Sex and the City movie in the works
New Line is on board with HBO to finance and distribute a movie version of the former HBO series Sex in the City. Series stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon are all on board to reprise their roles. SATC writer/director/executive producer Michael Patrick King will direct from a script he wrote and will produce with Parker, John Melfi, and Darren Star. Shooting is tentatively scheduled to begin this fall. A SATC movie has been a hot topic since the show went off the air in 2004 after a six-season run. It almost happened two years ago but hit a snag when Cattrall backed off, citing timing conflicts, though multiple reports claimed the real reasons she walked away were that she wasn’t granted script approval or a salary equal to Parker’s. However, Variety reports that Cattrall is happy with her deal for the movie, which gives her input on her scenes, a hefty salary, and a future series deal with HBO. (Variety)
Van Halen tour booking venues
Billboard reports that several arenas in major markets have set up dates for a Van Halen tour this fall. A 40-date, Live Nation-produced tour was canceled earlier this year when Eddie Van Halen checked into rehab in March, but he has since been seen in public looking clean and fit. The lineup would include Eddie and Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass. Roth left the band more than 20 years ago amid tension but in recent years has hinted that a reunion was ”inevitable.” (Billboard)
Iran president rejects Oliver Stone movie proposal
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected Oliver Stone’s proposal to make a film about him because Stone is part of the ”Great Satan” cultural establishment, according to the Iranian Fars news agency. Mehdi Kalhor, media adviser to the president, was quoted as saying, ”It is right that this person is considered part of the opposition in the U.S., but opposition in the U.S. is a part of the Great Satan.” Stone responded in a statement saying, ”I have been called a lot of things, but never a Great Satan…. I wish the Iranian people well, and only hope their experience with an inept, rigid ideologue president goes better than ours.” (Hollywood Reporter)
Music sales fell again in 2006
Despite a major boost in digital music sales, the global recorded music market in 2006 slipped by 5 percent to $19.6 billion, down from $20.7 billion in 2005. The slide marks seven straight years of falling sales. Sales of physical CDs fell 11 percent to $17.5 billion in 2006, while global digital music sales skyrocketed 85 percent to $2.1 billion, not including mobile phone ringtone revenues. International Federation of the Phonographic Industry chairman John Kennedy claims that 795 million tracks were legally downloaded online during 2006 compared to 20 billion files illegally downloaded in the same period. Kennedy predicted that digital sales will jump another 50 percent in 2007, topping $3 billion, but stressed the importance of making music available for playback on different devices while minimizing the potential for copyright infringement. (Variety)
Deadwood’s Sexton heads to NBC series
Brent Sexton, who played Harry Manning on HBO’s Deadwood, has been cast in NBC’s upcoming drama Life. The story is about an ex-cop (Damian Lewis) who rejoins the force after serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Sexton will play the cop’s former partner, a role he originated in the pilot as a guest star. Sexton also recently completed two episodes of Showtime’s Weeds. (Hollywood Reporter)
ABC tops nightly news ratings
ABC News’ World News with Charles Gibson won last quarter’s ratings with an average of 8 million viewers, beating out NBC’s Nightly News With Brian Williams (7.5 million) and CBS’ Evening News With Katie Couric (6.1 million). It is ABC’s World News’ first quarterly win in more than a decade. The ABC newscast’s viewership increased 7 percent, while NBC’s declined 4 percent and CBS fell 9 percent. (Variety)
Botswana backing Weinstein movie
Botswana is teaming with the Weinstein Co. for a movie adaptation of Rhodesian-born Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency book series. The story is set in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. Botswana has invested $5 million into the film, which will be the first major production to shoot entirely in the African nation. Directed by Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain, The English Patient), Agency will be designed as a TV movie that can spin-off into a series. American singer Jill Scott will star as Precious Ramotswe, the series’ heroine and proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana. Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) will play Precious’ quirky secretary Mma Makutsi, and Lucian Msamati will play Precious’ suitor JLB Matekoni. Shooting is set to start next week. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
People.com: Former Vice President Al Gore’s son, Al Gore III, 24, was arrested early Wednesday morning on suspicion of possession of marijuana and a number of prescription drugs. Gore was pulled over around 2:15 a.m. on July 4 driving his Toyota Prius in excess of 100 m.p.h. just south of Los Angeles. After police smelled marijuana smoke, they searched the car and found marijuana, Xanax, Valium, Vicodin, and Adderall. Gore III was arrested in 2003 for marijuana possession and in 2002 for suspicion of driving under the influence, according to Reuters.
Page Six: Kim Porter, Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs’ longtime girlfriend and mother of three of his four kids, has moved out of their apartment and is headed for L.A. Combs and Porter split during the hip-hop mogul’s relationship with Jennifer Lopez, but reunited shortly after that ended.
Ben Widdicombe: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon used a joint family vacation to Hawaii to rekindle their writing partnership. Damon’s rep confirms that they are planning a return to screenwriting together.