Five men arrested in the alleged plot to kidnap former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, the wife of English soccer captain David Beckham, were charged in London Monday with theft and conspiracy to rob Sotheby’s auction house, The Associated Press reports. Nine people were arrested over the weekend after the UK tabloid The News of the World informed police that its reporters had discovered the kidnapping bid. According to the tabloid, its reporters had infiltrated a gang of Romanian and Albanian kidnappers who planned to knock out the singer and possibly her two children with a chemical spray and demand a ransom of about $7.7 million. This is not the first time Beckham has been at the center of a kidnapping plot. Police uncovered a plan to snatch the singer and her son Brooklyn two years ago, but no arrests were made. The Beckhams have since beefed up security at their home.
Investigators plan to question a man Monday in connection to the shooting death of Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell. According to the AP, investigators say the man had been feuding with Mizell for as long as a decade and had threatened one of his associates several weeks ago.
Michael Clarke Duncan, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Rosario Dawson were honored Sunday at the 10th annual Diversity Awards in Los Angeles, the AP reports. Duncan was presented with the Integrity Award while Johnson received the 2002 Nova Award at the voter’s choice for the best rising star of the year. Dawson received the Female Nova Award. The awards are intended to raise awareness of different cultures and ideas in the entertainment industry.
Rosie O’Donnell said she would publicly defend Martha Stewart if she still had her talk show. O’Donnell told the AP, “I’d be singing Martha Stewart a love song every day. I want every housewife in America to band together and refuse to let them tear down one of the most successful entrepreneurs in our country’s history.” O’Donnell is a former spokesperson for K-Mart, which features Martha Stewart’s Everyday line.
Millionaire playboy producer Steve Bing is making his directorial debut with the fittingly titled comedy Why Men Shouldn’t Marry. According to Variety the film will star Sean Penn as a man who becomes anti-marriage after a painful divorce, and Woody Allen as a multiple divorcé who believes a marriage can be successful. Shooting is set to begin in Los Angeles next August.
NBC is about to gain an important entertainment outlet on cable. The network announced Monday it is buying Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Bravo cable television network. According to Reuters, the deal is valued at $1.25 billion. Under the term, NBC, which is owned by General Electric Co., would trade its 16 percent stake in Cablevision and an unspecified amount of GE shares for Cablevision’s 80 percent stake in Bravo. NBC will also pay $250 million in cash to MGM for its 20 percent stake in Bravo.
Fox has ordered a pilot for a sitcom based on Universal Picture’s About A Boy, which grossed nearly $100 million worldwide. The film, adapted from Nick Hornsby’s bestseller, stars Hugh Grant as an immature British bachelor who changes his ways when he meets a twelve-year-old boy and his depressed mother. The series is targeted for fall 2003.
Kelsey Grammer‘s production company, Paramount-based Grammnet Productions, is developing a Three’s Company style sitcom for Fox, Variety reports. Ex-Factor is about a twentysomething man who moves in with two of his ex-girlfriends. Grammnet also produces the UPN comedy Girlfriends.