News Roundup: Oct. 30

Top Story

The Seinfeld segment titled “The Invitation,” has been pulled from syndication over sensitivity about the recent anthrax scare, a spokeswoman for show syndicators told Reuters on Monday. In the episode, George Constanza (Jason Alexander)’s fiancée dies after licking the envelopes from their wedding invitations.

Television talk shows are having a difficult time filling in their guest couches as some stars continue to avoid flying across the country for interviews, The Associated Press reports. Drew Barrymore and Heather Graham both backed out of appearances on The Late Night with David Letterman, Ben Stiller canceled his Oct. 6 hosting gig on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and Emeril Lagasse and Steve Harvey canceled their appearances on the Late Night with Conan O’Brien show. Rosie O’Donnell also has had to cancel a full week of shows due to an anthrax scare.


John Leguizamo has pushed back the Broadway opening for his one-man show, Sexaholix…a Love Story, from Dec. 2 to Dec. 9 due to a leg injury. The comedian hurt his leg during a pre-show rehearsal last Thursday and was taken to New York’s Roosevelt Hospital to be treated for a torn muscle, Reuters reports.

In Courts

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has approved a $650,000 payment to settle claims that its chief executive, Michael Greene, assaulted and physically abused a female employee, The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday. The employee, Jill Geimer, reportedly threatened to sue over his alleged misconduct but had not done so while negotiations continued over a possible settlement. More than a dozen of the 41 board members have called for his dismissal.

In General

Britney Spears has made changes to the start of her U.S. tour for the second time, Jive Records says. Instead of a Halloween opening on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Spears will now launch her tour on Nov. 1 at the Nationwide Arena in Colombus, Ohio. Spears was originally set to launch her tour on Oct. 26 in Miami, Fla., but that date was scrubbed after the singer got the flu.

Jennifer Lopez has signed a $12 million deal to play a free-spirited gunslinger opposite Ben Affleck in Gigli, which director Martin Brest (Scent of a Woman) is scheduled to shoot next month, Reuters reports. In the film, Lopez‘s character is sent to supervise a hit man that has kidnapped the mentally slow brother of a district attorney. Lopez will replace Halle Berry, who left the project last month due to a scheduling conflict with X-Men 2.

MTV Networks has laid off 450 employees–roughly 9% of its workforce–in the deepest cuts of the Viacom-owned company’s 20-year history. Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, said in a statement that the new economic times forced the first restructuring of the company since 1989, Reuters reports. Nick at Nite and TV Land will be consolidated, as well as the Latin American organizations of MTV and Nickelodeon. The Web sites for MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1 will no longer operate as separate companies and will move to one of MTV Networks’ two locations in Manhattan. Finally, MTV will shut down its animation studio, saving money to hire outside companies to produce its cartoon series and specials.

Courtney Love was forced to finish her set early at her Oct. 26 opening gig for Jane’s Addiction because of a strict Hollywood Bowl house curfew established under local noise ordinances, Tas Steiner, Love‘s publicist, told Reuters on Monday. The gig was arranged to give the unnamed label executive a chance to hear Love, who was backed by a new band, to play songs the audience never got to see her perform. “Courtney was disappointed,” Steiner said. “She only got to do two of the four new songs that she was planning on singing. She ended up taking an acoustic guitar with her band into a restroom offstage and singing a few songs for a major label president.” Love has added those four songs into a demo tape that she’s been shopping to record labels while she presses on with her lawsuit against Universal Music Group to end her current recording contract.

George Lucas will screen trailers of his upcoming Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones before Pixar Animation’s Monsters Inc. opens on Friday. But many studios are upset Lucas has chosen that specific movie to debut his trailer. “The question is, who owns that space before the movie?” one studio distribution chief said to Reuters. Lucasfilm holds a financial stake in Pixar, which started as the computer animation unit of Lucasfilm before it was sold to Apple in 1986. Jim Ward, Lucasfilm’s VP of marketing, told Reuters that the “longstanding relationship” between Pixar and Lucasfilm benefits both companies in this case.

CBS has ditched Wolf Lake, a series that followed the creepy happenings in a small town where residents morphed into wolves after four Monday airings because of low ratings. The drama averaged only 6.6 million viewers, down 40 percent from what CBS’ Wednesday night movie pulled in the 10 p.m. hour last year. According to Reuters, CBS execs are now mulling over how to fill the show’s time slot, but haven’t yet decided. This week, CBS will air