CHARTING No Doubt’s new release ”Return to Saturn” – their much-anticipated follow-up to 1995’s 10-times-platinum ”Tragic Kingdom” – debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s album chart, with sales of 202,000. Still on top are those teen pop princes ‘N Sync, who sold an additional 422,000 units of their latest, ”No Strings Attached.” Rounding out the top 5 are Santana at No. 3, Sisqo at No. 4, and Da Brat, debuting at No. 5.
THE MADONNA BEAT Madonna denied on Wednesday that she knows the sex of her unborn child as was widely reported yesterday (yeah… we reported it too). ”Despite what you may have read, including quotes falsely attributed to me, I do not know the sex of my baby,” she said in a statement. Madonna also denied that she was planning to marry the baby’s father, Guy Richie…. There’s more on Madonna’s forthcoming new album: Her publicist says it’s near completion and will include contributions from ”Ray of Light” producer William Orbit, a possible collaboration with DJ Sasha, and several songs by French newcomer Mirwais. (In fact, Madonna appears on one song from his album ”Production,” which was released in France on Tuesday). In February, Madonna described her new album to EW Online as ”very soulful, very melodic, and very minimalist.” That sounds good to us, as long as she doesn’t start chanting again.
MORNING SHOW MOVERS A.M. shock jock Howard Stern is dating model Angie Everhart, according to the New York Daily News…. People.com reports that Kathie Lee Gifford has asked Jerry Seinfeld to sub for Regis Philbin when Philbin starts his vacation next week…. Former ”Good Morning America” cohost Joan Lunden was married on Tuesday to Jeff Konigsberg, who operates summer camps for children. This is the second marriage for Lunden, who, according to Reuters, is a top contender to replace the departing Gifford on ”Live.”
SOUL SISTER Grammy Best New Artist nominee (and perennial Rosie O’Donnell fave) Macy Gray may be a featured on Fatboy Slim’s new album, due by year’s end. On his follow-up to ‘98’s double platinum ”You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” Slim (née Norman Cook) will use all original vocals instead of sampled ones.
TREKKING IN William Shatner will play a fading beauty pageant host in ”Miss Congeniality” starring Sandra Bullock…. Jam! Showbiz reports that ”Trek” exec Rick Berman talked to the show’s monthly fanzine about the possibility of a 10th ”Trek” movie (to be scripted by a writer who’s never been involved with the franchise) and a fifth spin-off TV series which he promises will be ”very different.” Of course, having people watch it will be different enough.
REEL DEALS R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has signed away exclusive Internet rights to films produced by his two production companies in a multimillion dollar deal with the digital entertainment company RSUB. Last year, Stipe was one of the producers of the Oscar-nominated (and fallout funny) ”Being John Malkovich”…. Director Allison Anders (”Gas Food Lodging”) will next make ”Things Behind the Sun,” a semiautobiographical story about a teenage rape victim…. ”X-Files” creator Chris Carter is in talks to direct ”The World of Ted Serios” about a bellboy who can project his thoughts onto unexposed film, according to Variety. How’s that for ”You’ve Got Pictures?”
SO LET IT BE DONE ”Once and Again” hunk Billy Campbell will play Moses in NBC’s biblical miniseries ”In the Beginning,” slated to air during November sweeps. Apparently this is part of the network’s repentance for ”God, the Devil and Bob.”
AWARDS SHOW UPDATE Though she’s not nominated this year, Susan Lucci will host the Daytime Emmy Awards on May 19…. Richard D. and Lili Fini Zanuck, the producers of this year’s much-panned Oscar ceremony, have said that they will never do it again. Sounds like Whitney Houston got to them, huh?