News Roundup, Jan. 24: Britney Spears Seeks Restraining Order Against Stalker

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Even though the man who has allegedly been stalking her since September is out of the country, pop princess Britney Spears but is asking for a restraining order to keep him at least 1,000 yards away, City News Service reports. Masahiko Shizawa of Yokohama, Japan, was forced to return to his homeland after his visa expired but has been stopped twice while attempting to return to the United States. According to court papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Shizawa has made “numerous attempts to contact” Spears at her Los Angeles home and has sent her photos of himself with a note reading, “I’m chasing you.” The 21-year-old pop star also complains that Shizawa sent her “love notes” and followed her to the homes of her parents and to a home that the singer owns outside California. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge is expected to rule today on Spears‘ request for a “stay-away” order.


Lee Majors, who played astronaut and test pilot Steve Austin in the 1970s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, is suing Universal Television Group, claiming he was short-changed on profits from the show. According to the suit, Universal agreed to pay Majors 15 percent of net profits earned from the series and its post-network syndication, money the actor claims he has never received. The suit seeks a full audit of Universal’s books and financial records relating to the show dating back to its inception and payment of unspecified sums found to be owed him, Reuters reports.

Talk show host Jerry Springer is considering running for the U.S. Senate next year, The Associated Press reports. Springer, a Democrat, said he’ll decide by summer whether to challenge Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, a Republican who has said he’ll run for a second term in 2004. Springer does admit his nationally syndicated Jerry Springer Show could work against him. “The plus is that I’m known by everybody. The minus is that I’m known by everybody,” he said.

Las Vegas police have dropped a rape charge against Rene Angelil, the manager-husband of singer Celine Dion, due to lack of evidence, the Canadian Press Association reports. Yun Kyeong Sung Kwon, 47, claimed that Angelil raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in March 2000–a charge that Angelil has consistently denied. Kwon has now been charged with trying to extort $13.5 million from Angelil, 61, and Dion, 34.

Zach Galligan, who starred as Billy Peltzer in the 1984 fantasy pic Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor theft after stealing a CD from a Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. A security guard told detectives he saw Galligan conceal a $12.99 Deep Purple CD in his trousers before walking out. Galligan, who was taken to the West Hollywood sheriff’s station and released early yesterday, reportedly had enough cash on him to have paid for the CD, City News Services reports.


Director David Fincher has committed to shoot The Lords of Dogtown for Sony Pictures, a film about the surf and skate culture that took root in Venice in the 1970s. According to Variety, the film was originally set up at New Line, where it was to be the directorial debut of Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. Fincher had been on board only as a producer. Last year, Stacy Peralta‘s Dogtown and Z-Boys, a documentary about the Dogtown teenagers who began skateboarding in empty swimming pools around Los Angeles, became an underground hit for Sony Pictures Classics.


Wednesday’s second episode of Fox’s musical reality show American Idol held onto about 95 percent of its premiere-night audience, Variety reports. According to Nielsen, Wednesday’s 90-minute episode of American Idol averaged 24.91 million viewers overall–Fox’s best-ever showing (excluding sports) in the Wednesday 8:30-10 p.m. time slot. ABC’s The Bachelorette, meanwhile, fell to a season low with 13.39 million overall viewers.

Ratings for MTV’s The Osbournes have been dropping off in its second season, from a high of 6.6 million viewers for its Nov. 26 premiere to 3.5 million on Jan. 14, the AP reports. The first season started slow and built into a phenomenon while the second season started fast and faded. But Brian Graden, chief programming executive at MTV, said he’s not worried about the numbers. The show’s tone is different this second season, depicting the family coping with sudden fame as well as Sharon’s bout with cancer.


Actor Kevin Spacey and singer Elton John will perform a duet together at a Feb. 5 London fundraiser, the AP reports. John is chairman of the Old Vic Theater Trust, which bought the 185-year-old theater in 1998 when it was in danger of closing. Spacey, who starred in Eugene O’Neill‘s The Iceman Cometh at the Old Vic in 1998, is a board member of the trust. The benefit will also feature Sinead O’Connor, Diana Krall and her new partner, Elvis Costello, who will all perform hits by John.