News, Dec. 19: The Olsen Twins Head to NYU; Hilton, Richie Ring in New Year in Vegas; Janet Jackson To Perform at Super Bowl, More…

Top Story: The Olsen Twins Head to NYU

The Olsen Twins: College Bound. No, it’s not the name of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s next feature-length, straight-to-video release. People magazine reports in its Dec. 29 issue that New York University has invited the teen actresses to join the class of 2008. According to the magazine, Mary-Kate and Ashley, 17, will be enrolled next fall at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study–a small, innovative college within NYU that gives students the opportunity to design a program of study tailored to their own needs. Michael Pagnotta, the twins’ representative, said they were excited about their acceptance. “Like every other senior, they had been sweating out their acceptance and they are absolutely thrilled,” Pagnotta told People. “They have always taken academics very seriously. This is a major achievement for them.” Mary-Kate and Ashley rose to fame in the alternating the role of Michelle Tanner on the ABC sitcom Full House, which ran from 1987-1995. Their upcoming feature film, New York Minute, is set for release May 7.

Hilton, Richie Ring in New Year in Vegas

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are leaving the farm for Sin City. Hilton and Richie, the stars of Fox’s hit reality series The Simple Life, will help count down the final moments of 2003 on the network’s America’s Party airing live on New Year’s Eve from Las Vegas. The show, to be broadcast from the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino starting at 11 p.m. EST, will feature performances form Ashanti, Metallica, Puddle of Mud, Hootie and the Blowfish and keith urban, The Associated press reports.

Prisoner of Azkaban To Be Shown on IMAX

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third feature film in the Harry Potter franchise, will be released in large-format IMAX theaters when it hits conventional theaters June 4, the AP reports. IMAX, a Toronto-based projection equipment developer, has been expanding its market beyond documentary films for science centers and institutional venues by adapting its technology for mainstream Hollywood productions and movie theaters. Based on the popular book by J.K. Rowling and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

WB Launches 3-D Game To Promote Torque

For its upcoming motorcycle flick Torque, Warner Bros. is launching a broad new-media marketing campaign. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is introducing “Maximum Torque,” a promotional 3-D game available on and web portals such as Yahoo, MSN and AOL to market the film. Game players can choose one of four motorcycles and customizable outfits, then pitch their skills against a computer-controlled racer. Torque, starring Ice Cube, Martin Henderson, Monet Mazur, Adam Scott, Matt Schulze, Jaime Pressly and Jay Hernandez, opens nationwide Jan. 16.

Elton John To Perform on World Idol

Singer Elton John will perform on the Jan. 1 results episode of World Idol, a show in which winners of 11 international Idol series will compete for global supremacy, reports. The competition will air worldwide Dec. 25 and New Year’s Day. American Idol network Fox will air the specials in the U.S. The third season of American Idol is set to begin Jan. 19, with three audition shows shown over consecutive nights Jan. 19-21. The show will then return to its regular times slot, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesdays from 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Janet Jackson To Perform at Super Bowl Halftime Show

Janet Jackson will perform at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show set to air live on CBS on Feb. 1 from Houston’s Reliant Stadium, reports. The show is being produced by MTV, which produced last year’s halftime event with Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting and the 2001segment that featured Aerosmith, ‘N Sync and Britney Spears. Jackson is currently working on her still-untitled follow-up to her 2001 album All For You, which is set for release sometime in 2004 on Virgin Records.

Source Can’t Distribute Eminem Track

Manhattan federal Judge Gerald Lynch handed down a ruling Thursday preventing hip-hop magazine The Source from enclosing in its February issue a CD of a previously unreleased track by rapper Eminem that includes lyrics such as “black girls are dumb.” The Source said it uncovered the recording while investigating the forces corrupting hip-hop, including racism and had planned extensive coverage of it in the February issue, the AP reports. Eminem has called the recording “foolishness,” something he made as a teen “out of anger, stupidity and frustration” after breaking up with a black girlfriend.

Nas Arrested on Assault Charges

Rapper Nas was charged with assault stemming from a Dec. 10 altercation in a New York nightclub. According to Reuters, Nas, whose real name is Nasir Jones, allegedly smashed a bottle against the head of an unidentified man during who entered the VIP area of the Ciclo nightclub. He reportedly surrendered to police Wednesday and was arraigned before posting $7,500 bail. Nas, who is currently working on his seventh studio album, is due back in court Jan. 20.