Jackson Shoots Down Fatherhood Rumors
LAUNCHED: R&B singer Usher, who's lasted nine weeks at No. 1 on the pop album charts with his latest CD, Confessions, is about to become a movie star, says the Hollywood Reporter. MTV Films is set to produce a feature vehicle for him, and Usher (full name: Usher Raymond), 25, will also executive produce. The project's title and storyline are being kept secret, though it will not be autobiographical, says MTV. Meanwhile, Usher, who's had small roles in such movies as Light It Up, She's All That and The Faculty, will next be seen this fall as singer Jackie Wilson in Ray, the Ray Charles biopic.
SEARCHED: CBS reportedly has placed "Help Wanted" ads to replace George Eads and Jorja Fox on TV's top-rated drama, CBS's CSI, after the actors were fired over a reputed salary dispute. The New York Post reports that a casting call sheet was circulated Tuesday among Hollywood agencies calling for actors who could fill shoes similar to those of Eads's Nick Stokes and Fox's Sara Sidle. Before their dismissals, the two were reportedly earning about $100,000-per-episode, or $2.2 million a year.
SOUGHT: VH1 has been searching for participants for its new reality series In Search of the Partridge Family, which will premiere Sept. 5. New York's Daily News reports that some 500 aspirants, decked out in their best '70s finery, stepped up to become the new Shirley, Keith, Laurie and Danny. Each sang two Partridge songs, as well as "I Think I Love You" and "C'mon, Get Happy." Finalists will be sent to Los Angeles in order to compete on six live episodes that will then blossom into a new sitcom pilot.
SUED: Clear Channel Communications Inc. on Wednesday plans to file suit against Howard Stern and his distributor, Infinity Broadcasting, claiming the shock jock breached his contract by airing indecent programs, reports Reuters. Clear Channel is expected to file a $3 million countersuit to a $10 million lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by Stern's One Twelve company and Infinity. Stern and Infinity claimed Clear Channel had broken its contract with them when it dumped Stern's show from six stations following fines against Stern by the Federal Communications Commission.