Top Story: Britney Too “Toxic” for MTV
MTV, the network that produced the now -infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime peep show, has now deemed Britney Spears‘ latest video, “Toxic,” too racy for daytime rotation. MTV said Monday it has moved “Toxic,” as well as five other videos, to late-night rotation–that’s from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. In the video, helmed by Joseph Kahn, who recently made his feature directorial debut with the motorcycle flop Torque, features Spears as a femme fatale who poisons her cheating ex, played by actor Martin Henderson. The video includes images of Spears in some scenes wearing nothing but pasted-on diamonds and a G-string. But an MTV spokeswoman told Reuters the network was not engaging in self-censorship or responding to pressure from its corporate parent, Viacom Inc. “We always take into account what the cultural environment is on an ongoing basis,” she said. “Given the particular sensitivity in the culture right now, we’re erring on the side of caution for the immediate future.” Guitarist Mike Einziger, whose rap-rock group Incubus is also caught up in MTV’s house-cleaning efforts, said in a statement: “It’s ironic that this MTV scrutiny comes from an incident where someone bared their chest in public, while for the first time, our singer has his shirt on for an entire video.”
Kidman Puts To Rest Cancer Rumors
Nicole Kidman is denying recent tabloid reports that she has breast cancer, rumors she says started after some of her health records were obtained without authorization. “Unfortunately, due to an invasion of my medical privacy, I’ve received a number of calls from the press asking about a visit to the hospital in Los Angeles in January,” the actress said in a statement released exclusively to The Associated Press. “I went in for a routine checkup, and the doctors discovered an area they thought needed further testing. The results of those tests were negative and I was given an ‘all clear.'” Kidman, meanwhile, will be honored March 1 by the Women’s Cancer Research Fund for her work as the board chair for the organization Women’s Health Fund at UCLA.
Host Families Wanted for Hilton and Ritchie
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are taking their hit reality show The Simple Life on the road, the AP reports. Mike Darnell, Fox’s executive vice president of special programming, told Variety Monday, “It’ll be interesting to see the country through their eyes … Maybe Paris will visit a Wal-Mart. I’m kind of hoping they stop at a Hilton.” Auditions for families to play host to Hilton, the hotel heiress, and Richie, the daughter of Lionel Richie, are scheduled to begin this weekend are expected to last through the month, with production expected to begin this spring. Casting information is available on the Bunim-Murray Productions Web site ( The Simple Life 2).
Lawsuit Over Super Bowl Peep Show Dropped
A Knoxville, Tenn., woman who filed a class-action lawsuit last Wednesday in U.S. District Court against Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, MTV, CBS and their parent company, Viacom, over the Super Bowl “fallout” has withdrawn her suit, the AP reports. Terri Carlin, who claimed that Jackson‘s exposure and “sexually explicit conduct” by other performers during the halftime show injured viewers, had sought billions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. She says she now believes she made her point. According to the dismissal filed in federal court, Carlin wants to see if “remedial measures” announced by federal regulators and the companies involved succeed in preventing similar stunts in the future.
Fox Returns to Primetime TV
Michael J. Fox, who left Spin City in 2000, a few years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, will guest star as an inspiring physician in two episodes of the NBC sitcom Scrubs, the AP reports. In the episodes, airing at 9:20 p.m. ET Feb. 10 and Feb. 17, Fox plays a surgeon who’s afflicted with obsessive compulsive disorder but has found a way to make it work to his advantage. Fox will be reunited with Spin City executive producer Bill Lawrence, who now serves as executive producer for Scrubs. The 42-year-old actor has devoted much of the last few years to raising money and lobbying for research into Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 1991. So far, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has provided $35 million for studies.
NYPD Blue Ends After Season 12
ABC announced Monday NYPD Blue will go off the air next year after its 12th and final season. Since its debut in 1993, the show has been highest-rated drama series on the struggling network. A spokeswoman at Steven Bochco Productions told Reuters the current cast is expected to return for the 12th season. NYPD Blue went on hiatus in December to make room for the launch of the new FBI drama Line of Fire, but returns to its regular slot on Tuesday.
Star Wars Trilogy Gets DVD Release
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm Ltd. are set to release Star Wars Trilogy, a four-disc DVD box set Sept. 21. According to Reuters, the set includes the classic franchise films Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as a fourth disc featuring bonus materials including a newly made documentary about the Star Wars franchise and never-before-seen footage. Lucasfilm and Fox chose the September release date to maximize on sales throughout the holidays, leading up to the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode III, which hits theaters nationwide May, 25, 2005.
MGM Recalls Bergman DVDs
MGM, meanwhile, has recalled its special DVD editions of Ingmar Bergman‘s Hour of the Wolf and Shame, because of incorrect aspect ratios, Reuters reports. A spokesman for MGM said Monday the DVDs, which had been set for release Tuesday, were “not representative of the intended theatrical presentation.” The studio will release the corrected DVDs, as well as the box set The Ingmar Bergman DVD Collection, on April 2