CHART NEWS Toni Braxton‘s comeback ”The Heat” sold 199,000 copies in its first week of release to debut at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200. But the ‘N Sync boys remain at the top spot by moving an additional 248,000 units of their ”No Strings Attached.” Rounding out the top 5 are Joe at No. 3, Sisqo at No. 4, and Cypress Hill debuting at No. 5 with their double CD ”Skull & Bones”…. Other notable debuts: Mya‘s ”Fear of Flying” at No. 15, and Neil Young‘s ”Silver and Gold” at No. 22.
JAILED Rapper DMX was ordered to serve 15 days in prison, as well pay a $350 fine and $30 in court costs, after pleading guilty to drug possession charges, driving without a license and outstanding parking tickets…. DMX, who has a cameo in the film ”Romeo Must Die,” will take a leading role opposite Steven Seagal in ”Exit Wounds” about a cop (Seagal) who fights corruption at an inner-city police precinct.
BIZ NEWS The FCC’s Cable Services Bureau ruled yesterday that Time Warner (EW’s parent company) violated a government rule prohibiting a cable provider from dropping a broadcaster during a ”sweeps period” when it removed ABC from its cable systems on Monday…. The FCC has approved the merger of CBS and Viacom (UPN, MTV, Paramount Pictures, Blockbuster). The $45 billion deal is set to close today.
MORE NAPSTER NEWS Napster Inc. said yesterday that it may ban up to 300,000 users whom the group Metallica claims are illegally swapping their songs. Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich delivered 30 boxes of documents to Napster yesterday including the names of the alleged copyright infringers. Gee, what will Metallica do next to win fans?
AWARDS Shania Twain was awarded ”Entertainer of the Year” at last night’s Academy of Country Music Awards. Other winners include Faith Hill for ”Top Female Vocalist,” Hill’s hubby Tim McGraw for ”Top Male Vocalist,” and the Dixie Chicks for ”Album of the Year” and ”Top Vocal Group.”
TV NEWS According to Variety, ABC will make a miniseries based on the forthcoming novel ”Gangster” by Lorenzo Carcaterra (”Sleepers”). The novel, which will be published in February, is the story of an orphan who is taken in by a violent crime boss and groomed to be his heir.
ACCOLADES Songwriters Hal David and Burt Bacharach will be the subject of a tribute at London’s Royal Albert Hall on June 30. Invited guests: Dionne Warwick, Elvis Costello, and Lisa Stansfield. Uninvited guest: Whitney Houston.
OBITUARY Steve Reeves, best known for his portrayal of Hercules in a series of low-budget Italian films, died Monday from complications related to lymphoma. He was 74.