News, July 8: ABC Newsman Finds Slain Family on His Ranch, “Fahrenheit” Close To Getting DVD Distributor, “Spider-Man,” the Musical?, More…

Slain bodies found on Donaldson’s ranch

ABC newsman Sam Donaldson discovered what authorities called an “obvious crime scene” when he went to check on a family of caretakers on his New Mexico ranch Tuesday, AP reports. Cody Posey, the 14-year-old son of caretaker Delbert Paul Posey, was arrested Wednesday on charges of killing his father, stepmother and stepsister, authorities said, after the bodies were found buried in a shallow grave on Donaldson‘s ranch. Donaldson and his wife, Jan, were in Santa Fe in northern New Mexico during the Fourth of July weekend when the slayings apparently occurred. “We didn’t see them Tuesday morning or Tuesday afternoon, so I went over–and on the porch was a large stain that was instantly recognizable,” Donaldson told Albuquerque television station KOB-TV. Donaldson said he had hired Posey and his family in October 2001 to work the ranch. “Jan and I are so very, very sorry about the loss of these fine people.”

Fahrenheit closes in on DVD distributor

Sony Corp.’s home entertainment division is close to acquiring DVD and home video rights to Michael Moore‘s controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Variety reports. Although neither Sony nor the Fellowship Adventure Group, the entity formed by Miramax Films co-chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein to distribute the film theatrically, would comment on the home video deal, Variety reports Sony would release the DVD and VHS versions of Fahrenheit this fall through its Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment unit. The film, which grossed a record $60 million through its first two weekends in the United States and Canada, the most ever for a political documentary, also opened in France on Wednesday, where it wracked up huge ticket sales, as well as in Switzerland, Belgium and the Middle East; it will open in Britain on Thursday.

Spider-Man, set to song?

Producer Tony Adams and Marvel Comics are looking to take the comic-book-turned-hit-movie franchise and stage it as a musical, Variety reports. They are in talks with an eclectic group of musicians to make Spidey sing, including U2’s Bono and the Edge and director/writer Neil Jordan (The Crying Game). The Lion King‘s Julie Taymor is on board to direct.

Jackson’s defense wants indictment tossed out

Michael Jackson‘s lawyers are asking a judge to throw out his grand jury indictment on child molestation charges, claiming the prosecutors bullied and coerced witnesses, running the proceedings “as if they employed the grand jurors,” The Associated Press reports. The court released the motion, filed Tuesday by attorney Robert Sanger, on Wednesday after being heavily edited by Santa Barbara County Judge Rodney Melville to remove names of witnesses and references to the specifics of the indictment, AP reports. The motion cites that the prosecutors ran the secret grand jury hearings “by innuendo and sarcasm, impugning Mr. Jackson by ridiculing those allegedly associated with him and even those who sought to legally represent him.” The dismissal issue will be argued at a future hearing in Santa Maria, Calif.

UPN to debut Amish in the City

UPN and New Line Television have wrapped production on the controversial reality TV show Amish in the City and plan to debut the show at the end of this month in what Variety calls “a stealth move designed to head off potential critics.” The show puts five Amish youth, who are allowed to leave their rural communities in a coming-of-age rite known as “rumspringa,” and six streetwise roommates into a Hollywood Hills home and captures the culture clash on film. When UPN first announced plans for the series in January, it came under fire from TV critics and politicians, who urged the network to drop the project. UPN will air back-to-back episodes of Amish in the City from 8-10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28. The series will then air Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Brit watchdog group brands OutKast poster “irresponsible”

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint Wednesday branding a poster for hip-hop duo Outkast’s double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below as “irresponsible.” According to Reuters, the group said the ad, which shows OutKast’s Andre 3000 brandishing a pink, smoking gun, could be seen to glorify gun use, but rejected another claim that the poster promoted racial stereotypes. Record label BMG argued that because the gun is pink, it would be interpreted as an ironic image, but the ASA found that the color of the gun was irrelevant, and added that the fact it was smoking implied that it had been recently fired. “It’s a play, it’s a spoof. They’re a very dramatic, flamboyant group (and) they’re famous the world over for being the least gangster-posturing hip-hop group ever,” BMG’s press director, Paul Bursche, said.

Rapper Jadakiss faces drugs, weapons charge

Rapper Jadakiss, whose real name is Jason T. Phillips, faces misdemeanor weapons and drug charges after police in Fayetteville, N.C., discovered two concealed, loaded handguns and marijuana in his recreational vehicle, the AP reports. According to police reports, an off-duty officer stopped the RV Monday after he spotted someone throwing firecrackers from the window. Sgt. Alex Thompson told the AP the officer spotted the marijuana, which weighed less than an ounce, during a search and then asked for permission to search the vehicle. During the search, two loaded .45-caliber pistols were found under a pillow. Phillips was the only one of the eight people in the vehicle to be charged.

Ashley Judd moved by visit to Cambodia

De-Lovely star Ashley Judd was moved to tears when visiting an AIDS hospice and a museum of the “Killing Fields” genocide of the Khmer Rouge during a visit to Cambodia’s capitol, Phnom Penh. “I’m very pleased that they received me and allowed me to visit with them. I’m very grateful to the people that provide their health care with such dignity,” AP reports a tearful Judd said about the hospice, which was set up to give some of Cambodia’s estimated 170,000 AIDS victims a place to die with dignity. Judd then stopped by the genocide museum at the Tuol Sleng interrogation center, where thousands of Cambodians were tortured by Pol Pot’s regime before being executed in what were known as the “Killing Fields.”

Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.