Gregory Kirschling
March 19, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

MOVIES A movie-turned-musical-turned-movie! That’s John Waters’ Hairspray now that New Line is planning to turn the hit Broadway show into a movie musical, hopefully for 2006. So let’s call up Waters and ask if he’s pumped. ”Are you kidding?” he exclaims. ”Of course I’m excited. It’s being reinvented for a third time!”… Survivor exec producer Mark Burnett goes with God. For his feature-film debut, he’s optioned two religious-conspiracy thrillers by author Lewis Perdue (including Daughter of God, which Perdue claims was ripped off by The Da Vinci Code). And no, you unbelievers you, the huge success of the God-themed The Passion of the Christ had nothing to do with it; the brain behind The Apprentice (the Deal Report’s fave show, by the way) is just pre-rocking the zeitgeist again. ”I guess this looks like I jumped in yesterday, but this is a really, really long-term thing for me,” he says. ”There’s not a book on the subject I haven’t read.”

TELEVISION Is Missy Elliott America’s next top mogul? She’ll step into Donald Trump-style dress shoes for a new UPN ”dramality” show that has a bunch of wannabes tour with her and compete to be America’s next top hip-hop megastar. It films this spring.

BOOKS Life’s pretty much the same for comics innovator Harvey Pekar, even after the success of his biopic American Splendor last year. ”I haven’t changed my lifestyle or anything,” he says on the phone from Cleveland. ”I’m sitting in the same house, the same messy, cluttered house.” Except that he just closed a deal to put together three original graphic novels and another American Splendor anthology for Ballantine. The first, due this fall, will be about his life since the movie — less about, say, going to the Independent Spirit Awards (”It’s Hollywood patting itself on the back, a big drag”) and more about, in true Splendor style, his drippy ceiling (”I stuck a bunch of pails underneath where the thing was leaking”).

You May Like