News, Aug. 24: Evidence Admitted in Jackson Case, Paternity Test Clears Marc Anthony, Julia Roberts Takes Time Off, More…

Judge admits evidence in Jackson case

Following a weeklong hearing in which prosecutors and attorneys in the Michael Jackson child molestation case clashed over what evidence could be used in trial, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville ruled today that 39 items seized at the singer’s Neverland Valley Ranch can be admitted, Reuters reports. Melville said he might suppress other items of evidence he had concerns about, but would not issue a final ruling until September to give attorneys for both sides time to file written arguments. It was unclear what much of the evidence in question was because of the secrecy that has surrounded the case, but search warrant data previously released indicated the evidence tentatively admitted included several computer hard drives and a cassette recorder and audio tape found in a safe in Jackson‘s bathroom. Jackson, who attended the first day of the hearing on Aug. 16 with his family, is scheduled to stand trial on January 31 in Santa Maria, Calif., on charges of child molestation and conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million bail.

Test confirm Anthony didn’t father child

A lawyer for Marc Anthony said a third paternity test has confirmed the Latin singer didn’t father a child with a Cuban dancer as she has claimed, the AP reports. Miami resident Elizabeth Leyva brought a paternity lawsuit in a Florida court, alleging that Anthony is the father of her son, who was born late last year. Anthony refuted the claims and willingly volunteered to be DNA-tested. Orchid GeneScreen, which has labs in Dallas and Dayton, Ohio, conducted the most recent DNA test on Aug. 13. “The three leading paternity labs in the world have confirmed scientifically that he is not the father,” lawyer Orin Snyder said Monday. “There is no reality to this claim whatsoever.” Snyder said he has contacted Leyva’s lawyers, asking her to drop the lawsuit. Anthony, who has two children with former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, reportedly married singer-actress Jennifer Lopez in June at the singer-actress’ home in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Julia Roberts takes time off to be a mom

Julia Roberts, who is due to give birth to twins this winter, tells Newsweek magazine she plans to take a break from acting and make children her first priority. “I’m not planning anything. I can’t imagine how big I’m going to get in the next three months, but … you just kind of play it as it comes,” Roberts said. “I’m allowed to do that, aren’t I?” The twins will be the first children for Roberts and her husband, cinematographer Daniel Moder. The two were married in July 2002. Roberts, 36, tells the magazine her pregnancy has only just begun to show. “It does kind of happen overnight. You wake up and go, ‘Oh my God!'” she said. Roberts has two films set for release in December, including the dramedy Closer and the sequel Ocean’s 12.

DGA starts negotiations with studios

The Directors Guild of America, which reps about 12,500 members, started negotiations yesterday with studios and networks, Variety reports. The DGA’s current contract doesn’t expire until June 30, 2005, but all side are hoping a deal can be reached within the next few weeks in order to avoid a possible work stoppage should negotiations appear not to be moving toward an agreement. The DGA is one of Hollywood’s most formidable guilds in terms of unity among its members and understanding the critical intricacies of feature film budgets. Key issues in the negotiations include home video residuals, producer pension and health contributions, and expanding Guild jurisdiction in the reality TV sector.

Celebs join ad campaign

The Internet political group premiered Tuesday 10 new anti-Bush ads created by award-winning directors and featuring Hollywood stars, the AP reports. One MoveOn ad teams Silver City director John Sayles with actor Martin Sheen, while another reunites The Bourne Identity helmer Doug Liman with star Matt Damon. Rob Reiner, who directed When Harry Met Sally and The American President, uses snippets from an April news conference in which President Bush struggled to answer whether he’d made mistakes as president, to form the core of his 30-second spot. A spokeswoman for the independent group said that while MoveOn has committed to a sizable national cable buy for its first ad, the rest could remain on the Internet.

MTV unveils Real World in Philadelphia

MTV will debut the 15th season of its reality series The Real World on Sept. 7. According to the AP, the 10,000-square-foot house, in the heart of Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, was built at the turn of the century and was originally the Union National Bank of Philadelphia but still has the standard Real World amenities, including a hot tub, fitness equipment and pool table. The new season’s cast includes Landon, 24, who is sensitive about being labeled a “dumb jock” and has a fear of rejection; Karamo, 23, who struggles with his feelings about interracial dating; Melanie, 22, who has a spontaneous wild streak; MJ, 23, who had dreamed of playing pro football; Sarah, 22, who uses her sex appeal to get what she wants; Shavonda, 22, who is the life of the party; and Willie, 23, who insists that it’s his “way or the highway.”

WWE looking for prospective wrestlers

World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon is launching a reality TV series that will see eight men battling for a four-year wrestling contract and a hefty $1 million prize. The format, however, will be more like Fox’s American Idol competition then the WWE reality series Tough Enough, which will not be returning to the MTV airwaves this fall. According to the AP, the new WWE series will be integrated into UPN’s Smackdown! beginning in October and ending in December. Each week, viewers will vote for the contestant they want to see win the $1 million contract, while the man with the lowest votes will be sent packing. WWE’s Spike TV prime-time show RAW, meanwhile, will be searching for WWE women wrestlers in the RAW Diva Search with a much less substantial prize: a yearlong contract and $250,000 purse.