LET THE SCREAMING BEGIN More proof of the existence of a benevolent supreme being: ‘N Sync fans won’t have to beg for a ride to see their favorite fivesome live, because the band has scheduled a 75-minute pay-per-view concert on Sep. 11. It’s the first broadcast from the band’s current tour, and word has it that this time around, they’ve only gotten dreamier.
CASTING Charlize Theron has joined ”The Legend of Bagger Vance” as the ex-girlfriend of a golfer (Matt Damon) who returns to the sport after a disturbing stint as a soldier in WWI. Think they’ll get back together at the end? Let’s see: two gorgeous movie stars, uplifting tale — nah, it’ll never happen…. Sandra Bullock will play an FBI agent going undercover as a beauty-contest finalist in ”Miss Congeniality.” This is why the term ”high-concept” was invented…. Gerard Depardieu and John Malkovich may team for yet another adaptation of ”Les Miserables,” this time as a Hallmark miniseries for the Odyssey cable network…. ”Summer of Sam”’s Adrien Brody will star as an activist prodding Latino janitors to unionize in Ken Loach‘s next film, ”Bread and Roses,” his first movie to be shot in the U.S.
ON THE ROAD Melanie C (Sporty Spice) is promoting her new solo album, ”Northern Star,” with a speedy 30-day world tour. (Is she trying to outrun bad reviews?) So far there are only three North American shows planned for the lineup, Oct. 1 in New York, Oct. 4 in Toronto, and Oct. 7 in L.A.
HEALTH UPDATE Martin Lawrence is ”healing a lot quicker than we thought he would,” said a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles hospital where the comedian is recuperating from severe heatstroke that led to a three-day coma. He was upgraded from critical to serious condition and has been taken off a ventilator, according to Reuters. The mouthpiece for Los Robles Regional Medical Center said the doctors have nicknamed Lawrence their ”miracle man,” but she cautioned that ”he’s still very ill, very sick. His body is slowly healing itself, but it’s not going to be an overnight thing.”
MARKETING MAGIC ”That ’70s Show” has spawned not one but two soundtracks that will be released on Sep. 28. The first will feature classic arena rock, while the second will focus on funky ’70s tunes, from bands like Parliament and Rufus.
IN DEMAND Chris Noth sure got a rise from ”Sex and the City”: CBS has signed the ”Law and Order” vet to a one-year deal to star in an undetermined series for the network and possibly in a TV movie.
BIRTH U2’s Bono has a new sweetest thing: His wife Ali gave birth to a 7-pound 2-ounce baby boy on Aug. 18. The couple already has two daughters.
GUILTY As his lawyers said he would, Oliver Stone pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possessing marijuana, according to the Associated Press. Through his plea bargain, he received three years probation and a $390 fine, as well as another three years of unsupervised probation for drunk driving, which was why cops pulled him over in the first place and discovered the pot in his car. He will have to attend a drunk-driving-education program, and his license has been modified so he can only drive to and from work or a drug- and alcohol-treatment program.
OUT OF THE HOUSE White House press conferences just got a lot quieter: Sam Donaldson will no longer be attending. Although he’ll retain the title of chief White House correspondent for ABC, he will now leave the everyday reporting to another, as-yet-unanointed correspondent. His hair, however, may still pop over to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. occasionally for old time’s sake.