News Roundup: CBS pulls Imus radio show | EW.com

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News Roundup: CBS pulls Imus radio show

Plus: Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84, Forest Whitaker set for Denzel Washington-directed movie, Frasier in and Weisz out for ''Mummy 3,''and more...

Don Imus

(Richard Drew/AP)

CBS Yanks Imus in the Morning
CBS announced on Thursday (April 12) that it would stop broadcasting Don Imus’ radio show Imus in the Morning effective immediately. Earlier in the week, CBS said Imus would only have to serve a two-week suspension, starting Monday. The CBS announcement comes a day after NBC said that it would no longer simulcast the show on its MSNBC cable channel. Imus has been at the center of a major controversy since he referred to the mostly black Rutgers University women’s basketball team as ”nappy-headed hos” during a broadcast last week. CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement: ”From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent…. There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision, as have the many emails, phone calls, and personal discussions we have had with our colleagues across the CBS Corporation and our many other constituencies.” Imus has apologized repeatedly for the remarks and has said he would like to talk to the players and their coaches and families, but no such meeting has taken place. (CNN)

Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84
American writer Kurt Vonnegut, author of some 20 novels, including Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle, died Wednesday (April 11) at 84. His books were must-reads for the American counterculture, especially college students in the 1960s and 70s. Slaughterhouse was written in 1969, during the Vietnam War and a period of social unrest in the U.S., and contained the phrase ”so it goes,” which became a catchphrase for opponents of the war. Vonnegut suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, according to his wife, photographer Jill Krementz. (Hollywood Reporter)

Forest Whitaker in talks to star in Denzel Washington-directed movie
This year’s Best Actor Oscar winner (for The Last King of Scotland) is negotiating to star alongside Denzel Washington in The Great Debaters, the 1930s-set, fact-based story of a debate team from a black East Texas college whose members win the right to go head-to-head with a team from Harvard. Washington, who will play the debaters’ coach, will also direct the film (his follow-up to Antwone Fisher) for the Weinstein Company. Whitaker would play a student’s father. Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte are producing. (Variety)

Frasier in, Weisz out for Mummy 3
Rachael Weisz will not reprise her role alongside returning star Brendon Frasier in the third installment of the Mummy franchise, which is set to being production in late summer for a summer 2008 release. This will be the first installment not directed by Stephen Sommers, with Rob Cohen taking over helming duties. Jet Li has been cast as a villain. Weisz’s decision to opt out is being attributed to scheduling conflicts. She is attached to several current projects, including The Brothers Bloom and Phillip Noyce’s Dirt Music, which is set to begin shooting in August. Frasier, who is said to have inked a very rich deal to return, is set to have a huge year in 2008, with roles in Journey 3D, New Line’s adaptation of Journey to the Center of the Earth, and New Line’s Inkheart, the Iain Softley-directed adaptation of the Cornelia Funke novel, both scheduled to join Mummy 3 with releases in 2008. (Variety)

Howard, Hanks closing in on Da Vinci prequel
Sources say director Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are in final negotiations to re-team for Columbia Pictures for an adaptation of Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, a prequel to The Da Vinci Code. The studio will not confirm, but sources close to the situation are saying the project has already been given a January start date with A-list casting directors Jane Jenkins and Debbie McWilliams hired to fill the supporting roles. (Hollywood Reporter)

Phil Trail to direct Sandra Bullock movie
Phil Traill will make his feature directorial debut in All About Steve, starring Sandra Bullock, for Fox 2000. The story is about a crossword constructor (Bullock) who falls in love with a CNN cameraman after just one date. She crisscrosses the country following him, and though her love is unrequited, she finds she’s become part of a band of misfits who appreciate her for who she is. Bullock is producing through her Fortis Films production company. Shooting starts this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)

Roscoe Lee Browne dies at 81
Emmy-winning, Tony Award-nominated actor Roscoe Lee Browne died Wednesday (April 11) at 81. In addition to participating in everything from classic theater to TV cartoons, he was also was a poet and a world-class athlete. His recent credits include narrating the 1995 hit movie Babe. He won an Emmy in 1986 for a guest role as Professor Foster on The Cosby Show, and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Tony for his role in 1992 ‘s Broadway production Two Trains Running, one of August Wilson’s plays on the black experience. He was also the snobbish black lawyer trapped in an elevator with Archie Bunker in an episode of All in the Family and the butler Saunders on Soap. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sarsgaard, Hopper join Dying Animal
Peter Sarsgaard, Dennis Hopper, and Deborah Harry will appear alongside Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, and Patricia Clarkson in Lakeshore Entertainment’s adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novella Dying Animal. The story is about a graduate student (Cruz) who gets involved in an erotic affair with her hedonistic professor (Kingsley), a cultural critic obsessed with female beauty. Years after their relationship ends, she returns with a shocking revelation that forever changes his life. Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life of Words) will direct. This is Lakeshore’s second adaptation of a Roth book, following The Human Stain. Production is scheduled to begin next month. (Hollywood Reporter)

Casino Royale writers hired for new Barbarella
Writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Casino Royale) have been hired by producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis to pen a reinvention of the 1968 Jane Fonda sci-fi fantasy Barbarella. The remake will reinvent Barbarella as a modern female who survives in a futuristic world through her intelligence, fighting skills, and sexuality. No timetable has been set on seeking a studio. (Variety)

Jay Mohr to star with Brian Austin Green in CBS pilot
Jay Mohr has been tapped to star in an as-yet untitled CBS office-buddy comedy pilot about two friends and writing partners — one straight (Mohr) and one gay (Brian Austin Green) — and the women (Jessica Capshaw, Vanessa Lengies) who work with them. (Hollywood Reporter)

Daily Show’s Lewis Black gets Comedy Central pilot
Daily Show contributor Lewis Black will host Comedy Central pilot The Root of All Evil, which will feature the comedian as a judge presiding over cases involving political figures, celebrities, and pop culture accused of being ”the root of all evil.” The pilot includes the cases of Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney and chick flicks vs. video games. Guests will appear as attorneys on each side. (Hollywood Reporter)

Kimora Lee Simmons gets Style reality series
Style Network will launch its first reality show with Kimora, a comedy-based series that will chronicle the life of fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons, CEO of Baby Phat. The show is set to launch this summer. (Variety)

CBS resurrecting Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears
CBS is bringing back the kids show series Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake with new episodes scheduled for next fall as part of its three-hour FCC-required Saturday morning block. Care Bears will celebrate 25 years with the new episodes. (Hollywood Reporter)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Rush & Molloy: Keifer Bonvillain, the man who said he was writing a bio of Oprah Winfrey after he was arrested for allegedly shaking her down, now claims he was set up by Winfrey’s lawyers.

People.com: Fergie sent Alanis Morissette a cake the shape of a tush to show how much she appreciates her cover of ''My Humps'', which has become a YouTube sensation.