News, Apr. 1: Ross May Be Credited for Time Served, Paul Reubens Says He’s No Pedophile, “Star” No Longer a Tabloid, More…

Top Story: Ross May Be Credited for Time Served

Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed in court Thursday that Diana Ross should be credited with having served her full sentence in her DUI case, The Associated Press reports. Ross pleaded no contest in February to a drunken driving charge in Tucson, Ariz., but arranged to serve her 48-hour sentence in Greenwich, Conn., where she lives. But based on an account from Greenwich police, Tucson City Court Magistrate T. Jay Cranshaw found that Ross had failed to serve 24 consecutive hours as required by Arizona law, but instead spent 47 hours in the custody of Greenwich police over a three-day span–with her longest stay from 8 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next day, 22 hours. Cranshaw ordered Ross to return to Tucson to serve 48 consecutive hours in the Pima County Jail but the singer’s attorneys asked the judge to reconsider. During a brief hearing yesterday, prosecutors supported her attorneys, who said Ross had been released prematurely through no fault of her own. Cranshaw said he would rule by Friday.

Martha Stewart Asks for New Trial

Lawyers for Martha Stewart, who was convicted March 5 of lying to federal investigators about her sale of 3,298 shares of ImClone Systems stock just before it plunged on a negative government report in December 2001, say she should be tried again because one of the jurors who convicted her lied about a 1997 arrest for assault and other parts of his background. According to the AP, attorney Robert Morvillo said he would have tried to keep Chappell Hartridge off the jury panel had he known about the arrest, and about accusations he stole money from a Bronx Little League organization. He also claims Hartridge’s post-trial comments, including that the verdict was a win for “the little guy,” showed a class bias that robbed Stewart of a fair trial.

Star No Longer a Tabloid

Look out US Weekly and People: Star magazine, the newsprint supermarket tabloid, is going glossy and mainstream. Bonnie Fuller, chief editorial director and executive vice president of American Media Inc., the publisher of magazines such as Men’s Fitness, Shape and National Enquirer, told the AP Tuesday that her goal is to get a new generation reading the celebrity weekly. “Star has been around for 30 years, and our readers have become mothers and grandmothers. We needed to grow a new generation of younger readers.” The new tabloid-turned-glossy hits newsstands nationwide April 1, 2004.

Reubens Says He’s No Pedophile

Paul Reubens, who pleaded guilty Mar. 19, 2004 to possessing obscene material, tells Entertainment Weekly the nude photos seized from his home were kitschy pics from the 1940s, ’50s or ’60s, but were neither pornographic or obscene. “Ninety percent of anybody off the street who looked at the stuff would burst out laughing and say, ‘You’re kidding me,'” Reubens tells EW in magazine’s Apr. 2 issue. Reubens rose to fame in the 1980s as Pee-wee Herman, host of the children’s TV show Pee-wee’s Playhouse. In 2001, police raided the 51-year-old actor’s Los Angeles home and seized 30,000 images they deemed to be sexually questionable. Based on 170 of those 30,000 images, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office built a case against Reubens for possessing child pornography.

Sarah Jessica Parker Get Kudos for Fashion Sense

Sarah Jessica Parker will receive a Fashion Icon award at the 2004 Council of Fashion Designers of America fashion awards to be presented June 7 at The New York Public Library, The AP reports. According to the CFDA, the Sex and the City star was selected for her “personal and professional commitment to fashion, and for her quintessentially New York style.” Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Ralph Rucci are nominated for the womenswear designer of the year award and nominees for menswear designer of the year are Kors, Sean Combs and Ralph Lauren.

Oscars Announce 77th Academy Awards Dates

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced yesterday that the 77th annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 27, 2005–the last Sunday of the month. Oscar nomination ballots will be mailed Dec. 27; nomination polls will close Jan. 15; and nominations will be announced Jan. 25. Last year, nomination ballots were to be mailed Jan. 2, 2004 but the Academy decided to begin mailing them Dec. 29, 2003 instead after realizing they would be closed that day for the New Year’s holiday-which caught Oscar campaigns off guard. The Dec. 27 date is also expected to put pressure on distributors to release their Academy fodder earlier than the year-end dates long favored in the past.

Simpsons Cast Wants Raise

The actors who provide the voices for the characters on Fox’s hit animated comedy The Simpsons have reportedly stopped work in order to force a settlement in a lengthy contract dispute. According to Variety, the six actors, Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Hank Azaria (Moe, Apu, Comic Book Guy), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Julie Kavner (Marge) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart), have not shown up for two script readings in the past few weeks, holding up production on the show’s upcoming 16th season. Variety quoted insiders as saying each cast member is asking for about $360,000 an episode, almost triple their current $125,000 an episode. The three-year contracts for the cast expired several months ago, and their representatives have been unsuccessful in negotiating new ones.

Richard Branson in Fox Reality Series

Fox, meanwhile, announced Thursday it has signed a deal with British entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, for a new reality TV series tentatively called Branson’s Big Adventure. According to Reuters, the series will feature Branson will take “a select group of America’s best and brightest” around the world, reliving his experiences and dealing with business dilemmas. Each week, the network said, one contestant will be left behind while the others continue to globetrot. In his career, Branson has founded and run a diverse group of companies, including a record label, a retail chain, an airline and a wireless phone company. The show is expected to debut later this year.

Landmark Siegfried & Roy Banner Taken Down

On Wednesday, workers removed the landmark Siegfried & Roy show banner from the Mirage Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip–nearly six months after a tiger mauled star Roy Horn and forced the show to close. Ho