CASTING Claire Danes and Liv Tyler will play two of gynecologist Richard Gere’s patients in Robert Altman’s ”Dr. T. and the Women”…. ”Melrose Place” veteran Rob Estes is joining the cast of ”Suddenly Susan” next season…. In what seems to be a carbon copy of ”48 HRS.,” Kris Kristofferson and Jamie Foxx have been paired in ”Bait,” with the leathery Kristofferson as a treasury agent who frees a de rigueur fast-talking convict (Foxx) to help him nab some criminals…. Brooke Langton (USA’s ”The Net”) will play Keanu Reeves’ love interest in the football comedy ”The Replacements.”
COURT REPORTS Woody Harrelson made an appearance in a Sacramento court Thursday as a character witness for his friend B.E. Smith, who’s on trial for possession and cultivation of marijuana, according to the Associated Press. Harrelson says that Smith’s hemp crops were meant for sick people to use for medicinal purposes, which is permissible under the state’s medical marijuana law. Unfortunately, Harrelson was forbidden by the judge to mention that law in his testimony, causing the actor to accuse him of ”keeping the truth from the jury”…. Milton Berle’s onstage bickering with RuPaul at the MTV Video Music Awards a few years ago was just the start of his homocentric troubles. Berle has just filed a lawsuit against Century 21 and the publishers of the magazine Out! for running an ad that he says implies that he is gay, according to AP. The ad for the real estate company, which ran in the spring/summer 1998 issue, featured an unauthorized picture of Berle in a Carmen Miranda outfit and read ”Our team of friendly professionals know how to cater to royalty… after all, every queen deserves a castle.” His suit says, oh-so-politically, that while the comedian ”respects the rights of others in the pursuit of their own individual sexual orientation, Berle is a heterosexual male and does not now, nor has he ever, engaged in homosexual conduct, nor does Berle wish to be viewed as being homosexual”…. What the…? Ol’ Dirty Bastard in legal trouble again? Say it ain’t so! The rapper was arrested on Wednesday for bouncing his own bail check when he was arrested in September for threatening the bouncers at the House of Blues in Hollywood. His new bail was set at $100,000, according to MTV News, which he paid. He was then released. Hopefully the court got a guarantor this time.
WOODSTOCK FALLOUT Woodstock 99 is starting to look grimmer and grimmer in retrospect: New York state police are investigating four rapes that allegedly took place during the concert, with reports of more instances coming in from rape counselors, according to MTV News. One of the official complaints being looked at supposedly took place in the mosh pit during Limp Bizkit’s set.
REEL DEALS Stephen Sommers has signed on to write and direct a sequel to his blockbuster ”The Mummy,” according to Variety. Now Universal execs are starting to suck up to Brendan Fraser to get him aboard; there’s no word yet whether the zombies are holding out for bigger trailers…. Just because ”Mad About You” is off the air doesn’t mean the end of neurosis TV: Paul Reiser has signed a two-year development deal with Columbia TriStar TV, although not necessarily for a series in which he would star…. In what looks like a reaction to the NAACP’s criticism of the lack of new African-American shows on the networks’ fall schedules, NBC has hired Keenen Ivory Wayans to produce and write the pilot for ”Not the Bradys,” a sitcom about a divorced black father who marries a white woman, both with kids, and which is aiming for a mid-season slot. The Peacock network has also commissioned writer Yvette Lee Bowser (”Living Single”) to create a ”Soul Food”-ish series about three African-American sisters.
RECORD DELAY Smashing Pumpkins are smashing a little bit slower these days: MTV News reports that the band’s new album, which was originally scheduled for release this fall, won’t be out until next February.