News Roundup, Feb.11: Networks Turn Down Sanitized “Sex”

Top Story

Sanitized Sex? No thanks, say the networks. HBO recently pitched edited repeats of its Emmy Award-winning comedy Sex and the City to all four major networks, but ABC, NBC and Fox have all passed on picking up the series, Variety reports. While CBS hasn’t ruled it out, it isn’t expected to bite either. Insiders said the networks balked at the whopping $3 million an episode price tag, given that the first few seasons of Sex are available on DVD and the show is rerun repeatedly on HBO. Network executives also expressed concerns that scheduling Sex might be perceived as a vote of no confidence in their own comedy development. HBO will run 12 additional original episodes of the series this summer, then eight more starting in January 2004. After that, the series is set to end.


Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst, who posted a message on his band’s Web site about his warm and fuzzy feelings for Britney Spears saying, “Anybody out there who has a serious problem with my feelings for Britney should just chill,” is changing his tune, reports. In an interview on TV’s Access Hollywood, which aired Monday, Durst said Spears‘s life is too much for him to get involved with. “She has a life like Michael Jackson. It’s, like, out of control … The people around her, pulling at her, people around her that are full of (expletive), just agreeing with her, like, it’s kind of crazy, she almost can’t see what’s real and what’s not.”

Benjamin Curtis, better known as Steven in the Dell computers’ “Dude, yer gettin’ a Dell” commercials, was arrested in New York on Sunday for marijuana possession, Reuters reports. Police said they spotted Curtis late in the evening on a street corner in Manhattan’s Lower East Side holding a plastic bag filled with marijuana. The complaint did not say how much marijuana was in the bag. At his arraignment Monday, a Manhattan criminal court judge adjourned the case for one year and said the charges could be dismissed if Curtis, who lives in New York City, stays out of trouble for the next 12 months.


Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and producer Laura Bickford, who worked together on Traffic, are reteaming for the racetrack heist thriller Monkeyface, Variety reports. The film, directed by Stephen Frears, revolves around a couple of criminals knocking off a racetrack. Douglas and Zeta-Jones play conniving hustlers who are at first adversarial. Monkeyface will shoot in Miami in late September.

Tim Allen is in negotiations with Paramount to develop and star in the studio’s remake of Father Knows Best, based on the classic 1950s television series that starred Robert Young. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the draft, which is likely to undergo some rewrites in the coming months, centers on a child who lies about his dad’s credentials when he enters him in a father-of-the-year contest. Dad first vows to tell the truth but keeps up the ruse when the woman giving the prize turns out to be a beauty.


Producers of ABC’s game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? plan to resurrect the once-hit series for the WB network with a slightly meatier jackpot. According to Reuters, Michael Davies–who imported Millionaire from British TV–is close to a deal to create a similar show for the WB network in which contestants have a chance to win $1 billion. There was no official comment from the WB, a part of AOL Time Warner Inc. But the source confirmed a report in Variety that Davies’ Diplomatic Productions was developing the new show as a two-hour live special to air in September.


Matthew Perry will make his professional stage debut next month in a London revival of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago, a chronicle of life on the carnal warpath in 1970s Chicago. Perry joins Hank Azaria and Minnie Driver in director Lindsay Posner’s production, which starts previews May 3 at the Comedy Theater and opens its 13-week stand May 12, Variety reports.


The video for American Dream, the single from Madonna‘s new album due April 22, depicts the “catastrophic repercussions and horror of war,” her publicist Liz Rosenberg said Monday. “It is an antiwar video, but the purpose of the video, as with a lot of Madonna‘s work, is to be thought provoking,” she told Reuters. The video is “a panoramic view of our culture and looming war through the view of a female superhero portrayed by Madonna,” Rosenberg said “(Then) it just starts to go haywire and goes into other things … it kind of takes it into a more violent direction.”

Lollapalooza is back! After a six-year hiatus, the traveling music festival will once again hit the road this summer with some of the top names in rock, organizers said on Monday. Jane’s Addiction, the alternative rock quartet who conceived the event in 1991 as a way to mark its brief swan song, will headline with emerging acts Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age and Jurassic 5 joining them, Reuters reports.