News Roundup: Oct. 8


Top Story

Once considered the most powerful man in show business, Michael Ovitz isn’t having much luck these days. The former president of his company Artists Production Group, Cathy Schulman, has filed a $4 million lawsuit against Ovitz, APG and APG’s former partner StudioCanal, The Hollywood Reporter reports. According to the complaint filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Schulman, who ran the company’s film division unit, claims she was fired by Ovitz “in a rage” after she “effectively told auditors for Vivendi (StudioCanal’s parent company) that APG was stealing from Vivendi.” She was terminated Feb. 14. This suit follows on the heels of another filed by Eric Tannenbaum, the former head of Artists Management Group’s television division in April, claiming fraud, deceit and defamation.


Actor Lorenzo Lamas and his wife, former Playboy Playmate Shauna Sand, are calling it quits after six years of marriage. In a statement Monday, Lamas, 44, told the Associated Press “Shauna and I are separated due to problems of incompatibility” and will work together to provide for their three young daughters. At this point, no plans for divorce have been set.

Actor Robert Blake won the right to a bail hearing Wednesday that could set him free until his murder trial begins. Having been jailed since April after he was charged with the May 4, 2001, murder of wife Bonny Lee Bakley, Blake had not received a bail hearing because of a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait. Defendants with special circumstances can be held without bail if they face the death penalty. Prosecutors in this case, however, are not seeking the death penalty.


Sweet Home Alabama director Andy Tennant will stay in that Southern mood with his next project–a dramedy cop series called The Atl for Fox. Taking its inspiration from the burgeoning hip-hop scene in Atlanta, Ga., which is known in some circles as the new Motown, the series will focus on two female cops living and working in the city’s energetic, youthful vibe.

Bonnie Hunt and other executive producers of her new hit ABC comedy Life With Bonnie have let go most of their writing staff to do it all themselves. Insiders told Variety from the get-go that Hunt and executive producer Don Lake stressed they didn’t want a writing staff on the show, opting to pen the scripts themselves, but Touchstone Television insisted. Now that the show is off to a great start–using none of the Bonnie staffers’ scripts–the studio has agreed.

NBC has signed a deal with Cher to tape a two-hour concert special to air sometime mid-season. The now-blonde diva will tape her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour performance at the American Airlines Arena in Miami Nov. 6 and 7.

Seems Comedy Central likes to air television rejects. The network has bought reruns of several TV series that had a short life on network television, including episodes of the animated series Dilbert and ensemble sketch comedy series The Ben Stiller Show. “These series all fit our brand. (We’re) always on the lookout for edgy, provocative entertainment,” Bill Hilary, exec VP and General Manager of Comedy Central, told Variety. “We’re the anti-network network.”


Fans of the rock band Pink Floyd, who last performed together in 1994, may have to wait awhile for a reunion–if not forever. The group’s leader David Gilmour told Reuters doing a new Pink Floyd album and tour is the furthest thing from his mind. “I know that other people have a different view and it has some sort of intrinsic importance, but right at the moment I’m just not thinking about Pink Floyd. I’m just concentrating on what I’m doing in a totally selfish way, and enjoying myself,” Gilmour said.