News, March 12: Shooting at Phil Spector’s House Not a Suicide, Fox Fires “Bernie Mac” Creator, John Travolta in “Harvey” Remake

Top Story: Death at Spector House Not a Suicide

Suicide has been ruled out as the cause of death of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson, who was found shot at the home of music producer Phil Spector, the Associated Press reports. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department told AP Tuesday they believe the shooting is a crime and have denied reports Spector’s name will be cleared soon. “No one involved in this investigation said that,” Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Merriman said. “My opinion is that somebody is orchestrating this to plant seeds of doubt with potential jurors.” No charges have been filed against the eccentric music mogul, who was released on $1 million bail. The investigation could continue until summer because the evidence is complex and forensic tests take months to complete, Merriman told AP.

Bernie Mac‘s Wilmore Is Let Go

Fox has fired Bernie Mac creator and executive producer Larry Wilmore over what appears to be creative differences, Variety reports. Numerous industry sources told the trade magazine that series star Bernie Mac was asked about the decision to move on without Wilmore and did not put up any opposition, which was likely the key to Fox’s final decision. Wilmore, who has won both an Emmy and a Peabody for his work on the show, is now in final negotiations to sign an overall deal with NBC.

Ross Caught Driving Unregistered Car

Police gave diva Diana Ross, 58, a $78 ticket Sunday in Greenwich, Conn., because the black Ford Taurus she was driving had an expired registration tag, AP reports. This latest vehicle incident comes after her Dec. 30 arrest for drunken driving in Tucson, Ariz.

Posh Spice Pays for Slander

Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham has agreed to pay $88,000 to settle a slander suit filed against her by a sports memorabilia shop, AP reports. She accused the shop’s owners of selling a fake autographed picture of her husband, British soccer star David Beckham, when she visited the store in March 2001, which subsequently hurt business. It has since been confirmed the signed photo is authentic.

We’ll Be “Watching Ellie” Again

NBC confirmed the Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcom Watching Ellie will be returning to primetime April 15 for a six-week run, Variety reports. The network will decide after that whether they will bring the show back for a third season next fall.

Fox Wins Young-Adult Ratings Race

For the sixth week in a row, Fox has emerged as the primetime ratings champ for young adult viewers, Variety reports. With their hit second season of American Idol leading the way, Fox took in a 4.5 rating/12 share among the 18 to 49 set, according to the Nielsen Media Research numbers.

ROLE CALL: Travolta and Carrey Mess With Classics, Eastwood Heads Into Space, and Gere Puts on Dancing Shoes Again

Variety reports that John Travolta is negotiating to star in a remake of the 1950 James Stewart film Harvey, playing the lovable drunk Elwood P. Dowd, who pals around with a 6-foot invisible rabbit; meanwhile, Jim Carrey will be doing his best Danny Kaye impersonation and starring in a remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty directed by Steven Spielberg. From those blasts from the past we segue to blasting off with Clint Eastwood, who heads back into orbit after his successful Space Cowboys. Variety reports that Eastwood acquired the rights to turn the story of real-life astronaut Neil Armstrong into a feature film; he will direct and produce but will not star. Back on Earth, Richard Gere has his feet firmly on the ground–except when he’s dancing, something he seems to want to do more of. According to the The Hollywood Reporter, the Chicago star will tackle ballroom dancing in Miramax’s Shall We Dance?, a remake of a 1996 Japanese film about a man who takes ballroom dancing lessons to impress a beautiful young dance teacher.