News, Nov. 4: Pop Star Couple Nick and Jessica Happily Married, They Say; Hollywood Studios Crack Down on Bootleggers; Jeopardy Champ Won Top Prize; More…

Simpson and Lachey report happy marriage; Jessica defends sister Ashlee’s recent lip-sync performance

In a recent interview with People magazine, pop star couple Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey claimed they are happily married, despite new tabloid reports that he has threatened to walk out. “Our relationship is better than it’s ever been. We are absolutely not breaking up,” Simpson said. The couple admits they have arguments like every other couple, but say communication is the key to success. “What married couple doesn’t [fight]?” said the 24-year-old singer. “You don’t want to marry somebody who’s just like you. So there are always going to be conflicts. That’s what compromise is all about. It means that we’re communicating.” The couple, who celebrated their second wedding anniversary on Oct. 26, is keeping busy taping the upcoming season for their hit MTV reality show, Newlyweds, as well as an ABC variety show expecting to air in December. Jessica is also starring as Daisy Duke in the upcoming Dukes of Hazzard movie expected to hit theatres in July of 2005. When asked about younger sister Ashlee Simpson’s latest lip-synch fiasco on Saturday Night Live, Jessica said, “Ashlee is an amazingly talented person. She’s already sold 3 million records, which is more than I sold in two years. She’s proven herself.”

P. Diddy plans his 35th birthday bash

Rapper turned actor Sean “P. Diddy” Combs is planning to end his busy year with an outrageous 35th birthday bash tonight, the AP reports. The “Royal Birthday Ball” will be held at downtown Los Angeles’ Cipriani’s restaurant. This ultra-exclusive, A-list-only celebrity guest list includes Mariah Carey, Vivica A. Fox, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Rock and Stevie Wonder. P. Diddy admits that he will not officially be able to rest until tonight when the party’s over. “In this one year, I’ve run a marathon, I did Broadway, signed on to do Carlito’s Way: The Beginning, won the “men’s designer of the year” award, opened up a store on Fifth Avenue, got the youth vote out–and now it’s my birthday,” Combs said. “It’s been a great year but it’s been hard work. I’m gonna lay down for a week, watch TV, eat a turkey sandwich … (and) watch old reruns of Good Times.”

Shatner’s The Transformed Man album to be re-released

Actor William Shatner is working with Geffen records to re-release his 1968 album The Transformed Man, Reuters reports. Best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, Shatner’s album featured the former Captain reading poetry over the music of contemporary classics like Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Although the original album never reached the Billboard top 200 list, Geffen records is hoping that re-mastering the album will encourage more people to buy it when it is released on Dec. 7.

Hollywood studios cracking down on bootleggers

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA) is planning to sue individuals who are caught distributing copyrighted works without permission on the Internet. MPAA president and CEO Dan Glickman is already concerned about the $3.5 billion in loses from piracy alone, not including the Internet. The MPAA is not alone in their fight to stop illegal activity in the entertainment industry. The Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA), which represents the major U.S. labels, has already sued over 3,000 people for making music available on the Internet. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft recently vowed that he would use the Justice Department and the FBI to prosecute those offenders who are illegally sharing files in the United States and abroad. The MPAA has not stated when and how they will begin their crackdown.

Jeopardy! champ wins the most game show money ever

During his 66th consecutive appearance on Jeopardy!, quiz-show champ Ken Jennings won $2,197,000, breaking all records to become the new top TV game show winner. According to the Associated Press, the 30-year-old software engineer from Utah began his 75-game streak in June, which lasted until September. Former top game show winner Kevin Olmstead won $2,180,000 dollars on ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire? back in 2001. With nine more shows still to air, ABC admits the Jeopardy! champ finally loses on the 75th show.

Elton John to appear in upcoming TV comedy

At age 57, musician Elton John is planning to make his television debut in an upcoming show about aging rock musicians, reports Daily Variety magazine. John explains that the show will not be based on himself, but on the lives of fellow aging pop icons like Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie. “It’s not about me, but about everybody we’ve encountered over the past 30 years,” said John. “We’ve met every star and seen every misbehavior. And it’s about the people around the star, who have to put up with them.” John and his business manager, Bob Halley, came up with the concept of the comedy show about three years ago. John has already written a song for the project titled, “Him and Us,” which will appear on his 43rd album “Peachtree Road,” due in stores on Tuesday.

CBS narrows search for The Late Late Show replacement

The producers of the CBS late night talk show, The Late Late Show have narrowed the talk show host search down to four contenders, Reuters reports. Former ABC sitcom stars D.L. Hughley and Craig Ferguson, comic Michael Ian Black and MTV’s Total Request Live host Damien Fahey have all been welcomed back for more guest appearances on the talk show. Former The Late Late Show host, Craig Kilborn left the show in September and CBS and the Worldwide Pants Inc., have been searching for a replacement since his departure. CBS and the show’s producers promise that the permanent host “will be announced shortly.”

Saturday Night Live to join reality TV buzz

Landing a spot as a Saturday Night Live comic will soon be the coveted prize of an upcoming reality show, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Contestants will go head-to-head in competitions that are meant to test their inner comedian. The idea of an SNL reality show was fronted by Saturday Night Live‘s creator/executive producer, Lorne Michaels, after NBC’s track record of turning up successful comics in The Last Comic Standing turned into a success.