Top Story: "Chicago" Becomes Miramax's Top Grossing Pic
Miramax Films announced Tuesday that Chicago, which last month picked up six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, is now the highest domestic grossing film in the studio's history. The hit musical's box office take reach the $157.1 million mark Monday night, passing previous record holder Scary Movie, which grossed $157 million in 2000 and was distributed by Miramax's genre arm, Dimension Films. Prior to that, Miramax's top grosser was Good Will Hunting, which took in $139 million in 1997. Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall, stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.
Bob Hope's 100th Birthday Bash
Celebs, including Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Miller, showed up at the first of several events to celebrate Bob Hope's 100th birthday next month, but the legendary entertainer himself was in poor health and was not able to attend. Hope's birthday is May 29, but Hollywood got a head start with Universal Studios Home Video release of The Bob Hope 100th Birthday Tribute Collection, the NBC special 100 Years of Hope and Humor and the unveiling of a plaque on one of the actor's four Walk of Fame stars, Reuters reports.
Steve Bing Wins Libel Damages
Film producer Steve Bing won libel damages Wednesday against the UK tabloid Daily Mail over an article claiming he had tried to tarnish the reputation of his former lover, actress Elizabeth Hurley, Reuters reports. The article, titled "Private eyes and sexual slurs--how Bing is trying to destroy Liz," said the producer and his co-claimant, Los Angeles lawyer Martin Singer, had "orchestrated a vicious campaign" to destroy Hurley's reputation. The Mail apologized for the embarrassment and distress it caused and agreed to pay substantial but undisclosed damages to British children's charities chosen by Bing.
Melissa Ethridge To Wed Girlfriend
Rocker Melissa Ethridge plans to marry her companion of two years, actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, at the end of this year, The Associated Press reports. Etheridge's publicist, Marcel Pariseau, declined to reveal plans for the ceremony but said it would take place in Los Angeles. Ethridge and her former partner Julie Cypher share custody of their two children. The two revealed in 2000 that musician David Crosby was the sperm donor for their children.
More Money for "Will & Grace" Cast
Will & Grace stars Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes will stay on board the NBC comedy at least through the 2004-05 season under a new salary pact. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the stars are due for hefty salary bumps under the deal that will carry them through the show's seventh season. McCormack and Messing will reportedly increase the $250,000-$275,000 they earn per episode for the current season to about $400,000 per episode by the seventh season. Mullally and Hayes are set to receive only slightly less than the two leads under their revised deals.
TNN Rebrands Itself
Viacom will call the TNN network Spike TV beginning June 16. The move reflects the cable channel's intent to recast itself as a programming source for young men. TNN president Albie Hecht told the The Hollywood Reporter that adopting the male name Spike is intended to evoke the aggressive, irreverent tone the network is taking on. The network will launch a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign that will encompass on-air, outdoor and print to spread awareness for the name change and the channel's new logo, currently in the works.
Zahn Out of CNN's "American Morning"
Paula Zahn, anchor of CNN's American Morning With Paula Zahn, is getting the boot to primetime, Reuters reports. The network is moving Zahn in a 7-9 p.m. ET show titled American Evening With Paula Zahn, the time slot formerly belonging to Connie Chung's tabloid-style interview program. CNN did not name a morning replacement for Zahn but sources confirmed reports that CNN has interviewed CBS News' Jane Clayson for Zahn's slot. For the time being, Bill Hemmer will anchor the show by himself
The Dead, Dylan, Hit the Road
Bob Dylan will co-headline the second leg of The Dead and Summer Getaway Tour, set to kick off July 29 in a yet-to-be-announced location, Billboard.com reports. The two last hit the road together in 1987 on a co-headlining stadium tour that spawned the critically acclaimed 1989 live album Dylan & the Dead, which featured collaborative versions of such Dylan classics as "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "All Along the Watchtower."
Role Call: Scorsese Embarks on Western Epic, Aniston Joins Dark Comedy
Martin Scorsese will direct the feature adaptation of Thomas Eidson's Western epic St. Agnes' Stand for DreamWorks. The novel, which revolves around a reluctant hero who saves a nun and a group of children from Apache Indians in the 1860s, will adapted by Life of David Gale scribe Charles Randolph ... Jennifer Aniston is set to star and produce a dark comedy for New Line Cinema. The Friends star would play the wife of a wealthy politician who is confronted with her past when the 10-year-old son she gave up for adoption resurfaces in her life.
A decision last March to award British supermodel Naomi Campbell $5,450 and more than $1 million in court costs from UK's The Daily Mirror in a breach of confidentiality claim was overturned Monday, Reuters reports. The newspaper accurately reported in February 2001 that Campbell had visited a rehab clinic and included a photograph of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in the King's Road, Chelsea. Campbell had always insisted she did not take drugs, stimulants or tranquilizers. A three-judge appeals court panel called the newspapers reporting "justifiable in the public interest." Campbell said in a statement on her official Web site that she would appeal the latest ruling and added that previously lying about her drug use did not make her private life a fair target.
A spokesman for Catherine Zeta-Jones and her husband Michael Douglas said Monday the couple is expecting their second child next spring. Zeta-Jones, 33, and Douglas, 58, already have 2-year-old son named Dylan together, while Douglas has an adult son from his first marriage.
Actor Richard Harris, who plays Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, has been battling cancer, BBC News reports. The 72-year-old actor was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and has had a course of chemotherapy, but his agent would not say when the diagnosis was made. Harris is expected to be discharged in time to work on the third Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio set a opening weekend record at the Italian box office, taking in more than $6.9 million, The Associated Press reports. The three-day box-office returns put the film ahead of The Lord of the Rings, which raked in $5.78 million at the box office last year. Pinocchio, which at more than $40 million was the costliest Italian movie ever made, was shown on 940 screens and seen by 1.15 million people.
CBS has unveiled a new team of four anchors who will take over the Early Show from Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson in two weeks. The network named veteran Harry Smith, sportcaster Hannah Storm, current Early Show news reader Julie Chen and Dallas, Texas, news anchor Rene Syler to co-host the show, Reuters reports. CBS hopes the new ensemble will give the show more flexibility to send its on-air talent on the road more often.
Matt LeBlanc said he would contemplate a spin-off of the NBC comedy Friends if the idea was right and he trusted the writers and the people running the show. "It allows me to have dinner with my family every night, it allows me to sleep in my own bed every night, I can see my dogs, I can drive my own car," LeBlanc told Zap2it.com. "You have some semblance of a real life." LeBlanc has been on a promotional tour for his new film All the Queen's Men, which opens Oct. 25.
British rock band Muse is threatening legal action against Celine Dion over her planned use of the title Muse for her three-year, 600-show engagement starting next March in Las Vegas, fearing it will hurt their chances of cracking the US market. Dion's management company offered to buy the rights to the name for $50,000, but the band rejected the offer. "We fully intend to crack America with our next album and we don't want to turn up there with people thinking we're Celine Dion's backing band," the group's singer, Matthew Bellamy, told BBC News.
ZZ Top's drummer Frank Beard--the only member without a beard--has undergone an appendectomy in Paris and will be replaced on the band's European tour by roadie John Douglas until he recuperates, Reuters reports. This is the first time in ZZ Top's history that the band will perform without its original lineup.
Jane Clayson, the co-host of CBS' The Early Show, talks about the ups and downs of being in the public eye, to Utah's Deseret News:
"Sometimes I'd rather not have to discuss the finer points of coloring my hair or whatever it may be. But sometimes those questions come up. That's part of my job now."
The U.S. Embassy in Honduras told Reuters Sunday that the body of Lisa Lopes, who died in a car crash last week, will be sent to back to the United States after an autopsy can be performed. "The autopsy needs to be completed, so it will be Tuesday or Wednesday when the remains of Lisa Lopes leave for the United States," embassy spokesman Gregory Adams told Reuters.
Lopes, known as the cute rapper "Left Eye" of the hit R&B trio TLC, was apparently driving a sport utility vehicle with eight passengers when the car flipped off the road in northern Honduras. The singer died of multiple internal injuries in the hospital, while the other passengers, some seriously injured, are still hospitalized. The investigators at the scene cited speeding as the cause of the accident.
The three previews to Madonna's new London play, Up for Grabs, have been canceled due to technical difficulties. "The production has developed into a complex synchronicity between moving set, sound, music and projection, and realizing it in an older-style theater has increased necessary technical time," a spokeswoman for the producers told Reuters. The show is still scheduled to premiere May 23.
Oprah Winfrey is looking for calmer surroundings. She and her former personal trainer, Bob Greene, are buying seven shoreline lots on Hamoa Bay, Hawaii, to build several homes, including an estate for the talk-show host.
In the Biz
Robert De Niro will produce a remake of the Japanese film Kaosu (Chaos) as a starring vehicle for Benicio Del Toro. The story centers on a young grifter who kidnaps the all-too-willing wife of a wealthy businessman. When he returns from making his ransom demands, he finds the woman has been killed. De Niro will produce the film for Universal Pictures and may also star as the businessman.
George Lucas promises that Indiana Jones will be facing ghosts of girlfriends past in the next Indiana Jones installment. "There is a scene where a lot of Indy's ex-girlfriends show up, but they are not major characters," Lucas told Entertainment Weekly. Harrison Ford should be able to handle that.
The ABC hit reality show The Bachelor is already accepting applications for the next round. According to The Associated Press, on the applications, men are asked why they'd make a great husband and women why they can't find the man of their dreams. Tough questions. The second Bachelor will tape from July through the end of the year.
Sean "Puffy" Combs is not one to shy away from a little publicity. Following on The Osbournes' bandwagon, MTV has signed up the music mogul for his own reality show, revolving around his professional career. One similarity? "I'm quite sure there will be a lot of bleeps," Combs told PageSix.com.
Now that Bryant Gumbel is leaving CBS' The Early Show, co-host Jane Clayson thinks David Letterman would make a great replacement. "He's on at 11:30 p.m. He could stick around for a couple more hours. He'd be fun," she told TV Guide.
Nanni Moretti's drama The Son's Room and British director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, High Fidelity) were honored at the Istanbul Film Festival on Saturday. The festival's top honors went to the Dutch film Magonia.
Longtime Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd was honored Friday by 1,000 of his friends, celebrities and studio execs, celebrating his 50 years in the entertainment business.
San Franciscan rock band Train was the big winner at the California Music Awards, winning the outstanding songwriter award and best album for its Drops of Jupiter. Lead singer Pat Monahan also won outstanding male vocalist. Other winners included San Jose's Smash Mouth for outstanding group, No Doubt's Gwen Stefani for outstanding female vocalist and East Bay's Green Day for artist of the year.
Barbie is dressed elegantly in black, with a tasteful hat, shoes and bag to match today. Ruth Handler--the creator of the world's most popular doll--died Saturday of complications from colon surgery. She was 85. "My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be," AP reported Handler wrote in a 1994 autobiography. "Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices."
Bryant Gumbel, that is. The 53-year-old co-anchor of CBS' The Early Show will be headed off the air soon after being unable to strike up a new contract with the network, Reuters reports.
The 17-year veteran of morning TV spent his last 2 1/2 years turning ratings around for CBS' third-place morning show (behind ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today show) and reportedly wanted a larger salary.
No agreement was reached.
Gumbel, who will continue hosting the HBO series Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, remains optimistic.
"Morning television has been a wonderful experience for me, but there are other interests that I'm eager to pursue," he said in a statement.
No date has been set for Gumbel's final show, nor has a replacement co-anchor--opposite Jane Clayson--been determined.
On Wednesday, CBS announced the names of the next set of contestants confined to Nuka Hiva, an island neighboring Tahiti in the South Pacific, for the next installment of Survivor.
The new group is, on average, the youngest thus far. Of the 16 contestants vying for the $1 million jackpot, all but four are under the age of 40, and six are in their twenties.
Two of the contestants, Robert DeCanio, a limo-driver from Queens, and Sean Rector, a Harlem-born schoolteacher, were introduced on yesterday's Early Show with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson.
DeCanio, 38, was born and raised in Flushing and worked for the U.S. Postal Service before becoming a driver. Rector, 30, now lives in Los Angeles and acts as well as teaches. Rector has appeared in the Negro Ensembles Company's North 17th Street, The Absolution of Willie Mae and A Family Ever on the Verge of Emotion.
Other contestants include:
Gabriel Cade, 23, a bartender from North Carolina
John Carroll, 36, a nurse from Nebraska
Gina Crews, 28, a nature guide from Florida
Neleh Dennis, 21, a student from Utah
Hunter Ellis, 33, a pilot from California
Paschal English, 57, a judge from Georgia
Peter Harkey, 45, a bowling alley and wine shop owner from Massachusetts
Patricia Jackson, 49, a truck assembler from South Carolina
Sarah Jones, 24, an accounts manager from California
Tammy Leitner, 29, a reporter from Arizona
Rob Mariano, 26, a construction worker from Massachusetts
Vecepia "Vee" Towery, 36, an office manager from Oregon
Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, 47, a real estate agent from Vermont
Zoe Zanidakis, 35, a fishing boat captain from Maine
The eight women and eight men will start the game in two tribes, called Maraamu and Rotu. The setting is similar to the original Survivor, which took place on Borneo with a tropical climate, white sandy beaches and aquamarine water.
The show's producers are trying to bring back the legions of loyal of fans that ditched the tribe after the first season. For the first time in the show's history, the contestants will begin the 40-day adventure with no rations.
Survivor: Marquesas premieres on Feb. 28.
In other Survivor news, Lex van den Berghe will make his first celebrity appearance since appearing on Survivor: Africa--at a polling booth.
Van den Berghe, one of the last three remaining players on the most recent edition of Survivor, will man one of the polling stations in California's Santa Cruz County in the state's upcoming election, Reuters reports.
Election officials however will not reveal where van den Berghe, a local resident, will be. Like all poll clerks, he will be responsible for issuing ballots to eligible voters and assisting them--and get paid $60 for his time.
Meanwhile, original Survivor winner Richard Hatch was found innocent on Tuesday of assaulting his ex-boyfriend in a ruling that overturns an earlier conviction.
Hatch won the $1 million grand prize on the inaugural edition of Survivor. In September, a judge found the 40-year-old Hatch guilty of domestic assault after he got into a fight with his former lover on the steps of Hatch's home in Middletown, R.I.