News Roundup: Aug. 21

Canadian resident Michael Willis is being accused of criminal harassment and mischief after he allegedly called Dawson’s Creek co-star Katie Holmes‘ father to discuss his engagement to the actress.

The 36-year-old man is currently spending time at Royal Ottawa Hospital while his lawyer and prosecutors work out some technical matters in the case. He might face charges for making harassing calls to Holmes‘ family, the Canadian paper Toronto Sun reported Tuesday.

However, Willis’ lawyers claim he should not be held criminally responsible because of his mental health.

Holmes‘s publicist could not be reached for comment.

Holmes began production for the fifth season of Dawson’s Creek last month in North Carolina.

In Courts

One of the men responsible for the success of NBC sitcom Friends isn’t feeling so amicable toward the show’s production company.

Renowned TV director James Burrows–who directed the pilot episode of Friends in 1994–is suing Warner Bros. for $5 million, claiming that he was promised 5 percent of the sitcom’s overall profits but failed to receive the sum. In his lawsuit, Burrows also claims that he was promised distribution fees for his work on Friends, but was never compensated as such, according to

Warner Bros. spokespeople declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed last week in a Santa Monica Superior Court.

Since directing the Friends pilot, Burrows, 60, has gone on to helm episodes of such shows as Cursed, Will & Grace, Dharma & Greg and 3rd Rock from the Sun.


Country singer Shania Twain, married to producer and songwriter John (Mutt) Lange, gave birth to baby boy Eja on Aug. 12, her publicist confirmed, although did not give further details.

Dave Matthews and wife Ashley are the proud parents of twin girls. Grace and Stella were born last week, reports ABC News.


Bob Hewson, father of U2 singer Bono, died on Tuesday in Dublin following a long battle with cancer, according to Reuters. Hewson, a retired postal worker, was in his 70s.


The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards, which honor the best in rap music and videos, were handed out on Monday night in Miami. Notable recipients included the duo OutKast (best group artist and best live performers), Eminem (best video for “Stan”), Jay-Z (best solo artist), Nelly (best new artist and best album for “Country Grammar”) and Ja Rule (best single for “Put It On Me”). The show will air on UPN on Aug. 28, reports The Associated Press.

According to ABC News, the fourth annual online music awards–which will be presented by Yahoo! Internet Life Magazine in New York in Sept.–will feature live appearances by Aerosmith and Pete Townshend, the latter receiving the pioneer award for his contributions to online music.

In General

The Italian, Latin American and U.K. rights to director Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now Redux have been picked up by Miramax Films, according to Variety. The film, which features extra footage of the Vietnam-war flick, has grossed $1.3 million here in the States.

In a move to boost American movie-industry employment, the Screen Actors Guild (S.A.G.) is taking steps to discourage the practice of “runaway” productions, which are productions intentionally filmed in foreign countries that offer lower wage standards. The S.A.G. has approved a plan which will place a tariff on runaway productions, forcing studios to pay a fee to have their foreign-made films distributed in the U.S., according to Variety.

The WB’s latest attempt at cashing in on the reality-TV phenomenon has failed, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new fall series Lost in the U.S.A., which was slated to air on Sundays at 7 p.m. EST this fall, has already been given the ax by the network. Instead, reruns of Ripley’s Believe It or Not will air in Lost‘s place.

Grammy-winning group Boyz II Men, now officially at the end of its deal with Universal Music, is jumping ship and changing record labels. The group will begin recording their latest album in Sept. under the Arista label, according to Variety. Arista president, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, is a longtime friend of the group, and co-wrote Boyz II Men’s smash hit “The End of the Road.”

Fans of Frank Sinatra can now own the singer/actor’s Beverly Hills mansion–if they can shell out $12.5 million. According to Reuters, the 14-room mansion, which was placed on the market on Monday, was home to Sinatra for 15 years, until his death in 1998, and was the site of Sinatra’s massive 80th birthday bash which featured performances by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others. The home features a gymnasium, swimming pool, two artificial waterfalls, maids’ quarters, a kennel and a three-car garage.