problems," which depicts his own murder as a metaphor for his retirement from rapping, leads with six nominations. Beyonce, No Doubt and OutKast received five nominations each.
VH1 to air Jackson movie
VH1 will debut its original movie on beleaguered pop star Michael Jackson Friday, AP reports. Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story traces the trials and tribulations of Jackson's life from his Motown days to his present legal woes, starring UPN's One on One's Flex Alexander as the King of Pop, who performed all the dance moves.
Franken brings radio show to cable TV
Liberal political humorist Al Franken is headed back to television next month with plans to bring his radio show to the Sundance cable TV channel, a spokesman told Reuters on Monday. Starting Sept. 7, Sundance will package the best of Franken's three-hour weekday radio program into a one-hour telecast of highlights that will air at 11:30 p.m. the same night, with repeats at 2:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. the next morning. His radio show debuted on March 31 as part of the fledgling Air America radio network, billed as a liberal antidote to the predominantly right-leaning talk-show culture whose ranks include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.
Chris Rock releases first album in five years
Funnyman Chris Rock is preparing to release Never Scared, his first album since 1999's Bigger and Blacker, Reuters reports. The album, due Aug. 31 through Geffen, features material from his HBO special of the same name as well as a handful of music parodies and new comedy sketches including a parody of OutKast's hit "Hey Ya!" dubbed "Crackers." The album will also include a DVD with behind-the-scenes footage from the HBO special. Rock, who has been on hiatus from film for the past two years, will be heard in the 2005 animated feature Madagascar and is set to star in the remake of the football-themed The Longest Yard starring Adam Sandler and rapper Nelly.
Schwarzenegger settles bobblehead doll dispute
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has settled a lawsuit against Ohio Discount Merchandise Inc., the company that produces bobblehead dolls featuring a gun-toting Schwarzenegger in a business suit. Under the new agreement, the company can produce dolls, priced at $19.99, but without the gun. Ohio Discount also agreed to donate a portion of sales to Schwarzenegger's nonprofit Arnold All-Stars after-school program in Los Angeles, the AP reports. But Ohio Discount's co-owner, John Edgell, said he opposes the settlement and plans to seek an injunction. His partner Todd Bosley said he severed ties with Edgell when he sought offers for a "Groping Arnold" bobblehead, after accusations surfaced that said Schwarzenegger had groped several women during his years in Hollywood.
Valenti comments on Hollywood's changing landscape
Jack Valenti, who announced in June he was stepping down as MPAA president and CEO after nearly four decades, said in an opinion column in Monday's Los Angeles Times that his greatest achievement as head of the Motion Picture Association of America was that he survived. "To endure in a volatile, unpredictable arena populated by egos the size of small planets is not an inconsiderable achievement," Valenti, 82, wrote. Valenti also noted the vast changes in Hollywood during his 38-year tenure, including huge increases in production and marketing costs; reliance on make-or-break opening weekends; the explosion of the DVD market; and the piracy risk digital cinema presents. Dan Glickman, the former U.S. agriculture secretary under President Clinton, takes over as MPAA chief Sept. 1, while Valenti will continue to oversee the movie ratings system.
Green Day hits the road
Green Day will be touring in support of their new album, American Idiot, due Sept. 21 via Reprise, Reuters reports. The routing for the tour is not yet finalized, but is expected to get underway Oct. 19 in Ft. Worth, Texas, with rock act New Found Glory and up-and-coming rock outfit Sugarcult in tow. American Idiot is the follow-up to 2000's Warning, which debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Before the fall tour, Green Day will perform American Idiot in full at a handful of dates closer to the album's release.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.
Actress Jane Greer, who co-starred with Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas in 1947's classic Out of the Past, died Friday of complications from cancer, according to Associated Press reports. She was 76.
Greer, a native of Washington, D.C., was born Sept. 9, 1924 and grew up in Florida. She was a onetime beauty contestant who caught the eye of Hollywood after appearing in Life magazine.
"I always wanted to be an actress, and suddenly I knew that learning to control my facial muscles was one of the best assets I could have as a performer," Greer once said in an interview.
Greer is survived by her twin brother; sons Alex, Lawrence and Steve; and two grandchildren. Her common-law husband, acting coach Frank London, died in January.
A private memorial service will be help Sept. 9 on what would have been Greer's 77th birthday.
Contrary to U.S. media reports that Cuba may not allow some of its stars to travel to the 2nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards, the city of Havana said Friday that it would allow artists to travel to the ceremony taking place in Los Angeles on Sept. 11. Rebecca Viera, vice-president for the state-run Music Institute in Havana, told Reuters that "Cuba never put obstacles to stop nominated artists on the island from participating in the Latin Grammys." Cuban nominees include salsa star Isaac Delgado, jazz pianist Chucho Valdes and singers Omara Portuondo and Celina Gonzalez.
The Latin Recording Academy has announced the 17 honorees to inaugurate the newly launched Latin Grammy Hall of Fame. Among the recordings inducted are: Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Garota de Ipanema (The Girl From Ipanema)," Carlos Santana's 1970 remake of the Tito Puente classic "Oye Como Va," Don Azpiazu's version of "El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor)," João Gilberto's album Chega da Saudade, Javier Solís' 1960 version of the classic love song, "Sabor a Mí," and the original 1948 version of Concierto de Aranjuez.
Baretta star Robert Blake put his 4,909-square-foot Los Angeles home on the market on Thursday for $1.09 million. The actor intends to move closer to his adult daughter in the San Fernando Valley, Blake's attorney, Harland Braun, told The L.A. Daily News.
Beatles fans will be able to stay at the Hard Day's Night Hotel after it opens in Liverpool, England, in 2003. Each of the hotel's 120 rooms will feature a mural based on a member, song, or place associated with the group. The hotel will occupy a restored downtown building near the site of the Cavern Club, where the Fab Four played some of their earliest shows.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled an R-rated trailer for its upcoming comedy Not Another Teen Movie from the Sony.com Web site fearing underage kids could view it. The ad reportedly featured profanity and partial nudity, said Jack Valenti, President of the Motion Picture Association of America. Sony officials plan to produce a sanitized version of the ad for the site. Not Another Teen Movie is scheduled for release in December.
Director Joe Camp wants to cast all 26 canine roles from an animal shelter for the newest Benji movie. "It's got to be a dog that's very confident in himself and works and wants to do this," he told the AP on Sunday. Camp's original Oscar-nominated Benji debuted in 1974 and earned $40 million in theaters. His latest, Benji Returns--The Promise of Christmas, is set for the 2002 holiday season.
Eon Productions denied that it has been looking for Pierce Brosnan's replacement for the role of James Bond in an upcoming movie, the AP reported Friday. A report in the British press said Scottish actor Gerard Butler had been promised the role whenever Brosnan gave it up. The title of the next film, due to start filming early next year, has not been announced.
Speaking of Bond, Famke Janssen, who got her big break in the 1995 Bond flick Golden Eye, will take the female lead in I Spy opposite Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson, Reuters reported. Janssen can currently be seen in Jon Favreau's Made, and co-starred in last year's X-Men. I Spy begins shooting in mid-September in Budapest.
Karen Kramer, widow of director Stanley Kramer, is upset about the comparisons being made between Jerry Zucker's recent Rat Race and her late husband's 1963 comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World," People magazine reports. "The truth is that Mr. Zucker tried to build a better mousetrap and failed--exploiting a brilliant classic that was the daddy of its kind to create an inferior, unauthorized imitation," she told the Los Angeles Times last week.
Since the sequel to Matrix, Matrix Reloaded, won't be released until May 2003, Warner Bros. will introduce a 2½ hour documentary on the movie and its sequels this fall and also plans to produce anime episodes of the stories, Reuters reports. The Matrix Revisited will debut on DVD and VHS Nov. 20 and will include interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and sneak peaks at Reloaded and a third Matrix film now in pre-production.
The video game-based movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider will be released on video Nov. 13. The rental-priced VHS will include a 25-minute Digging into Tomb Raider bonus feature, Reuters reports. Other upcoming special edition DVD/ VHS releases include Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Oct. 23), featuring 90 minutes of extra material and audio commentaries by directors Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones; Warner Bros. five-film Dirty Harry collection and a three-film "Rat Pack" collection (Nov. 23).