WEEK AHEAD: Kobe Bryant Trial Begins
TUESDAY, AUG. 24: It's "Where Are They Now?" week on music store shelves. After a two-year absence, Grammy-winning R&B group Boyz II Men make their return with Throwback, an album of covers by artists including Michael Jackson ("Human Nature") and Al Green ("Let's Stay Together"). The Boyz are one Boy short on the effort: Michael "Bass" McCary recently retired, making them a trio. Meanwhile, on Aug. 25, former P. Diddy protégé Mase, who left hip-hop to pursue life as a preacher, releases Welcome Back, his first album in five years. And finally, embattled singer R. Kelly releases his double album, Happy People/U Saved Me, the follow-up to 2003's Chocolate Factory.
THURSDAY, AUG. 26: Rockers including Tommy Lee, Dave Navarro and The Goo Goo Dolls' Johnny Rzeznik will find out if Lady Luck is on their side at the first Vegas Rock Star Poker Tournament and Sweepstakes at the Palms Casino Resort, running through Aug. 28. The musicians will compete against radio-station contest winners in the tournament, and the last person standing will score a $10,000 grand prize. Carmen Electra's guitarist husband could pose a serious threat: Navarro also was a strong contender on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown.
FRIDAY, AUG. 27: Kobe Bryant's rape trial is due to begin, but there seemed to be some doubts over whether prosecutors would proceed with their case. The L.A. Lakers star has pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted a 20-year-old employee at a Vail-area resort, claiming the sex with her was consensual. Further complicating matters is that the accuser this week filed a $75,000 civil suit against Bryant – which observers say leaves her vulnerable to accusations that she's being driven by money. Prosecutors were denied a motion to delay the trial's start date. If convicted, Bryant could face four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a maximum fine of $750,000.
Craig Kilborn is down to his final "Five Questions": The former ESPN and Daily Show anchor is saying goodbye to his Late Late Show after five years on CBS. The snarky host said recently that he now wants to "focus on writing and producing different television projects I haven't had time for." On the list of possible replacements: Conan O'Brien (whose NBC contract is up next year) and comic-writer-performer Amy Sedaris (Comedy Central's Strangers with Candy). In the meantime, a string of interim guest hosts will take the hot seat. Also up next for Kilborn: a cameo playing himself in the Wes Craven-Kevin Williamson horror movie Cursed.