Chappelle's $50 million richer
Comedy Central's hot commodity Dave Chappelle inked a massive deal with the Viacom-owned cabler for two more seasons of his hit series Chappelle's Show. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the deal could be worth about $50 million, catapulting Chappelle, 30, into television's top earners. He'll be paid approximately $5 million per episode with a 10-episode commitment per season, will have a chance to profit from the show's DVD sales, and has set up a multimillion-dollar deal with Viacom's Paramount Pictures to star in features include an adaptation of the autobiography of Rick James, the funk veteran whom Chappelle has lampooned on his show. The ratings for Chappelle's Show have been high and have also helped to boost other longtime staples including The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and South Park."Life without Chappelle's Show would not have been very bright as far as getting or exceeding those numbers again," said Lauren Corrao, senior VP of original programming and head of development, told the Reporter. "It means a great deal to growing our schedule. We're thrilled to have him back."
MTV Music Video Awards adds more to its celeb roster
Dave Chappelle is also making an appearance at the 21st annual MTV Music Video Awards, joining other celebs including Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Ludacris, LL Cool J, Jon Stewart and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, The Associated Press reports. MTV announced that hip-hop artists Lil' Jon, Petey Pablo, the Ying Yang Twins and Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe will perform, along with Usher, Kanye West, Yellowcard, Jet, Hoobastank and Jessica Simpson. The show will air live Aug. 29 in Miami, Fla. Jay-Z's jarring video for "99 Problems," which depicts his own murder as a metaphor for his retirement from rapping, leads with six nominations. Beyonce, No Doubt and OutKast received five nominations each.
VH1 to air Jackson movie
VH1 will debut its original movie on beleaguered pop star Michael Jackson Friday, AP reports. Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story traces the trials and tribulations of Jackson's life from his Motown days to his present legal woes, starring UPN's One on One's Flex Alexander as the King of Pop, who performed all the dance moves.
Franken brings radio show to cable TV
Liberal political humorist Al Franken is headed back to television next month with plans to bring his radio show to the Sundance cable TV channel, a spokesman told Reuters on Monday. Starting Sept. 7, Sundance will package the best of Franken's three-hour weekday radio program into a one-hour telecast of highlights that will air at 11:30 p.m. the same night, with repeats at 2:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. the next morning. His radio show debuted on March 31 as part of the fledgling Air America radio network, billed as a liberal antidote to the predominantly right-leaning talk-show culture whose ranks include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.
Chris Rock releases first album in five years
Funnyman Chris Rock is preparing to release Never Scared, his first album since 1999's Bigger and Blacker, Reuters reports. The album, due Aug. 31 through Geffen, features material from his HBO special of the same name as well as a handful of music parodies and new comedy sketches including a parody of OutKast's hit "Hey Ya!" dubbed "Crackers." The album will also include a DVD with behind-the-scenes footage from the HBO special. Rock, who has been on hiatus from film for the past two years, will be heard in the 2005 animated feature Madagascar and is set to star in the remake of the football-themed The Longest Yard starring Adam Sandler and rapper Nelly.
Schwarzenegger settles bobblehead doll dispute
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has settled a lawsuit against Ohio Discount Merchandise Inc., the company that produces bobblehead dolls featuring a gun-toting Schwarzenegger in a business suit. Under the new agreement, the company can produce dolls, priced at $19.99, but without the gun. Ohio Discount also agreed to donate a portion of sales to Schwarzenegger's nonprofit Arnold All-Stars after-school program in Los Angeles, the AP reports. But Ohio Discount's co-owner, John Edgell, said he opposes the settlement and plans to seek an injunction. His partner Todd Bosley said he severed ties with Edgell when he sought offers for a "Groping Arnold" bobblehead, after accusations surfaced that said Schwarzenegger had groped several women during his years in Hollywood.
Valenti comments on Hollywood's changing landscape
Jack Valenti, who announced in June he was stepping down as MPAA president and CEO after nearly four decades, said in an opinion column in Monday's Los Angeles Times that his greatest achievement as head of the Motion Picture Association of America was that he survived. "To endure in a volatile, unpredictable arena populated by egos the size of small planets is not an inconsiderable achievement," Valenti, 82, wrote. Valenti also noted the vast changes in Hollywood during his 38-year tenure, including huge increases in production and marketing costs; reliance on make-or-break opening weekends; the explosion of the DVD market; and the piracy risk digital cinema presents. Dan Glickman, the former U.S. agriculture secretary under President Clinton, takes over as MPAA chief Sept. 1, while Valenti will continue to oversee the movie ratings system.
Green Day hits the road
Green Day will be touring in support of their new album, American Idiot, due Sept. 21 via Reprise, Reuters reports. The routing for the tour is not yet finalized, but is expected to get underway Oct. 19 in Ft. Worth, Texas, with rock act New Found Glory and up-and-coming rock outfit Sugarcult in tow. American Idiot is the follow-up to 2000's Warning, which debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Before the fall tour, Green Day will perform American Idiot in full at a handful of dates closer to the album's release.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.
Kid Rock is tired of the rumors about his relationship with Pamela Anderson, who he's been dating since they met at the VH1 Divas 2001 tribute to Aretha Franklin in New York City this past spring. The latest rumors going around allege that the couple is engaged and that Anderson is pregnant with Kid Rock's kid. According to Launch.com, reps at Lava/Atlantic Records, Kid Rock's label, have denied those rumors.
"You know what? I'm not even gonna comment on any of that stuff anymore," Kid Rock told the online music publication. "It's just ridiculous...I'll tell you this much: There's not...people that make up a lot of things, and I have no idea where they start at. And I understand my life is public and people have a right to know, but until I say something I don't think anyone has a right to pry. That's why I live in the woods." Well Kid, maybe if you stopped rubbing against Pamela and talking about your bedroom behavior in public, like you did at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, people wouldn't think you were doing that in the woods. Keep it indoors, buddy!
Jackson's fans take over Times Square for in-store appearance
Those who thought Jacko would never have a second shot at success were surprised to see fans stopping traffic as the gloved star made an in-store appearance at Times Square's Virgin Megastore on Nov. 6 to promote his latest album, Invincible. Emerging in front of the store on a small stage covered with red carpet, Jackson bopped to the sounds of his single "You Rock My World," and threw kisses to the crowd before going into the store to sign autographs for his adoring fans, SonicNet.com reported.
Earlier this week, Jackson proved he is still the King of Pop, when Invincible landed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 366,272 units in its first week. Invincible also debuted at No. 1 in the U.K., Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.
'N Sync among celebs attending 2002 Olympic Winter Games
The closing ceremonies of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games will explode with music, as 'N Sync, Bon Jovi, and Christina Aguilera are among those who have signed on to perform at the Feb. 24 event, Billboard magazine reported. The extravagant event will be held at the Rice Eccles Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Vedder, Black Crowes unite for I Am Sam soundtrack
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, the Black Crowes, Sarah McLachlan, the Wallflowers, Ben Harper, and Nick Cave are among the artists who have recorded Beatles covers for the soundtrack to I Am Sam. The movie stars Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer. The album, due out Jan 8., also features covers by Aimee Mann, Ben Folds, Paul Westerberg and Heather Nova.
"When Eddie recorded his track, he sang it to the movie," director Jessie Nelson told Rolling Stone magazine. "He had the movie playing in the recording studio, and he was playing his guitar and singing to the scene."
"America: A Tribute to Heroes" to be released on CD
The Sept. 21 benefit concert, America: A Tribute to Heroes, will be released as a two-CD set and DVD/VHS on Dec. 4, with sales proceeds going to the Sept. 11 Telethon Fund, Rolling Stone reported. Interscope and Universal will release the CD set, featuring twenty-one songs from the broadcast. Sony will begin the international distribution of the album on Dec. 3. Warner Bros. will release the DVD/VHS, which will include the event in its entirety, including words of inspiration from Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, among others.
Nickelback donates to N.Y. Firefighter Fund
Rock group Nickelback has set up a collection for the New York City Firefighter Sept. 11 Disaster Relief Fund at its shows, Launch.com reported. The band started collections at the Boise, Idaho show on Nov. 11 and will continue to do so at all their shows until Nov. 30. At that time they will hand the proceeds to the firefighters during the band's show at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom. "That feels good for sure, because people need it," Nickelback's singer/ songwriter Chad Kroeger told Launch.com. "We've been feeling that ever since the attack. We've been playing shows where the crowd's responses have been just fantastic." Nickelback's tour will end Dec. 12 in Philadelphia.
Scott Weiland to undergo knee surgery
Stone Temple Pilots' singer Scott Weiland is going under the knife to repair a bum knee after the band finishes its current string of live dates, the band's official Web site, www.stonetemplepilots.com reported. The band ends its run on the Family Values Tour on Nov. 17 in Tacoma, Washington and then will play two short shows in Las Vegas on Nov. 19 and 20. Not to worry, devoted STP fans will be able to see the band in action again after Weiland's surgery. The band will perform at a New Year's Eve show at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
U2 extends Elevation tour
U2's third leg of their Elevation tour, which began on Oct. 10 and was slated to go through mid-November, will now wrap up on Dec. 2 in Miami, Fla., Allstar.com reported. No Doubt is currently serving as the band's opening act, but it is still unknown who the opening band for the tour's extension will be.
Likely you’ve seen the promos featuring co-hosts Shawn and Marlon Wayans dressed up as Venus and Serena Williams. Maybe you flipped through the channels Thursday and caught the reruns of last year’s show, "behind the scenes" insights, "TRL" live from the show, the countdown to the pre-show (called the Opening Act), the actual Opening Act, the …. Well, you get the picture.
Those folks at MTV really put on an Oscar-size display hyping their Video Music Awards, but this year’s telecast lacked the style, zip, even poignance of last year’s millennial ceremony.
The performance lineup had its blasts and pyrotechnics, but mostly failed to generate any real excitement. Janet Jackson’s face was masked by her hair throughout the entirety of "Doesn’t Really Matter"; Nelly ran around the stage with his pants hanging to his knees; Sisqo brought his Dru Hill bandmates at the end of his solo number, but it was for little longer than a chorus; and Britney Spears … well, more about her later.
'N Sync The big winners of the evening, Eminem and 'N Sync, were more successful, the latter performing with TV screens in front of their heads for half of their medley routine. Blink-182 closed the evening with a bang.
But in case you missed the awards -- and you won’t, really, because they’ll rerun it five million more times -- here are some highlights:
Rage Against the Machine SOY BOMB RETURNS? During Limp Bizkit’s acceptance speech for Best Rock Video ("Break Stuff"), there was suddenly a commotion. As black-clothed security bounded onstage, everyone saw a lone figure rocking back and forth on the 15-foot high set piece directly behind the podium, close to knocking it over and demolishing the band. The band jokingly urged the man to jump, then continued their speech. Turns out the guy was not a crazed fan, but a crazed rival: Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim C., whose group was nominated in the same category. The commotion disrupted the awards as the show struggled to continue while security tried to coax him down. Tim C. and an event security worker for the band were removed from the venue in handcuffs by police.
MAKING NICE, PART I: Who’d ever have thought a boy band compliment would come from Kid Rock? While there were no grand political or social commentaries made this year, the "Cowboy" singer arrived to present an award with wrestler The Rock and took that time to make a political statement of his own. "No offense to the Backstreet Boys, but the commercial that 'N Sync did for McDonald's was way cooler than the one that the Backstreet Boys did for Burger King," he joked (we assume) with a straight face.
Limp Bizkit MAKING NICE, PART II: Earlier in the day, it was reported that Christina Aguilera closed her run-through to the press so they wouldn’t know the identity of her "secret guest," who turned out to be none other than Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. After finishing a boppy performance of "Come on Over Baby," Durst ran up on stage, grabbed the mike, started rapping and Aguilera began headbanging her peroxide blond-and-red-streaked hair and yelling along.
Why was this weird? Because both were the subject of Eminem’s "The Real Slim Shady," where the rapper says Durst and MTV VJ Carson Daly of "TRL" fame argued over who Aguilera, um, serviced first. Aguilera was enraged by the lyrics and was upset at Durst for appearing in the accompanying video. Says Eminem of this trend of sunny pop and angry rock putting aside their differences: "I don’t have any differences with them. I just don’t like them."
Britney Spears MAKING NICE, PART III: Teen divas Aguilera and Spears appeared arm in arm at the close of the evening, the first time anyone’s seen these two buddying up since their days on "The Mickey Mouse Club." Luckily, they were not there to present Eminem’s Video of the Year Award (which the rapper says he was very relieved about), but to introduce surprise presenter Whitney Houston. Ironically, as frequent jail-bird hubby Bobby Brown appeared to give away the trophy, Houston began singing "Free! Free!"
Eminem THE SCARIEST VISUAL IN NYC: Take your pick. There was Eminem singing "The Real Slim Shady" while leading hundreds of stony lookalikes down the streets of New York, into the Radio City Music Hall and on to the stage (Marlon Wayans called it the "million white man march"). Or there was Spears’ illusional flesh-colored top and pants, which made one pay no attention to her performance but merely wonder, "Is she naked? Is that just see-through? Is she wearing a sequin bikini and nothing else? Is she going Vegas showgirl?"
THE SCARIEST VISUAL IN NYC, PART II: The Wayans brothers, no doubt plucked after their successful "Scary Movie," bombed as co-hosts. Opening the show with a spoof of last year’s host, Chris Rock, only made us miss him. And in a fit of desperation, Marlon finally dropped his pants and bared his buns to the crowd to close their opening monologue. They also showed taped sketches on Napster and Macy Gray’s ‘fro … which was parlayed into jokes about her "bush" … which, when depicted by Marlon, is not something you want to see on primetime television (or any television, for that matter).
ADVICE FOR NEXT YEAR’S SHOW: Don’t invite DMX to perform (for the second year in a row, the rapper was invited and pulled out at the last minute). Stop with the strange presenter pairings (Lil’ Kim and the thug from "The Sopranos"?). Teach your presenters how to pronounce the winner’s name (Ricky Martin called Aaliyah "Uh-LIE-ah"). And please, please, PLEASE get Jim Carrey to host next year (his ad-lib appearance was the single funniest moment of the night).
At least we won’t see any gross-out spoofs. Wait, nevermind.