Top Story: Lanes, Ya-Ya Sisterhood Get Nods for PRISM Awards
Changing Lanes and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood were among the films nominated on Tuesday for PRISM awards, which honor the accurate depiction of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and addiction, Reuters reports. Other film nominees included Narc, The Salton Sea and Skins. Samuel L. Jackson (Changing Lanes), Ashley Judd (Divine Secrets), Jason Patric (Narc), and Val Kilmer (The Salton Sea) were also some of the actors nominated for their performances. Under the television category, Jeremy Irons and Neve Campbell were both nominated for their work in the Showtime movie Last Call about the final days of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, while Bernie Mac got a nod for his show The Bernie Mac Show.
Osbourne Gets a Clean Bill of Health
Sharon Osbourne, the matriarch of television's first family of dysfunction, appears to be free of the colon cancer she's been battling since last year. "Ozzy says Sharon has completed her treatment and has no signs of cancer," a spokesman for the rocker told Reuters on Wednesday.
Singer Braxton Has Baby No. 2
Toni Braxton and her husband, Keri Lewis, welcomed their second child, a son, Diezel Ky Braxton Lewis on Sunday, The Associated Press reports. The couple also has a 1-year-old son, Denim.
Actor Conrad Arrested
Robert Conrad, star of the 1960s TV show Wild, Wild West, was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence when his car collided with another Monday night in Northern Calif., injuring himself and the other driver. According to Reuters, the actor was rushed to a hospital in Modesto, Calif., where he was listed in stable condition.
Actor Jason Mewes Ordered Into Rehab
Jason Mewes, known as stoner Jay in the Kevin Smith films Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks, has been ordered by a judge to complete a drug rehabilitation program or face jail time, AP reports. Mewes, 28, who failed to report for a court hearing stemming from a 1999 heroin conviction, had a warrant issued for his arrest in December 2001. According to AP, the actor surrendered Tuesday and pleaded guilty to probation violation charges, failing to report to his probation officer, take drug tests or undergo counseling.
Wanna Be a Superhero?
Here's your chance. The WB network has ordered six episodes of a new reality TV show Who Wants To Be a Superhero?, a fantasy-oriented contest from comic book icon Stan Lee. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show revolves around real people who come up with ideas for original superheroes and perform in character before a panel of celebrity judges who have played onscreen superheroes. Semifinalists will undergo a "superhero makeover" overseen by Spider-Man creator Lee and compete in various stunts and challenges that mimic comic book derring-do. The winner will then be eligible to have his or her idea developed and expanded by Lee's team, possibly for a comic book spinoff.
Wanna Work with Donald Trump?
Here's your chance. NBC is developing a new reality series with Survivor producer Mark Burnett called The Apprentice. AP reports the show will gather 20 people who will compete in a fun, entertaining and still cutthroat way for a job with Donald Trump and his company and will feature the business tycoon firing contestants each week. The winner will receive a six-figure salary.
Rivera Taken Out of Iraq
Following on the heels of NBC's firing of reporter Peter Arnett, Fox News Channel has reassigned field correspondent Geraldo Rivera from Iraq to Kuwait after U.S. military officials complained the reporter disclosed unauthorized information about military movements. AP reports that when Rivera, who had been traveling with the 101st Airbourne unit in Iraq, did his report Monday, he was squatting in the desert and outlining the details in the dirt. Rivera, on the other hand, told KSTP-TV in "I feel like I have been scolded," and said he hoped to stay in Kuwait for a week and then arrange to rejoin the 101st Airborne as an embedded reporter. Fat chance.
Role Call: Queen Latifah's Beauty Shop
Hot off her Oscar nomination, Queen Latifah has signed on to star in Beauty Shop, a female version to the hit film Barbershop. Variety quotes sources as saying the rapper-turned-actress will receive a paycheck of at least $10 million for the film. She'll also have a cameo in the sequel to Barbershop, setting up a spinoff movie with her as the owner of a beauty shop next door to the original barbershop locale.
Top Story: Madonna Withdraws Violent Antiwar Video
Madonna has decided to withdraw the antiwar video for her new single "American Life" out of respect for the troops fighting in Iraq, The Associated Press reports. "Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video," the singer said in a statement posted on her Web site Monday. The video, which was filmed before the war started, shows Madonna wearing military garb next to dancers in camouflage on a fashion runway. At one point, a grenade is thrown in the direction of a President Bush look-alike. The video had been scheduled to premiere Friday on VH-l. The single, meanwhile, has just been released to radio.
Grant's Biological Clock Ticking
Hugh Grant tells Vanity Fair magazine he wants to take a break from acting to focus on his personal life because he "hates" acting, despite the wealth that comes along with it. "In fact, I hate it quite a lot," he said. "All acting, but especially movie acting." The About a Boy star also told the magazine that he wants to settle down. "I'm ready, baby. I need to get married and have children," Grant says. But he dismisses the likelihood of rekindling a romance with his ex, actress Elizabeth Hurley. "She's with another guy and, you know, we're good friends," he says. "But no, that train has sailed, as Austin Powers would say."
WB Pulls "Girl" Poster
Warner Bros. Pictures' is changing its print advertisement for the teen comedy What a Girl Wants to avoid making a political statement, the AP reports. The posters originally featured a photograph of star Amanda Bynes wearing an American flag T-shirt and flashing the peace sign with her fingers as she stands between two British royal guards. The new version of the poster features Bynes with her right hand at her side instead, but many of the original posters had already been placed on billboards and buses before the change was made.
Peter Arnett Gets New Job
Reporter Peter Arnett, who was fired by NBC for saying on Iraqi television the U.S.-led war effort had failed, has been hired by Britain's Daily Mirror, the AP reports. The network said it received thousands of e-mails and phone calls protesting his remarks. "I am still in shock and awe at being fired," Arnett wrote for the newspaper. "I report the truth of what is happening here in Baghdad and will not apologize for it." Arnett won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as an AP reporter during the Vietnam War and gained much of his prominence from covering the 1991 Gulf War for CNN.
BET Scores in January Ratings
Following a major programming overhaul, Black Entertainment Television has seen double-digit increases in advertising and subscribers--now at 74 million households, the AP reports. In January, BET netted its highest ever primetime ratings. The network recently canceled three highly regarded public affairs shows--Lead Story, Teen Summit and BET Tonight With Ed Gordon--in an effort to cut costs and make room for more entertainment programming. Its new programs include reruns of UPN's The Parkers and Girlfriends and Showtime's Soul Food.
Role Call: Hudson in "Skeleton," Pfeiffer Returns to Comedy
Kate Hudson is in preliminary negotiations to star in Universal Pictures' Skeleton Key for director Iain Softley. The project, described as The Ring meets The Sixth Sense, is scheduled to begin production this fall ... Michelle Pfeiffer is making a return to comedy. The actress is attached to star in She's Gone, described as a sophisticated romantic comedy about a couple whose marriage is at a crossroads. There is no director yet on board the project ... David Duchovny will star opposite Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette in the female buddy comedy Connie and Carla for director Michael Lembeck. The laffer revolves around two female dinner theater singers who are forced to go undercover in Los Angeles as drag queens.
Top Story: Peter Jackson Goes Ape-Crazy!
Now that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is behind him, Peter Jackson is moving on to bigger and better things--namely a big monkey named King Kong. The director is fulfilling his childhood dream of remaking the classic King Kong story about a giant ape who wreaks havoc on New York City. "I'm making movies today because I saw this film when I was nine years old. It has been my sustained dream to reinterpret this classic story for a new age," Jackson said in the statement issued on Monday, AFP reports. The new version will be filmed in New Zealand.
Reporter Arnett Fired Over War Comments
NBC and MSNBC has officially severed ties with veteran news reporter Peter Arnett after he told an Iraqi television crew the U.S. war against Saddam Hussein had failed, Reuters reports. "I said in that interview essentially what we all know about the war, that there have been delays in implementing policy, there have been surprises," Arnett told NBC's Today show. "But clearly by giving that interview I created a firestorm in the United States and for that I am truly sorry." The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter became widely known for his dramatic live reports during the bombing of Baghdad on the opening days of the 1991 Gulf War.
David Letterman will return to his popular CBS late-night show this week after fully recovering from a case of shingles, Reuters reports. The 55-year-old comedian has been off the show since Feb. 25 when he complained on air about a visible inflammation of his right eye. The ratings during Letterman's absence--where guests such as Bruce Willis and Regis Philbin took over hosting duties--were spotty but the network hopes for a big tune-in for Letterman's first night back Monday.
South Park Will Go On
Comedy Central has renewed their deal with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for another two-years. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pact calls for Parker and Stone to produce 15 episodes per season next spring. Originals will be spread out through the spring and fall. The deal also includes an option for a third year that would take the duo through 2006.
Cher Criticizes Jacko
Cher has had it with Michael Jackson. The singer-actress once hailed Jackson as a "great artist" but now has a different opinion about him personally. "I don't really care what he does to his face. He could just erase it as far as I'm concerned," Cher told TV Guide for its April 5 issue. "But I don't like him anymore. And it's because of his children. I cannot imagine putting my children through what he put his children through."
Diva Ross Wants To Tell It All
Diana Ross plans to write a memoir detailing her most recent woes, including being picked up for drunk driving in Arizona, the breakup of her marriage and her disastrous Supremes reunion tour, The Associated Press reports. Upside Down: Wrong Turns, Right Turns and the Road Ahead is scheduled for release this spring from ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Ross has also agreed to a one-hour interview on Fox, scheduled to air in May.
Playwright Nick Enright Dies
Australian playwright/screenwriter Nick Enright, best known for co-writing the 1993 Lorenzo's Oil for which is he got an Oscar nomination, died Sunday of cancer in Sydney, Australia. He was 52.
Role Call: Scooby-Doo Part II; Bates Joins 80 Days
Ro-boy-o-boy-o-boy! Warner Bros. announced Monday that production on the sequel to their hit Scooby-Doo--with original cast members Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard--will begin April 14. In the new mystery, Scooby and the gang confront an anonymous villain who is plotting to take over the city of Coolsville by creating Mystery, Inc. classic foes such as Captain Cutler and the 10,000 Volt Ghost...meanwhile, Oscar nominee Kathy Bates has joined the cast of Around the World in 80 Days. Based on the Jules Verne classic, the remake stars Steve Coogan as Phileas Fogg and Jackie Chan as Passepartout, two adventurers on a journey to circle the globe in 80 days. Bates will play Queen Victoria.
Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Peter Arnett says that when the
recent war in Afghanistan broke out, he offered his services to several
TV networks but was turned down.
Arnett, best known for his reporting
for CNN during the Gulf War and for being one of the few reporters to
have interviewed Osama bin Laden, told today's New York
Times: "I have covered lots of wars, and I feel I'm sort of good at
it. ...On the other hand, I was basically fired by CNN, I was damaged
goods, and, you know, it's not easy to get back in the game."
recently was hired by the little-known independent news organization,
Broadcast News Networks to report from Afghanistan. He told the Times
that he was forced out of CNN after fronting a report alleging that
the U.S. used nerve gas against American defectors during the Vietnam
Although maintaining that he did little more than read a script for
the discredited broadcast, Arnett suggested that his style of reporting
might even have done him in in today's climate. CNN currently, he said,
is reluctant to air "the enemy's words" for fear of alienating some of
"It seems they don't want to have unhappy viewers because
possibly they would turn to other channels, and where would CNN be?"
Arnett told the Times.