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News, March 19: Search for "COPS" Producer Called Off, "Sopranos" Back on Track, Dixie Chicks Take a Hit, More…

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Mar 19, 2003 | 1:13pm EST

Top Story: Police Call Off Search for "COPS" Producer

A search for the body of reality TV producer-director Paul Stojanovich has been called off, Variety reports. Stojanovich, who created the hit Fox show COPS, is presumed dead after he slipped and fell from a cliff in Oregon and into the Pacific Ocean on Saturday. He was posing for a picture for his fiancée, Kim Srowel, when he fell. After developing and serving as a producer of COPS and producing the ABC series American Detective, Stojanovich executive produced a wave of reality shows modeled on the COPS genre, including World's Wildest Police Videos, World's Scariest Police Chases and Ultimate Police Challenge. Stojanovich, 47, moved to Oregon about 10 years ago. He is survived by his fiancée and two sons from a previous marriage, Paulie, 20, and Chet, 18.

Gandolfini and HBO Back on Track

After dropping his lawsuit against HBO, James Gandolfini agreed Tuesday to fulfill the terms of his original contract, meaning that a fifth season of the mob drama The Sopranos will be filmed as scheduled, The New York Times reported Wednesday. HBO, which had filed a counterclaim against Gandolfini, said it would drop its lawsuit once both conditions were met. According to the Times, the agreement between HBO and Gandolfini, who won Emmy Awards in 2000 and 2001 for his role as Tony Soprano, came with no change in the salary offer.

Construction Company Wants Minnelli To Pay Up

A New York construction company is asking the Manhattan Supreme Court to order the sale of an Upper East Side apartment owned by Liza Minnelli and her husband David Gest so it can recover $138,000 the couple allegedly owes them for renovations, Reuters reports. The suit alleges that Minnelli and Gest agreed to pay the construction company $250,000 for major renovations when they signed the January 2002 contract, but were only paid $112,148, leaving a balance of nearly $138,000. On top of the balance owed, the company is seeking interest and $50,000 in legal expenses.

Paul Reubens Appeals Porn Charge

Paul Reubens is appealing a judge's refusal to throw out a misdemeanor child pornography possession charge, The Associated Press reports. Attorneys for Reubens argued Monday that a February ruling by Superior Court Judge Carol H. Rehm was flawed because a 1989 statute does not apply to material produced before the law was enacted. Reuben's attorney's also argued that the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor crime expired before the city filed the charge last November. The charge resulted from a search of Reubens' home in November 2001, when police seized the actor's collection of vintage erotica.

Dixie Chicks' "Travelin' Soldier" Takes a Hit

The Dixie Chick's No. 1 hit "Travelin' Soldier" dropped 15 percent on the country singles charts to No. 3 as more radio stations are dropping the band from their playlists, USA Today reports. The depth of anger displayed by the Chicks' country fans is one the most dramatic to date in the backlash against artists and celebrities who comment on the nation's divisive policies toward Iraq. The trio is set to begin a U.S. tour May 1 in Greenville, S.C.--expected to be one of the marquee events in country touring for the year--but it is unclear now how the tour will play out.

Presley Belts Out Tunes for Record Execs

Lisa Marie Presley quietly made her first singing appearance at an industry trade show Tuesday in Orlando, Florida to promote her soon-to-be-released first album. Presley performed three songs before 1,000 enthusiastic record label executives and music sellers at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' annual convention. According to the AP, convention attendees surmised that Presley's Capitol label is hiding her quiet voice behind the music as she starts her career. Music Universe's Alan Josef Kaplan told the AP, "She's a little shy, but she's new. Give her six months, and she's going to get much more comfortable."

Sharon Osbourne Suffers Heat Exhaustion

Sharon Osbourne was admitted to an undisclosed Las Vegas hospital after she was overcome by heat exhaustion Friday during her husband Ozzy's concert at the Hard Rock Hotel, People.com reports. According to spokeswoman Lisa Vega, Osbourne complained of feeling faint, and because of her medical condition, was taken to the hospital. "It was nothing serious. We were there for about 20 minutes," Vega confirmed. Ozzy had finished playing by the time the ambulance arrived, and accompanied his wife to the hospital. Osbourne was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and has since undergone chemotherapy treatment.

Role Call: Queen Latifah's "Just Wright," Paramount Nabs Clancy's "Red Rabbit"

Disney has purchased screenwriter Michael Elliot's pitch Just Wright as a starring and producing vehicle for Queen Latifah. The pic is a modern-day Cinderella tale set in the world of pro basketball ... Paramount Pictures has acquired the rights to Tom Clancy's latest thriller, Red Rabbit. Scribe Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) will adapt the book for just under $2 million.

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