News Roundup: July 16


Maureen Reagan, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan and his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, is undergoing radiation treatment for melanoma that has spread to her brain, People magazine reports. Reagan was released in March from a Santa Monica hospital after 3 ½ months of chemotherapy treatment for a malignant tumor in her right pubic bone.

In Courts

Writer J. Davis Reed, who sued HBO last week for allegedly stealing his idea for the cable network’s series Six Feet Under, will drop his lawsuit, Reuters reports. Reed suffered a setback in court Thursday when a New York judge refused to grant a temporary order blocking HBO from airing future episodes of the show, which airs Sundays. Reed had claimed that HBO and the show’s creator, Alan Ball, stole the idea for Six Feet Under from a script Reed wrote and submitted to HBO called “For Heaven Sake.”

A man convicted of murder escaped from a Los Angeles jail July 6 using an ID badge featuring a photograph of Eddie Murphy, BBC News reports. Hours after being convicted of shooting a man six times in 1999, Kevin Jerome Oullum strolled out of the jail wearing the badge and civilian clothes. Oullum, who was to be sentenced July 19, is still on the run.

In General

Are Charlie Sheen‘s swinging days over? The Hollywood bad boy’s 2.5-acre Los Angeles bachelor pad is on the market for $4.5 million, The Associated Press reports. Sheen, the star of the ABC sitcom Spin City, recently bought another home in Los Angeles which he intends to remodel. No word yet on whether Sheen will throw in his little black book.

Britney Spears does not want to be considered a role model. The 19-year-old pop sensation, whose skimpy outfits and suggestive lyrics constantly land her in hot water with the parents of her teen-age fans, said she wants her new album and HBO concert special “to be shocking and edgier” than anything she’s done before, AP reports. Whether Spears’ planned duet with Cher during the show, set to air Nov. 18 from Las Vegas, falls into either category remains to be seen. Spears will release her new album Nov. 6.

Fears that the Japanese would not take too kindly to Pearl Harbor proved unfounded this weekend. Director Michael Bay‘s reenactment of the Japanese 1941 surprise attack of Pearl Harbor earned $7.09 million over a two-day period, marking Buena Vista’s biggest ever opening in Japan. The film not only earned more than Armageddon, which marked the first collaboration between Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and star Ben Affleck, but knocked A.I. Artificial Intelligence from the No. 1 box office spot.

Enterprise, the new Star Trek series, will launch Wednesday, Sept. 26, with a two-hour premiere, UPN has announced. The series will air at 8 p.m. Wednesdays during the rest of the season. The fifth Star Trek series, and a prequel to the original 1960s show, stars Scott Bakula.

Critics may have dismissed NBC’s summer hits Fear Factor and Spy TV as TV at its worst, but the network will continue to air the reality shows as long as audiences tune in. NBC has ordered 13 more episodes of each series, Variety reports.

Crime does pay for HBO, thanks to The Sopranos. Now the cable network plans to go straight. HBO is developing a new police drama from Homicide‘s David Simon and ER‘s David Mill, who last collaborated on HBO’s miniseries, The Corner, Variety reports. HBO also said it is in discussions with The SopranosDavid Chase about the future of the hit mob series beyond its fourth season. HBO will rerun every episode from the first three seasons on Sunday nights for 39 weeks beginning Aug. 12. The fourth season of The Sopranos will likely debut next summer.