Top Story: Don Johnson Says He's Not a Money Launderer
Don Johnson vehemently denies any involvement in a money laundering ring, Reuters reports. The Miami Vice star, 53, told Reuters there is absolutely no truth to reports that the actor says have caused him "irreparable damage" including the closing of two of his bank accounts. A story originating in Germany and picked up by news organizations around the world claimed customs officials found some $8 billion in cash, bonds and share certificates in Johnson's Mercedes when he was stopped at the Swiss/German border last November. The actor says he was on his way back from a film financing meeting in Zurich and had some bank statements and resumes in a briefcase. A German customs spokesman confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that there was no criminal investigation underway. "The only thing I can do is to deny these charges, show there is no truth in them and let people know I am not going to sit idly back and be slandered," Johnson said.
McCartney is Rock's Richest Guy
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Paul McCartney ranked as the top moneymaker in the world of music for 2002. The former Beatle took in approximately $72 million, due in large part to his first world tour in nine years. The Rolling Stones, who brought in $44 million, were runners-up.
Michael Jackson is Zoned Out
Adding to his growing list of troubles, Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch may now be in violation of zoning regulations after the former King of Pop claimed a tax break for preserving agricultural land, Santa Barbara County officials told The Associated Press. Officials plan to visit Jackson's home in the Santa Ynez Valley in the next month to determine whether he's surpassed the development limit for those claiming the credit, AP reports.
The Osbournes DVD Top Draw
With the recent TV-to-DVD boom, The Osbournes: The First Season is on its way to becoming the best-selling television series on DVD ever, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The DVD collection, which features America's favorite dysfunctional family in new interviews, as well as a blooper reel, sold more 650,000 units in its first six days. The current record holder is The Simpsons: The First Complete Season, which has sold 1.6 million box sets.
Chris Rock Gets a Star!
The Hollywood Walk of Fame has honored prickly comedian Chris Rock with his own star. "I think I'm as qualified to walk over as anybody else," Rock joked Wednesday before a crowd of about 300 people that included actor David Spade, his former Saturday Night Live colleague, AP reports.
ABC News Goes 24 Hours
On Wednesday Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News launched its own 24-hour online service, which includes live feeds for those with high-speed Internet connections as well as coverage of all world and domestic events, Reuters reports. "We are definitely trying, over the course of the next 18 months to 2 years, to take small steps in creating an Internet news channel," Bernard Gershon, senior vice president and general manager of ABCNEWS.com, told Reuters.
Armed Forces To Make War Film Shorts
If there is a war against Iraq, the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. are planning to document the frontline action and bring back stories of the soldiers to movie audiences in video shorts, Reuters reports, harkening back to the old Movietone film reels shown in theaters during World War II. "It's intended to fulfill the Navy and Marine Corps' obligation to maintain a strong tie to the public, to let them know what we're doing," Marine Lt. Colonel James Kuhn explained to Reuters.
Role Call: Dance and Romance
From Variety: We knew Jennifer Lopez had to jump on the musical bandwagon at some point. She is now poised to join Richard Gere in the remake Shall We Dance?, playing a dance instructor who helps a working man learn ballroom dancing, among other things… meanwhile, according to The Hollywood Reporter, steely Vin Diesel will try his hand at the romantic thing (good luck), in the Revolutions Studios comedy NY Giant, tackling the role of a hotheaded football player who has to deal with an uptight female etiquette expert or risk losing his lucrative endorsement contract.
Role Call Part Deux:
Variety reports two Daughters are vying to be first at theaters. Pop singer Mandy Moore will go in front of the cameras again in First Daughter for Regency Enterprises, in which she plays the President's 18-year-old daughter who slips away from bodyguards to embark on a road trip. A competing project, also called First Daughter, is to be directed by Forest Whitaker for Alcon Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros., in which the President's college-aged daughter falls for a Secret Service agent hired to guard her.