LEGALESE A judge has set a Jan. 2 start date for the Sean ”Puffy” Combs and Co. weapons trial. Puff Daddy angered prosecutors by arriving several minutes late, after being mobbed by fans seeking autographs outside the courthouse. The Assistant District Attorney asked the judge to make Puffy adhere to regulations in the future, according to Rolling Stone. He also suggested that the rapper should remove his sunglasses. This drew fire from Puffy’s attorney, who said that Combs’ accessories were none of their business. Puff Daddy and his bodyguard Anthony ”Wolf” Jones were charged with weapons possession, while Jamal ”Shyne” Barrow was charged with attempted murder. Because Barrow is busy promoting his new album, ”Shyne,” his attorney asked that he be excused from other pretrial hearings before Jan. 2. The judge declined the request. But, hey, we’ll try to make up for it by plugging his album every time Shyne shows up in court.
MUSIC NEWS The Dixie Chicks are adding 15 more dates to their Fly tour. The chart topping trio has already racked up some $25 million in ticket sales and performed for more than 700,000 fans. The new shows are likely to begin Nov. 12. In the meantime the Chicks will also be appearing Oct. 4 at the Country Music Association awards, where they are competing for the Entertainer of the Year prize…. Dido, the British singer/ songwriter featured on Eminem’s ”Marshall Mathers LP,” is emerging from the background. She will appear with the rapper on ”Saturday Night Live”’s season opener, Oct. 7, and on his video for the single ”Stan.” She may be slim, but she’s hardly shady.
CASTING Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn are in negotiations to play a pair of ex groupies, in a film aptly titled the ”Banger Sisters.” According to Empire, the film’s plot centers around the two women when they meet again after having drifted apart. Sarandon will play a socialite who hides her raunchy past, while Hawn is a waitress who revels in her reminiscence. Call it ”Almost Famous 2 – Mom’s Turn.”
TV NEWS Fox and NBC are drawing criticism from election officials for their decision not to air at least one of the presidential debates. CBS, on the other hand, is garnering praise because the net has decided to add extra coverage of the campaign to their nightly news segments. ”If CBS can do it, why can’t others,” Paul Taylor, exec director of the Alliance for Better Campaigns told the Hollywood Reporter. ”ABC, NBC, and Fox should stop treating democracy as if it were a cash cow and start opening the airwaves to something better than attack ads and sound bites.”
OSCAR The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences added a new award category to their roster for the first time in almost 20 years. As early as March 2002, the Academy will begin handing out an Oscar for Best Animated Film. Right now, cartoon pics compete with live action features – and the only one to have been nominated in the best picture category is 1992’s ”Beauty and the Beast.” Animators have been lobbying for a change for years. Of course, Disney doesn’t have any sway with those guys.
DEATHS Emmy winning actor Richard Mulligan has died after a long battle with cancer. Mulligan’s 40 year career included starring roles in the awarding winning series ”Soap” and ”Empty Nest.” He was 67.