As Michael Jackson's arraignment on child molestation charges draws near, the singer's family, friends--and most importantly, his fans--are gearing up to show their support. "We've had fans calling from out of state who are flying in just for the arraignment," Angel Howansky, a freelance publicist who is helping coordinate the event, told The Associated Press. Diana Dalo, an Italian fan, said fans are planning a "huge gathering" over several days that will include people from Spain, France, England, Canada, Mexico and Japan, as well as from around the United States. Jackson's brother, Jermaine Jackson, told reporters Monday, "My brother is innocent; he is 1,000 percent innocent. My mother, father, sisters and brothers are overwhelmed at the outpouring of the fans." Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Maria on Friday.
In More Jackson News…
Meanwhile, Jackson, who has said he will never live at his Neverland Ranch again, is leasing a $20 million cliffside estate in Beverly Hills "with panoramic city views," AP reports. Real estate broker Elaine Young told AP Jackson signed a one-year lease with a one-year option to buy the mammoth three-story mansion. The listed lease price was $100,000 a month, but it wasn't known what Jackson was paying.
De Niro, Scorsese To Write Joint Memoir
Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorsese have decided to write a joint memoir to share insights on their 30-year friendship and collaboration on eight major films, Reuters reports. "We came from the same New York neighborhood but hung out on different streets," Scorsese said in a statement, adding that their friendship grew with each collaboration. "We can finish each other's sentences and understand things that are not said," he said. "It's like a professional marriage, and the offspring are the movies." The untitled book is scheduled to be published in 2005, Harmony Books publisher Shaye Areheart told Reuters. The book has already been sold to publishers in England, the Netherlands, Israel and Germany.
Stewart Makes Web Defense
Domestic style mogul Martha Stewart has created her own Web site in an effort to mount her defense in the upcoming high-stakes trial against her, AP reports. Stewart is accused of inside trading, selling ImClone Systems Inc. stock in 2001 just before it dropped sharply on a negative government report about an experimental ImClone cancer drug. Stewart claims she and her broker had a pre-existing agreement to sell, but the government says she had privileged information--that ImClone founder Sam Waksal, a friend of Stewart's, was trying to unload some of his shares. The Web site, on which Stewart explains her version of events, is updated almost daily with letters from fans, supportive newspaper editorials and fresh pictures of Stewart, AP reports. She is due in court Jan. 20.
All-Star Survivor Planned
CBS' Survivor: All-Stars will rematch 18 past Survivor contestants and winners, including Richard Hatch, winner of the original Survivor and his island mate Rudy Boesch, Tina Wesson, winner of Survivor: The Australian Outback and her runner-up Colby Donaldson and others. The show will air after the Super Bowl, Feb. 1.
Downloading May Save Music Industry
After four straight years of declining CD sales, the recording industry is pinning hopes for a recovery on music fans willing to pay for music downloads. More than 19.2 million digital tracks were sold online in the last six months, according to Nielsen Soundscan, helping to narrow the music industry's losses last year, AP reports. Album sales were down 3.6 percent in 2003, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
Role Call: Costner Donning Cowboy Hat Again; Dynasty Telepic in Works
Kevin Costner is ready to get back in the saddle again. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the multi-hyphenate, who directed, produced and starred in last year's Open Range, has committed to do the Western Horizon, once again directing and starring in the project, whose plot is being closely guarded…ABC is developing a two-hour telepic that will show the rise and fall of Aaron Spelling's classic primetime soap Dynasty, Variety reports. ABC exec Quinn Taylor told Variety the telepic will chronicle the "creation of the show, the network politics involved in (needing) a hit show and the pressure to keep one-upping yourself [to stay atop the Nielsens]."