News, July 21: Woody Allen Opens Venice Fest, LeBlanc May Get Spin-Off, “Raymond”… Without Ray? More…

Top Story: Raymond May Go On Without Romano

Even though there could be no more Ray in Everyone Loves Raymond, Variety reports CBS is still mulling over the idea of continuing the Emmy-winning show for a ninth season. Ray Romano and series creator Phil Rosenthal have made it clear that, as of now, the upcoming eighth season would be their last, citing a desire to go out when the sitcom is still on top of its game. CBS topper Leslie Moonves told Variety, however, “We’re talking about all sorts of permutations,” including a spin-off starring Brad Garrett’s long-suffering character Robert. “It may very well be the last year for Raymond, but we hope not,” Moonves said. “We’re working on Ray’s wife and kids.”

Allen’s Next Film Opens Venice Film Festival

Woody Allen‘s new film Anything Else will kick off the 60th Venice International Film Festival, with most of its stars–including Allen, Christina Ricci, Jason Biggs and Danny DeVito–expected to make an appearance, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In typical Allen fashion, the film has been kept tightly under wraps, but the trade paper reports the story revolves around a struggling New York artist (Allen) who gets sentimentally entangled with a younger girl (Ricci). Biggs plays Ricci‘s boyfriend and DeVito plays her father. “I’m looking forward to going to the festival,” Allen told The Reporter. “Venice has been so generous and supportive to me, and I love it so much that it will be a great honor.” The Venice fest runs Aug. 27-Sept. 7.

Joey May Spin Off

NBC and Warner Bros. TV are in talks with Friends star Matt LeBlanc to develop a spin-off sitcom revolving around Leblanc‘s alter ego, soap opera actor Joey Tribbiani. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that no deals have been made but negotiations are being stepped up, especially since LeBlanc just received his second consecutive Emmy nomination for his performance on the hit show.

CBS Won’t Scrap Hillbillies

Despite a major backlash from politicians and organizations, CBS is still considering to go ahead with the new reality show based on The Beverly Hillbillies, Reuters reports. The show, which would transplant a Southern rural family to one of America’s poshest cities–à la the hit 1960s sitcom–has been called a demeaning “hick hunt” by groups such as the United Steel Workers union. Reuters reports CBS executives in the past have promised the show would not be demeaning if it were to run.

Nolte Was Not in Violation of Probation

A judge ruled Friday that actor Nick Nolte did not violate his probation, even though an anonymous caller in January had told prosecutors they saw the actor leaving a liquor store while intoxicated, The Associated Press reports. An investigation into the alleged violation found Nolte only bought the liquor at the store and was driven away. “There was no confirmation that he was under the influence,” AP reports Deputy District Attorney Lorraine Petersen told the judge. The probation stems from his arrest last December on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of drugs in Malibu, Calif.

Coldplay Singer and Paparazzi Butt Heads

Chris Martin, leader singer of the band Coldplay and Gwyneth Paltrow‘s boyfriend, had a run-in with the paparazzi in Sydney, Australia Sunday, AP reports. According to Sydney paper The Daily Telegraph, freelance photographer Jon Lister followed the singer to the beach, where, upon emerging from the water, the furious Martin demanded Lister erase the photos from his digital camera, Lister told the paper. The popular British band played at a music festival in the northern New South Wales beach town of Byron Bay over the weekend.

Role Call: Bacon’s Pet Project, Kennedy Holds Afterparty

Kevin Bacon and Tribeca Films are attached to a pet project for New Line Cinema. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story revolves around a man seeking a better life who sees his wish to switch identities with his dog come true… Talk about originality. Jamie Kennedy is set to star in The Afterparty for Warner Bros, which, according to the Reporter, centers on the misadventures of a guy who gets really drunk at his bachelor party in Las Vegas and promptly forgets everything that happens. He soon gets a rude awakening as the strange characters he befriended during his drunken blackout turn up the week before his wedding. What, A Guy Thing II?