Top Story: Judge Orders Diana Ross Back to Jail
Diana Ross, who is currently touring Europe, was ordered back to the hoosegow yesterday by an Arizona judge who said she fell short by one hour of the two-day sentence he gave her for a drunken driving incident in Tucson. The 59-year-old singer, who was arrested Dec. 30, 2002, by police responding to a call of a wrong-way motorist in northeast Tucson, pleaded no contest last month to driving under the influence of alcohol. According to CNN, Ross was allowed "in and out" privileges at a Greenwich, Conn., jail, failing to serve at least 24 hours straight--as was mandated by the court--and fell one hour shy of completing the two-day sentence, Reuters reports. The judge now wants Ross to serve her time in Tucson. "The Greenwich jail arrangement clearly does not comply with Arizona law," Arizona Magistrate T. Jay Cranshaw wrote in a March 4 order. "To avoid any questions of impropriety, the defendant is ordered to return to Tucson to serve 48 consecutive hours in the Pima County Jail." An April 1 review hearing has been set, but Ross is not expected to attend.
Jackson Prosecutor Convening Grand Jury
District Attorney Tom Sneddon said a grand jury is convening in Santa Barbara, Calif., but would not say whether the panel will be investigating the Michael Jackson child molestation case. "The business of the grand jury is confidential," a D.A. spokesman told The Associated Press. "The office convenes a grand jury every quarter, so this could be considered part of their standard activity. We can't say." Use of the grand jury to secure an indictment would sidestep a potentially lengthy preliminary hearing and avoid the media spectacle surrounding public testimony. On Jan. 16, Jackson pleaded innocent to seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. He's free on $3 million bail.
Cinequest Honors Schwarzenegger
California Gov. and former action film star Arnold Schwarzenegger accepted a Maverick Spirit Award Wednesday at the 14th annual Cinequest San Jose Film, which debuted Mar. 3 in San Jose, Calif., and runs for 11 days. Cinequest organizers said they chose Schwarzenegger because of his life and career accomplishments. "Throughout his life, Schwarzenegger has been known for setting specific goals for himself--and always achieving them," Halfdan Hussey, the festival's founder and executive director, said."Schwarzenegger uses his influence to better society and humanity." Past Maverick Spirit Award recipients include Jackie Chan, Kevin Spacey, Spike Lee and Jennifer Beals.
Trump To Host SNL
NBC announced Wednesday that Donald Trump will host Saturday Night Live on April 3. The appearance will not be Trump's first foray into the world of television. The real estate tycoon's latest endeavor, the reality show The Apprentice, which he hosts and co-executive produces with Mark Burnett, has been a ratings winner since it premiered Jan. 8 on NBC. The show features 16 contestants vying for a $250,000-a-year dream job as a top executive in Trump's business empire.
Miami Police Secretly Monitoring Rappers
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that officers in Miami and Miami Beach have been secretly monitoring hip-hop stars P. Diddy, DMX and others in South Florida. According to the report, police began gathering intelligence on rap artists after The Source Hip-Hop Awards on Memorial Day 2001 weekend, when 250,000 hip-hop fans convened to South Beach. "We have to keep an eye on these rivalries," Assistant Miami Beach Police Chief Charles Press told the paper. "The last thing we need in this city is violence." Bruce Rogow, a law professor at Florida's Nova Southeastern University who represented 2 Live Crew when the rap group was prosecuted for obscenity in the early '90s said the conduct "implicates racial stereotyping."
Thirteen Leads Prism Nods
Director Catherine Hardwicke's drama Thirteen, which portrays teenage girls and their accelerated adolescence, earned multiple nominations for the eighth annual Prism Awards, which honor works that depict the pitfalls of drug and alcohol abuse. The film earned nods for feature film as well as acting bids for stars Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed. Other nominees in the feature film category include City of God, Love and Diane, 21 Grams and Wonderland. The Prism Awards will be handed out on Thursday, April 29 at the Hollywood Palladium with portions of the ceremony to be telecast May 16 on FX.
The Practice Takes a Bow
The ABC legal drama The Practice, which was on the fence last spring before being picked up at last minute for an eight season, will bow out May 16. At the time, the pickup was followed by the high-profile cast shake-up by executive producer David E. Kelley, who let go of original cast members, including Dylan McDermott and Lara Flynn Boyle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the final episodes of the Emmy-winning show will set up a spin-off series, which has been given a 22-episode order by ABC for this fall. Sources told the Reporter the pickup is not contingent on any actor, but speculated that the show's latest additions--James Spader and Rhona Mitra--have been approached for the follow-up.
Queer Eye for Pier 1 Imports
The home furnishing chain Pier 1 Imports has given its spokeswoman Kirstie Alley her pink slip and has launched a new marketing campaign featuring Thom Filicia of the Bravo makeover show Queer Eye for t
Top Story: Case Against Phil Spector Delayed
Detectives in Los Angeles will not be ready to present a case against music producer Phil Spector at his scheduled court date next week, The Associated Press reports. Spector, 62, was arrested for investigation of murder after the body of actress Lana Clarkson was found in the entrance hall of his mansion in suburban Alhambra, Calif., on Feb. 3. In an Esquire magazine interview last month, Spector implied Clarkson may have shot herself, but sheriff's investigators have discounted suicide as a possible cause of death. Spector, whose "wall of sound" recording technique transformed 1960s pop music, is free on $1 million bail.
Enough Exposure for Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz believes she already has enough exposure. City News Service reports her attorneys will appear in a Santa Monica, Calif., courtroom today to request certain details be kept private in her suit against photographer John Rutter, whom the actress is suing to stop the release of photos taken during a modeling shoot. Rutter claims Diaz signed a release for the photos, one he says is a topless shot. He says he has verbally agreed not to sell the photos, which are being held in a safe deposit box until the outcome of the injunction hearing that begins Aug. 18.
Fox Searchlight Expands Beckham
Banking on the recognition of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl co-star Kiera Knightley, Fox Searchlight will further expand its soccer drama Bend It Like Beckham, releasing it wide for the first time. Fox Searchlight distribution president Steve Gilula told Variety it seemed like a good idea to capitalize on Knightley's newfound fame and the film's continued popularity. "Our screen count kept going down, but our screen averages have held real well," Gilula said. "We were hearing that the awareness of the film kept rising, but the movie wasn't playing anywhere." Beckham, which co-stars Parminder Nagra, reached the box office Top 10 in May with just 555 play dates, and through Sunday had earned $26.3 million domestically.
Law and Order, CSI Top Ratings
Reruns of Law and Order and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation beat out a crop of new shows in the Neilsen ratings for the week of July 21-27 in the summer battle for TV domination, the AP reports. NBC won the week, averaging 7.7 million viewers followed by CBS ( 7.4 million); ABC (5.8 million); Fox (5.6 million); UPN (2.8 million); the WB (2.3 million); and Pax TV (820,000). The top 10 shows were: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS; Law & Order, NBC; Law & Order: Criminal Intent, NBC; Without a Trace, CBS; Law & Order, NBC; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; CSI: Miami, CBS; 60 Minutes, CBS; The King of Queens, CBS; Law & Order: SVU, NBC.
Prinze Jr. Inks MTV Deal
Freddie Prinze Jr. has inked a development deal with MTV to develop and co-write a teen movie comedy for the cable network. Prinze will write the project with his writing partner Conrad Jackson, with Stan Rogow (The Lizzie McGuire Movie) set to executive produce. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the untitled TV movie revolves around a group of teenagers trying to throw a prom, takes a comedic look at how the graduation ceremony is changing with the increasing cultural diversity of the typical student body.
Heavy D Drops 135 Pounds
Rapper-turned-actor Heavy D, whose real name is Dwight Myers, says he's dropped 135 pounds in the last year but said the loss wasn't prompted by health concerns, the AP reports. "I went on a couple auditions and one director was kind enough to say, 'Look, you would've had this part but you're not fitting, you're stifling yourself,'" he told the Television Critics Association last week. But the rapper, who earned three Grammy nominations and scored a hit with "We Got Our Own Thang" with Heavy D and the Boyz, said he has no plans to change his name. "There's a lot of checks involved with 'Heavy D,'so that name stays." Heavy D plays a mechanic in the planned show The Tracy Morgan Show for NBC.
Ja Rule Feuding With 50 Cent
Ja Rule says his feud with fellow New York rapper 50 Cent is the real deal. "We just don't like each other," he told AP Radio during a trip to South Africa. "You have a lot of artists (who think) a good beef will help their record sales. I think that's fickle." Ja Rule, whose latest album is The Last Temptation, says rappers like 50 Cent are just pretending to live a certain lifestyle. "I'm here, and I'm 'in the club popping the bub,'" he said. "That's what I do."
Role Call: Hawn in Bride and Joy, Leto Joins Alexander
MGM is in negotiations to option the Washington Post article Bride and Joy: Guiding Mom Down the Aisle as a starring vehicle for Goldie Hawn. That project, based on an article written by Francesca Segre that appeared in the Sept. 30 edition of the Post, centers on a newly engaged couple from different backgrounds trying to plan and execute a New Year's Eve wedding. Hawn would also produce the project through her Cosmic Entertainment banner ... Jared Leto is the latest thesp to join the cast of the Oliver Stone-directed epic Alexander for Intermedia and Warner Bros. Leto will play Alexander's top general and lifelong companion. Hephaistion. The film already stars Colin Farrell as Alexander, with Angelina Jolie as his mother and Anthony Hopkins as the general and future pharaoh Ptolemy.