Saturday, June 03, 2006


BITS AND PIECES 04/30 Part 1

E! ONLINE... by Josh Grossberg --Recording Academy president C. Michael Greene resigning from his post Saturday after the Grammy organization launched a sexual harassment probe, the Los Angeles Times reports. Greene, whose $2 million paycheck was the highest for a nonprofit executive last year, will reportedly get an $8 million severance buyout.

--Previews of Madonna's London stage debut in Australian playwright David Williamson's hit play Up for Grabs being pushed back three days because of technical difficulties. The first night will still be May 23.

--AC/DC, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews and Ozzy Osbourne among several artists donating autographed microphones for an eBay-hosted online charity auction beginning Monday that will benefit hearing conservation charity, House Ear Institute.

--Carol King receiving the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the induction and awards ceremony June 13. Stevie Wonder also set to pick up a! lifetime achievement award.

--Grammy-winning San Francisco rockers Train snagging top honors at the California Music Awards, including best album for Drops of Jupiter and outstanding male vocalist and songwriter awards. Gwen Stefani of No Doubt won for outstanding female vocalist.

--Men and women seeking to be on The Bachelor 2 can download an application at The second season of the hit show will be taped from July through the end of the year.

E! Eric Greene --Ed Harris is tuning in for Revolution Studios' Radio. The Pollack star is in negotiations to join Cuba Gooding Jr. in the project based on a 1996 Sports Illustrated article. The film tells the true story of a football coach in a small southern town who befriends a mentally challenged man and transforms the social dynamics of the coach's team and school. Production is scheduled to begin this fall.    Robert De Niro is entering a world of Chaos. De Niro's Tribeca Productions has inked a deal with Universal Pictures to remake the 1999 Japanese film helmed by Hideo Nakata. The flick, which follows a young grifter who muddles up the kidnapping of a wealthy businessman's wife, is being developed for Benicio Del Toro to headline. De Niro may also star in the project, which should have a writer and director in place soon.  

 Will & Grace star Sean Hayes is taking on Martin & Lewis. Hayes portrays legendary funnyman Jerry Lewis in Storyline Entertainment's biopic about Lewis and Dean Martin. The film follows the ups and downs of the comedy duo's ten-year partnership that began with a series of stand-up routines in the 1940s. Former Full House star John Stamos is executive producing the project. No word yet on who is playing straight man Dino.  

--The Handmaid's Tale star Natasha Richardson is now telling the story of The Chambermaid. Richardson joins Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes in the romantic ! comedy directed by The Joy Luck Club's Wayne Wang. The pic tells the story of a street-smart, single mom (Lopez) working as a hotel chambermaid who meets an heir to a political dynasty (Fiennes). Richardson plays Fiennes' love interest in the project, which begins filming in New York this week.  

--Joel and Ethan Coen might be real Ladykillers. The brothers are in negotiations to direct a remake of the 1955 classic for Disney's Touchstone Pictures. The original black comedy starred Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers as a pair of crooks renting a house in England and endlessly trying to knock off their innocent old landlady. The updated film is set in the Deep South and revolves around an eccentric old lady who unknowingly rents out her rooms to a gang of thieves planning their next big heist.  

 Former ER girl Michael Michele is discovering How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Michele is in final negotiations to join the cast of the Paramount Picture! s comedy starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. The pic center s on a womanizer (McConaughey) who makes a bet with his buddy that he can stay in a relationship longer that 10 days. The tables are turned, however, when he meets a girl (Hudson) who tries to dump him first. Michele would play a coworker of McConaughey's character in the project, which begins filming in New York this June.  

REUTERS.... -- LONDON - Rock legend Paul McCartney won a court order yesterday blocking the sale of a draft manuscript of Beatles hit "Hey Jude" the day before the $116,000 document was due to go to auction. Magistrate Justice Laddie granted McCartney an injunction at London�s High Court preventing the sale of the manuscript written in blue ink in McCartney�s handwriting, after the star said it had disappeared from his home. The manuscript - 19 lines long and some of them corrected on a sheet of white paper - omits the last six lines of the released version of what became one of the Beatles� best known singles. The lyric! s were sent for auction by a man identified in court only as Monsieur Tessier, who bought them in the famous Portobello Road street market in London when he was a student in 1971 or 1972. Tessier had the leaf from a notepad framed and put it on display in his house, although he said he did not realize its true value until he had it examined by an auctioneer.

NY POST/MICHAEL STARR.... --Yes, even "Entertainment Tonight" struggled to get celebrity interviews in its first couple of years - but it's been a celebrity destination ever since. "When we first started, publicists didn't really understand the concept of syndication - they thought, �OK, you're not a network show, does that mean anybody is going to see you anywhere?' " says "ET" co-host Mary Hart. "That first year it was very difficult to get interviews with major stars." Hart, who's been there from the beginning, is celebrating 20 years on the show - a remarkable ! run in the changing tides of syndication. Hart says that celebrity pu blicists can sometimes make it difficult, not so much in gaining access to stars, but in what can be asked of their clients. "There can tend to be a little more controlling influence by publicists, and we really want to limit that," she says. "It's a highly annoying trend that's pervasive throughout the business." ET" remains one of TV's highest-rated syndicated shows thanks, in part, to Hart, who's so closely identified with the show - and who has inked a deal to remain with "ET" through 2005. "When I signed my last deal, I thought 20 years would be plenty, and I'd ride off into the sunset," she says. "But when the studio [Paramount] told me they really didn't want me to go, I started rethinking . . . and went for another five years. I don't know if anybody has ever hosted a single show for that long." So will Hart re-up for another five years when her current deal is done? "It's really hard for me to sa! y," she says. "As much as 25 years would be plenty, I have no idea."

--Paul McCartney visits Friday's "Tonight Show" - his first late-night talk show appearance in 10 years.

--Kelly Ripa narrates "A Child's World," a three-part series airing May 11-13 on Discovery Channel (10 p.m. each night).

NY POST/PAGE SIX... --THE "charity" Michael Jackson formed with rabbi Shmuley Boteach is operating at a loss. The New York-based Oxford L'Chaim Society told the IRS it took in $203,185 in 2000-2001 but wasn't able to actually dispense any help because it had expenses of $259,432, mostly in-office fees and staff salaries, reports's Roger Friedman. In addition, Boteach lists $19,028 for "promotional" costs and $13,480 on unspecified "outside services." Boteach's mother and sister are listed on the L'Chaim Society's filing as treasurer and secretary, respectively, but both of them told Fri! edman that they have nothing to do with the charity and should not be on the forms.

--PARENTS pretend it's for the kids when they buy tickets each year to the Elizabeth Glaser Prediatric AIDS Foundation benefit. But they were mostly adults, and mostly female, who lined up Sunday to meet Michael Douglas and Richard Gere as they operated carnival games under a big top at Wollman Rink. Danny Aiello posed for so many Polaroids, his booth ran out of film.

--BILL Maher ended up all wet at Bungalow 8 Saturday night. The "Politically Incorrect" host was partying with a posse that included conservative commentator Ann Coulter when a bucket of mop water was dumped on his head, apparently by accident. A busboy - carrying the bucket en route to cleaning up a spill - didn't recognize Maher, who turned to a female friend and asked, "Was it clean?" When he was assured that it was, Maher kept partying, and at one point danced atop a table.

--DID Calvin Klein underwear icon Travis use padding to make his package appea! r more prodigious? The Aussie beefcake became an instant celebrity when he appeared in his skivvies on billboards in New York, L.A. and London - where his prurient pic has caused traffic pileups. But a source close to Travis insists that the model stuffed his shorts before his famous snapshot. A Calvin Klein rep did not return calls.

NY POST/NEAL TRAVIS..... --WHEN Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter read bad-boy producer Bob Evans' autobio "The Kid Stays in the Picture," he suggested making a documentary movie from it. Graydon was one of the producers and the flick was a big hit at Sundance this year. Now, I hear, it's been invited to the No. 1 festival, Cannes. Carter was out of town yesterday, but I expect he and his fellow associates will opt to accept the Cannes invitation, which means "The Kid" will have to be a scratching from the first TriBeCa Film Festival.

--WITH poor, screwed up former slugger Darryl Strawberry off to the pok! ey for 18 months, his long-suffering wife, Charisse, is facing a terr ible decision. Some of her closest friends in Florida think she should divorce Straw and build a new life for her and the kids. At the moment, though, she's standing by her man despite his total inability to be faithful to her. She is also continuing ...


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