MUSICAL SWITCH Has Sean ”Puffy” Combs found God after his recent arrest for allegedly beating a record executive senseless? He is hard at work on a gospel album called ”Thank You” that will be released this fall, according to SonicNet. Faith Evans and Brian McKnight are just a couple of the high-profile singers Combs has recruited to testify (albeit not in a legal sense — there he’s on his own). Combs’ religious devotion apparently runs deep: He allegedly beat Interscope exec Steve Stoute with a chair and telephone because Stoute had included footage of Combs on a cross for a Nas video, footage which the wunderkind producer reportedly had asked him to remove because it was sacrilegious. This doesn’t mean that Combs is abandoning rap for the word of the Lord: He has a new hip-hop album, ”Forever,” coming out on Aug. 24.
NEW DAD Johnny Depp is now a father. His girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis, gave birth to Lily-Rose Melody Depp on Thursday. No word yet on whether Depp is teaching his daughter how to trash her nursery.
CONCERT TROUBLE Lenny Kravitz went backstage after playing only four songs in a New Jersey concert Sunday night and promptly passed out, reportedly from heat exhaustion. The show, which had opened with the Black Crowes and Everlast, ended early…. Right before Kenny Rogers took to the stage Sunday night, his London concert was abruptly canceled and the audience of 3,000 was evacuated after a bomb threat was called in to the Royal Albert Hall. No bomb was uncovered, and there’s no word yet on who made the call. The show will be rescheduled.
LILITH UPDATE Hole has officially jumped aboard Lilith Fair, but only for two dates. The band will get in touch with its feminine side on Aug. 10 in Columbus, Ohio, and on Aug. 11 in Cincinnati.
WEDDINGS Ben Folds got hitched down in Australia last week to his girlfriend, Frally, who is reportedly expecting twins in July. It’s Folds’ third marriage.
LAWSUIT Sammy Hagar has landed an injunction temporarily barring the sale of an unauthorized biography of him. The book was written by David Huff, who claims the two were supposed to collaborate on Hagar’s autobiography. But last year Hagar allegedly dropped out of the project, and Huff used the interviews he’d compiled so far to finish the book. Hagar claims that the book shouldn’t be sold because the interview tapes were legally his. MTV News also reports that Hagar is nervous about the aspects of the biography that deal with his breakup with Van Halen, especially since the band’s manager, Ray Danniels, has threatened to sue him if he mentions Danniel’s role in the split. A hearing is going to be scheduled to determine who owns the rights to the material in the book.
CASTING Ashley Judd is teaming with Natalie Portman in ”Where the Heart Is,” the story of a pregnant teen who moves into a Wal-Mart when her boyfriend scrams…. ”Mr. Show”’s David Cross has joined the robbery comedy ”Shiny New Enemies,” playing a grown man who has trouble leaving his Boy Scout days behind.
TV WATCH The producers of ”Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” already have two new half-hour action/comedies set to take the strongman’s place when his show goes off the air in January after five-and-a-half years. (The last original ”Hercules” will air the week of Nov. 15.) ”Jack of All Trades” centers around an 18th-century superspy stationed in the Caribbean, and ”Cleopatra 2525” features the adventures of a frozen exotic dancer who is dethawed 500 years in the future, when evil robots rule the planet. Who says high concept is dead?