MOVIES And he thought Chicago was windy: Richard Gere will star in Emperor Zehnder, about animal photographer Bruno Zehnder, some of which will be shot in Antarctica.... Malibu's Most Wanted's Jamie Kennedy is in talks for The Mask 2.... Damon Wayans will reprise his Homey the Clown character from Fox's In Living Color for a feature. Brother Keenan Ivory Wayans will direct.
TELEVISION Within days of P.O.W. Jessica Lynch's rescue, NBC announced plans to make a TV movie of the 19-year-old's ordeal -- with or without the family's go-ahead -- likely to air later this year.... Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher (Frequency), and James Cromwell (Babe) have signed up for TNT's miniseries of Stephen King's Salem's Lot.... NBC and DreamWorks will team for Father of the Pride, a CGI animation prime-time series about a family of white lions who work with Siegfried & Roy.... More Les: CBS signed a new five-year contract with president-CEO Les Moonves.
MUSIC Apple is negotiating with Vivendi Universal to buy Universal Music Group, says a source familiar with the negotiations. A deal, which could accelerate the pace of digital music distribution, may be discussed at Vivendi's April 29 board meeting; Vivendi is entertaining other offers.
BOOKS Olympic skater Katarina Witt collaborates with Sports Illustrated scribe E.M. Swift on a book of anecdotes and advice to be released in fall 2004.... Cheryl Howard, wife of director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) signed a deal with St. Martins to publish her first novel. -- Evan Serpick
''What they used to pay everyone else -- all combined -- they now pay me.'' -- NOAH WYLE, ER'S SOLE REMAINING ORIGINAL CAST MEMBER, UPON CELEBRATING THE SHOW'S 200TH EPISODE