News Roundup: Nov. 6

Top Story

ABC has canceled Jason Alexander‘s new sitcom, Bob Patterson, for its inability to spark Nielsen ratings before completing its initial 13-episode run, according to the Hollywood Reporter. After a rough start in the competitive Tuesday 9 p.m. slot against NBC’s Frasier, Patterson, in which Alexander plays a motivational speaker with a messed-up personal life, was moved to the 9:30 p.m. slot in hopes to increase ratings, but it still flopped. Patterson is the second comedy series built around a former Seinfeld sidekick to be canceled. NBC dropped The Michael Richards Show in early December. Next at the bat is Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose comedy series 23:12 is set to launch on NBC in March.

In Courts

Bruce Springsteen won a legal battle in a London court on Tuesday against the British company Masquerade Music, which was appealing an earlier ruling that blocked the unauthorized use of his music, Reuters reports. It was argued that Springsteen‘s copyright was breached after the company expressed interest in releasing the album Before the Fame, which contained over two dozen songs composed by Springsteen between 1970 and 1972. Springsteen said he was defending the ownership of his music.

In General

Leonardo DiCaprio has signed on to star as a twin in the upcoming drama Johnny Eck, Reuters reports. The film relates the story of twins Robert and Johnny Eckardt, who are identical in every way except that Johnny was born without the lower half of his body and learned to walk on his hands. When Johnny becomes a world famous sideshow performer called “the Half Boy,” Robert becomes his manager. Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) will write the screenplay for the film that is being produced by Pelagius Entertainment’s Joe Fries and Mark Gordon.

Tom Cruise will narrate the new Imax film Space Station, taking viewers on a cinematic journey shot by 25 astronauts and cosmonauts from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station. “Tom Cruise brings a special dimension to this exciting project, which takes the Imax 3D experience to even more spectacular heights,” Greg Foster, president of filmed entertainment for Imax, told Reuters. The film is scheduled to debut early next spring.

Paul McCartney released his second charity single, “Freedom,” on Monday after a huge public demand, his publicist told Reuters. Money raised by the new single will go to the Robin Hood Foundation, which helps the families of the victims of Sept. 11 and New York firemen and police. His previous charity single, “From a Lover to a Friend,” entered the UK chart at number 45 on Sunday.

Kathleen Turner will play the seductive older woman Mrs. Robinson in the stage version of the 1967 film The Graduate. Jason Biggs of American Pie will portray Benjamin Braddock, the young man she seduces, and Alicia Silverstone will co-star as her daughter, Elaine. According to The Associated Press, the stage production will begin a pre-Broadway tour in January with shows in Baltimore, Toronto, Ontario and Boston. It will then begin preview performances in New York on March 15 with an April 4 opening at a theater yet to be announced.

Web research firm Webnoize confirmed that online music service use has risen since the shut own of Napster earlier this year. According to the report, users swapped a whopping 1.81 billion media files on alternative online services like Kaaza, MusicCity and Grosker in the month of October, Reuters reports. All three applications use software licensed from FastTrack, an Amsterdam-based peer-to-peer technology, and share the same network.

HBO has decided to pick up their Emmy-winning show Sex and the City for a fifth season, Reuters reports. The six remaining episodes from season four are set to bow Jan. 6 though Feb. 10. The cable network plans to premiere season five in June.

Public Broadcasting Corp. announced Monday that it will reduce its 565-person workforce by 10% and close its Midwest programming office due to tough economic times, Reuters reports. PBS president-CEO Pat Mitchell said the network regretted having to cut jobs, but that the move was necessary to preserve programming integrity.

Retiring SAG president Bill Daniels urged its members on Sunday to try to work with the newly elected president, Melissa Gilbert, rather than battling her, or she would face the same massive divisiveness that dogged him during his two-year term, Reuters reports. The controversy stems from the 25,000 New York ballots lacking a signature line and the discrepancies of making New York voters’ deadline two days later then the rest of the country. Gilbert was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild on Nov. 2, beating veteran television star Valerie Harper in a bitter contest.

A Happy Place, the 11-month-old production company founded by ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass, producers Rich Hull and Wendy Thorlakson, music manager Johnny Wright and attorney Joe Anderson, has acquired the romantic comedy Mamma’s Boy as their next project. Bass is also taking the starring role for the second time on the big screen. Written by first-time scribe Mark Hatmaker, the film follows the story and misadventures of a young professional who still lives at home with his mother while she attempts to find him a wife.