PREGNANT Paving the way for a new career full of ”What’s the deal with these binkies?” jokes, Jerry Seinfeld has announced that he and his wife Jessica Sklar are expecting a baby in the fall. Actually, Regis Philbin was the one who did the announcing: Seinfeld told him the news Wednesday night and asked him to spread the word on his morning show.
CASTING Tom Hanks’ production company, Playtone, has commissioned two scripts for him to star in, both crime dramas. ”A Cold Case” is being written by John Sayles, based on a New Yorker article about an investigator who tried to solve a murder for 30 years. The untitled second project, in which Hanks will play a 1960s cop trying to solve his wife’s murder, comes from the actors’ own idea. Oscar-winning screenwriter Alan Ball (”American Beauty”) has been tapped to script…. Hugh Grant is in negotiations to join Renée Zellweger in ”Bridget Jones’ Diary.” Devotees of the book will have something to say about that, if they’re not too busy writing ”Ally McBeal” fan fiction…. Speaking of Brits, Emma Thompson will lead the movie version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play ”Wit,” about a poetry professor diagnosed with terminal cancer. Thompson will reunite with her ”Primary Colors” director, Mike Nichols, for the project…. Speaking of Brits AGAIN, Jonathan Pryce (”Brazil”) will play composer Gustav Mahler in ”Bride of the Wind,” a biopic of Mahler’s wife Anna…. Jason Biggs (”American Pie”) will star as Christina Ricci’s boyfriend in the film adaptation of ”Prozac Nation.”
HEALING If you’re checking the scoreboard, it’s now Bad Oysters 2, Mariah Carey 1. Her food poisoning was cited as the reason Carey postponed a second concert – tomorrow night’s show in Toronto – but now she’s on the mend and was released on Wednesday night after two days in Mass General Hospital. She will show up for VH1’s ”Divas 2000” show, being taped on April 11, where all oysters will be subject to cavity searches backstage for suspicion of smuggling bacteria.
REEL DEAL If you’re scouting for news items that will make you think, skip this one: The Farrelly brothers will produce the comedy ”No More Mister Nice Guy,” starring Rob Schneider as an always-cordial man who pairs up with his sleazy lawyer uncle. Hilarity ensues, much of it likely involving flatulence.
HOME VIEWING ”The Sixth Sense”’s popularity continues on video. In its first week it made a record-setting $22.55 million in VHS rentals, and was also the top DVD rental. At this rate it is likely to become the top-grossing VHS rental of all time. If M. Night Shyamalan WERE to become a cocky bastard, it would be physically impossible to blame him.
CYBERYUKS If you’ve ever thought ”I love the Net, but it’s just not shticky enough,” then your prayers have been answered. Robin Williams has started his own weekly Web broadcast, where he’ll do free-association bits until your modem can’t take it anymore. His half-hour programs can be found on audible.com. But, sadly, since it’s an audio-only program, you won’t get the visually humorous effects of Williams constantly touching his crotch.
NETWORK SWITCH It’s official: ”Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” is moving to the WB next season, according to the Hollywood Reporter. It will still air on Friday nights, but one witching hour earlier, at 8 p.m.
LAWSUIT An Ohio teenager is suing the Black Crowes for $385,000 because he claims his hearing was damaged at the band’s concert last April because the speakers were turned up irresponsibly high, according to the Associated Press. Joshua Harmon, 19, sat in the second row for the show, and says that he suffered permanent damage to his right ear and suffered ”severe acoustic trauma,” a malady that usually only occurs when you listen to Jewel records.
DEFENDING HIMSELF Jodeci’s Dalvin DeGrate is refuting rumors that he didn’t perform his own vocals on some of the songs from his new solo album, ”Met.A.Mor.Phic.” (Whether he inserted his own periods is not up for debate.) There has been a buzz that it was producer Stevie J.’s voice leading two songs, but DeGrate says in a statement that ”I have no idea how someone could get this so wrong,” explaining that J. played on many of the tracks and sang backup on three, but that was it. J. himself wrote, ”Come on, this is ridiculous…. Dalvin is singing his own vocals. I just came in and percolated on a verse, just like Dalvin did on my joint.” Of course, percolating on joints is an entirely different legal matter.
UNWEDDED BLISS ”Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?” bride Darva Conger was granted an annulment yesterday in Las Vegas after her lawyer argued the marriage was a ”fraud” and a ”mutual mistake.” How DID that wily shyster make those grounds stick for a wedding instigated by a game show?