NEWS ROUNDUP

Sidney Sheldon Dies at 89

Plus: ''Idol'' boss says no to Courtney Love rumor, victim's family sues Brandy for $50 million, and more...

Sidney Sheldon | Sheldon's credits include ''I Dream of Jeannie'' and ''The Patty Duke Show''
Image credit: Sidney Sheldon: Sebastian Artz/Getty Images
Sheldon's credits include ''I Dream of Jeannie'' and ''The Patty Duke Show''

Sidney Sheldon Dies at 89
The famed writer of movies, TV, and novels died on Tuesday of complications from pneumonia. Wife Alexandra and daughter, author Mary Sheldon, were at his side. Among his best-known works are Oscar winning movie The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, the TV series I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show, and best-selling novels The Other Side of Midnight and Windmills of the Gods. He also won a Tony for the book to the 1959 hit musical Redhead, which starred Gwen Verdon. (Variety)

Idol exec shoots down Courtney Love rumor
Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer for American Idol, says that rumors of rock singer Courtney Love coming to the show are not true. ''I did not call Courtney Love and am afraid someone may have misrepresented me,'' he said via a spokesperson. ''Courtney Love is a very talented artist, but the judges for American Idol are Paula, Randy and Simon. We have no plans to add to or replace any of them.''

Victim's family sues Brandy
The parents of the woman who died in a car accident that police say was caused by Brandy have sued the actress/singer for $50 million. The wrongful death suit, filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Brandy was driving recklessly. On Monday, the California Highway Patrol concluded an investigation of the accident and recommended that Brandy be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. She now awaits a decision from the city attorney's office on whether she will be charged. (Hollywood Reporter)

Hanks, Burke, Cross, and Hurt join Untraceable
Colin Hanks, Billy Burke, Joseph Cross, and Mary Beth Hurt will join Diane Lane in Lakeshore Entertainment's thriller Untraceable. The story is about an FBI agent (Lane) tracking down a ruthless online predator. Hanks will play Lane's FBI partner, and Cross will play the villain. Burke is Lane's character's love interest, and Hurt plays her character's mother. Gregory Hoblit (Frequency, Fallen) will direct. Shooting starts next month. (Hollywood Reporter)

Monahan talks to Scorsese about Departed sequel
William Monahan, writer of Martin Scorsese's The Departed, has talked with the director about doing a sequel. There were two sequels for Internal Affairs, the Hong Kong movie on which The Departed is based. There is no indication as to whether a sequel will happen or what Scorsese's involvement would be if it did. (Variety)

Idol still rules, but Heroes beats 24
Another strong showing from American Idol helped Fox again win adults 18-49 last week, averaging 33.9 million viewers and a 13.3 rating/33 share. NBC's Heroes beat 24, however, with 14.9 million, 6.6/15 to 24's 14.5 million, 5.4/12. (Hollywood Reporter)

Andrew Lloyd Webber to guest judge on Grease
The composer will help judge the remaining 12 finalists on the Feb. 11 edition of NBC's Grease: You're the One that I Want. The contestants will perform songs from musicals, including some written by Webber. (Hollywood Reporter)

DreamWorks acquires Gullible's Travels
The studio picked up a spec script for the sci-fi comedy, written by Ron Friedman and Steve Bencich, who also will executive produce. The story is about the most gullible man on the planet traveling through time via a portable toilet to save the life of the woman he loves. (Variety)

Harold and Kumar sequel in the works
Shooting began last week for Harold & Kumar 2, Mandate Pictures and New Line Cinema's a sequel about the pot-smoking duo. David Krumholtz, Neil Patrick Harris, Rob Corddry, Christopher Meloni, Ed Helms, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Paula Garces, Jack Conley, Roger Bart, Danneel Harris, and Eric Winter join a cast led by John Cho and Kal Penn. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who wrote the original Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, will direct the sequel from their original script. (Hollywood Reporter)

Pilot moves for Fox, ABC, NBC
Fox has tapped Danny Cannon to direct the drama pilot The Cure, about a group that cuts through medical bureaucracy red tape to get care to those who need it most. ABC ordered an untitled comedy pilot from Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah about co-worker friends at a top law firm who compete to make partner, and Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, a comedy written and executive produced by Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia about a ''nice girl'' trying to make it in the cutthroat corporate world. And NBC has tapped Tony Goldwyn to direct an untitled drama from writer/executive producers David Shore and Peter Blake centered on a female cop, played by Famke Janssen. Goldwyn recently directed the feature The Last Kiss. (Hollywood Reporter)

Fox stresses diversity for its pilots
Fox Entertainment president Peter Liguori told more than 40 producers that they need to step up efforts to hire diverse casts, writing staffs, and crew if they want to score pilot pick-ups on the network. (Variety)

IFC acquires indie Tigers
IFC Entertainment has acquired rights to Wild Tigers I Have Known, the coming-of-age movie from last year's Sundance about a 13-year-old who has a crush on another boy. Cam Archer wrote, directed, and produced. IFC plans on releasing the movie at the end of February. It will also be available via On Demand on Comcast and Cablevision. (Variety)

Burger King sees strong video game sales
The fast food chain said it sold 3.2 million copies of the three video games it made available over the holidays for Xbox 360. Each game sold about a million units at $3.99 a piece, bringing in about $12.8 million in revenue. They ranked among the holiday season's top selling games. Burger King CEO John Chidsey said the videogame offering was a key driver of overall 4 percent sales growth and restaurant traffic in the company's fourth quarter. (Variety)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: P. Diddy's security swiped a digital camera memory card from a photographer snapping photos of him dancing with Sienna Miller.

Liz Smith: Former Miss America Phyllis George is eyeing a political run in Kentucky.

Rush & Molloy: Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen weren't just simulating the sex in a scene for Factory Girl.

Originally posted Jan 31, 2007
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