General News

News Roundup: July 19

Jul 19, 2002 | 10:02am EDT


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The Fox network hopes to produce a sequel to the hit reality series American Idol: The Search for a Superstar in time for a January or February bow, Variety reports. The show, which premiered June 11, has averaged 9.8 million viewers over a six-week period. It follows wanna-be pop stars competing for a recording contract, with viewers eliminating contestants via viewer phone calls. British judge Simon Cowell is expected to return, but it's uncertain whether judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, as well as hosts Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest, will return for the second installment.


Leadfoot publicist Lizzie Grubman, who mowed down 16 people outside the Conscience Point Inn in Southampton with her Mercedes SUV last July, broke down in a tearful apology after a judge said he would soon set a date for her trial. The 31-year-old has pleaded innocent to a 26-count indictment for second-and third-degree assault, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If convicted, she faces seven years behind bars.


The 1960s British cult TV series Thunderbirds, which used puppets and models in a process dubbed "supermarionation," will be turned into a live-action movie to be directed by Jonathan Frakes, Variety reports. Frakes, who played Commander William Riker on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, last directed the children's adventure Clockstoppers for Paramount Pictures.

Twentieth Century Fox will produce a Bollywood thriller called Ek Hasina Thi, with Ram Gopal Varma attached to direct. A Fox official told Variety this is the first time a Hindi film will be produced by a foreign company. The film is expected to start shooting in August.


The Simpsons will make its 14th season debut this fall in an episode titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation, featuring rockers Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, Brian Setzer, Lenny Kravitz and Elvis Costello. But according to Reuters, there are more star cameos to come next season by skate legend Tony Hawk, Blink 182, Adam West, Little Richard and David Lander (Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley). The show's executive producer, James L. Brooks, will also appear as himself in the upcoming episode A Star Is Born Again with Marisa Tomei.

In other Simpsons news, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has renamed several hundred drainage ponds at highway interchanges after characters from The Simpsons, including Apu, Clancy Wiggum, Maggie, Seymour, Bart, Barney and Milhouse. State hydrologist Patrick McLarnon told The Associate Press it was a better naming scheme than the numbers and letters system previously used.


Rapper Mystikal, whose real name is Michael Tyler, and two other men were jailed Thursday on charges they raped an acquaintance at his house, the AP reports. All three were also charged with extortion. Tyler allegedly threatened to tell police that the 40-year-old woman had received checks from the rapper's account without his permission when she showed up at his house on July 3. He also threatened to hurt her with bodily harm is she did not comply. If convicted of aggravated rape charges, Tyler could face a mandatory life sentence.

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