ON STRIKE? Keri Russell’s short work stoppage came to an abrupt end after ”Felicity” producers Imagine TV and Walt Disney’s Touchstone TV persuaded her to show up or face legal action. Russell, apparently getting some bad advice from her management team, was looking to get $100,000 per episode, the equivalent of what the cast of the hit show ”Friends” makes. (The young star now earns somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 per show.) Someone should have reminded her that more adults 18 to 49 watch Dick Van Dyke on CBS’ ”Diagnosis Murder” than see her whine on the WB every week.
WOODSTOCK WRAP-UP Woodstock ’99 was just like its 1969 counterpart, man… oh, except for instead of ending with good vibes galore, this time it concluded with raging fires, explosions, and rioting. Peace candles were handed out during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ closing act Sunday night, but instead of creating the intended glow of mutual love, they were used by concertgoers to spark bonfires; people fed the flames with garbage and plywood sheets torn down from the speaker and TV-camera towers. Meanwhile, other attendees began tearing down tents, and looting ATMs, souvenir and food stands. New York state troopers in riot gear arrived to clear the area to let fire trucks through, as many of the marauded trailers began to explode when propane tanks caught fire.
GOING LOCA CBS is going to find a younger audience or die trying: The network announced that it has paid more than $1 million to air a Ricky Martin concert special, most likely for November sweeps. (The show will probably be taped this fall at an unannounced theater in New York City.) The network also announced two other musical events that are aimed at its faithful middle-age crowd: televised concerts by Shania Twain and Celine Dion.
LAWSUIT The media circus surrounding the JFK Jr. tragedy just got an extra ring: Fox News has filed a $500,000 lawsuit against ”Entertainment Tonight,” according to Variety, charging that the nightly show used the network’s home-video footage of Kennedy at a July 4, 1998, barbecue without permission. The tape had originally aired on ”Fox Files,” and while Fox licensed 10-second clips from it to ”Access Hollywood,” ”Extra,” and some local stations, it turned down ”ET,” which used about a minute of the footage anyway. Paramount TV, which owns ”ET,” reportedly had no comment.
CASTING Ellen DeGeneres may be returning to TV, in a ”Larry Sanders”-esque comedy about the host of a variety show — the program would consist of sketches ostensibly from her fictional program and then scenes from her life backstage. (An approach that failed miserably for Martin Short in his short-lived skitcom.) If the pilot passes, CBS would air the series in the 2000-01 season…. More names are lining up for New Line’s ”The Lord of the Rings” trilogy: Ian McKellen (”Gods and Monsters”) will play the kindly wizard Gandalf, while Ian Holm (”The Sweet Hereafter”) may star as the original hobbit, Bilbo Baggins…. In an as-yet-untitled film, David Arquette will play a rabid wrestling fan who, when his favorite grappler loses his championship match, travels to WWF headquarters to do whatever it takes to right that wrong. Gee, who could picture someone as mild-mannered as Arquette as an unbalanced, screaming wrestling fan?
REEL DEAL Demi Moore‘s production company, Moving Pictures, has inked a one-year production deal with Miramax. She may not have had an acting hit in a while, but she’s doing all right as a producer, with ”Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” to her credit.
ARRESTED Guns N’ Roses had better get back together soon, if for no other reason than to give its members something to do other than get in trouble. The ex-band’s guitarist Slash (a.k.a. Saul Hudson) was arrested Saturday night when his girlfriend told police that he had allegedly beaten her at a West Hollywood hotel. Slash was freed on $50,000 bail.
REWARDED It’s been a good week for ”The Sopranos”: After leading the Emmy nominations with 16 nods, the HBO drama was given a record-setting four awards by the Television Critics Association on Friday. The Mob hit was named best program, best new program, and outstanding drama. Star James Gandolfini was cited for individual achievement in drama, along with ”The Practice” creator David E. Kelley.
PUNK MEMORIES Never mind Errol Morris, here comes the Sex Pistols: A new documentary will be released by Fine Line next year all about the seminal punk band and will include interviews with the still-breathing members and never-before-seen footage of chats with Sid Vicious. The film is directed by Julian Temple, who also made the 1980 Pistols film ”The Great Rock & Roll Swindle,” which focused as much on the band’s manager, Malcolm McLaren, as on the band itself.