NEWS BRIEFS: Nikki Reed to Hit Boards

updated 03/03/2004 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/03/2004 01:00PM

CAST: Fresh from her win for best debut performance at the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, Nikki Reed, 16, is set to re-team with her "thirteen" director Catherine Hardwicke on the 1970s skateboarding drama "Lords of Dogtown," a fictionalized version of Stacy Peralta's documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys," says the Hollywood Reporter. Reed will play the kid sister of one of the skateboarders. Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch, John Robinson ("Elephant") and Victor Rasuk ("Raising Victor Vargas") also star.

DENIED: An attorney for the woman who has accused basketball star Kobe Bryant, 25, of sexual assault is denying a defense allegation that the woman had sex within 15 hours after the time she said the athlete attacked her. "Anyone trying to prove otherwise will be chasing ghosts," the woman's lawyer, John Clune, said in a statement, the first outside the courtroom to contradict the defense team's concerted effort over the past several months to attack the 19-year-old accuser's credibility and portray her as an unstable liar, notes Reuters.


QUOTED: "I'm hunting for good writing, which is like hunting for a rare exotic bird." -- "Sex and the City" actor Chris Noth, 39, to The New York Times on his pursuit of a good play to star in now that his TV series is over


WED: Beyonce's little sister, Solange Knowles, 17, married Daniel Smith in a ceremony in the Bahamas over the weekend, according to her record company, Columbia Records. Beyonce, her parents, Mathew and Tina Knowles, and Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland were in attendance. Smith, a college football player, and Solange are natives of Houston.

BOOKED: Avril Lavigne, 19, has finalized details of her upcoming "secret tour" of U.S. shopping malls, reports Billboard. The trek to 21 cities begins March 4 in Minneapolis, and the singer will be joined by guitarist Evan Taubenfeld, co-writer of several tracks on her second album, "Under My Skin" (due May 25). In the midst of the run, Lavigne will perform April 3 on the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards in Los Angeles and April 4 at Canada's Juno Awards.

REPLACED: Rather than fill in the void after star designer Tom Ford's exit from the fashion house of Gucci with another star designer, the owner of the Gucci group, France's Pinault Printemps Redoute SA, will install a trio of little-known designers already at work within the firm, reports the Wall Street Journal. Their names are to be announced later this month.

SOUGHT: Lionel Richie's estranged wife, Diane Richie, 37, who last October filed for divorce, is seeking at least $300,000 in monthly support payments from the musician, 54, reports the Smoking Gun Web site. In a court filing, Diane detailed the couple's "extravagant lifestyle" that includes a $40 million mansion, $20,000 in annual plastic surgery and her 9-year-old boy's $125,000 boarding school tuition. "In addition to nine full-time staff members, we also employ people to maintain our plants, detail our cars, care for our pool, groom our dog, maintain our aquarium and a painter for regular touch ups on the house," say the legal papers.

DIED: Onetime Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, 74, who was forced to give up control of the baseball team after she made too many complimentary remarks about Adolf Hitler, died Tuesday in a Cincinnati hospital after being treated for lung-related ailments, reports the Associated Press. She owned the team from 1982-96.

DONATED: Broadway playwright Neil Simon, 76, received a much-needed new kidney on Tuesday that was donated by his longtime publicist Bill Evans, 53, reports The New York Times. "It's wonderful of him to do this," the writer of such smashes as "The Odd Couple" and "The Sunshine Boys" said before entering the hospital. Simon's wife Elaine told The Times that both men were resting comfortably after the operation.

RATED: During TV's February ratings "sweeps," CBS maintained its hold as the most popular network and NBC won among the youthful demographic it targets. Executives at both networks proclaimed victory Tuesday, even though the sweeps period continues through Wednesday. The TV industry uses ratings during February, May, July and November to set local ad rates.

DUMPED: McDonald's is disposing of its signature Supersize fries and drinks portions in its more than 13,000 U.S. outlets and will stop selling them altogether by year's end, except in promotions, says AP. Despite the fact America suffers an obesity epidemic, "The driving force here was menu simplification," spokesman Walt Riker said. "The fact of the matter is not very many Supersize fries are sold."

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