CASTING Janet Jackson has won a plum part: She will costar with Eddie Murphy in the sequel to ”The Nutty Professor.” Jackson, who’s no stranger to acting (”Poetic Justice”), reportedly auditioned for the role three times before Imagine Entertainment’s honchos cast her. She’ll even get to sing in the film, which starts production Oct. 5…. Patty Hearst, America’s most famous hostage, will join Melanie Griffith in director John Waters’ upcoming comedy, ”Cecil B. Demented,” which, coincidentally, centers around a kidnapping. ”Demented” follows a group of film cultists — including Stephen Dorff and Alicia Witt — who abduct a celebrity actress (Griffith) and force her to star in their underground movie…. France’s favorite actor (or at least second favorite, if you count Jerry Lewis), Gerard Depardieu is in negotiations to star opposite Glenn Close in Disney’s ”101 Dalmatians” sequel. Depardieu will play villain Monsieur LePelt, an associate of Cruella DeVille. Directed by Kevin Lima (”Tarzan”), ”102 Dalmatians” starts production in London Nov. 28.
LEGAL BRIEF Rapper Eminem‘s mother is suing him over childhood stories he’s told several media outlets, including ”Rolling Stone,” ”The Source,” and ”The Howard Stern Show.” Debbie Mathers-Briggs says her son, whose real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, implied in interviews that she was a mentally unstable drug user who roamed around aimlessly throughout the rapper’s growing years. Mom filed suit on Friday and is seeking $10 million in damages from her 26-year-old offspring. That should inspire some filial devotion, doncha think?
TV WATCH Mary Stuart Masterson (”Fried Green Tomatoes”) has signed a development deal with CBS for the 2000-01 season. Masterson, who has been cast in two upcoming CBS telefilms, including the adaptation of Anna Quindlen’s best-selling novel ”Black and Blue,” will star in a drama series for the newly merged Tiffany network…. It’s too little too late for ”Another World” fans: Just five months after NBC canceled its popular, longest-running soap to debut the youth-infused ”Passions,” the network is axing its three-year-old soap, ”Sunset Beach”. Produced by Aaron Spelling (his first soap), the ”Baywatch”-inspired series was last in the daytime ratings. NBC has not announced what will take ”Beach”’s place, but the series’ last episode will air Dec. 31
BOYCOTT To protest the lack of new TV shows starring minority actors, the NAACP and other national minority organizations announced Friday that they may boycott a TV network during this season’s sweeps weeks (in November and February). Although no specific details have been released, NAACP president Kweisi Mfume said, ”We are looking at trying to find a way to have a precision, laser-like strike.”
BOSS RULES More than 35,000 tickets to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s two October concerts in L.A. sold out in just a few minutes last Saturday, so the promoters decided to add two more dates, which also sold out. In Gilbert, Ariz., the phone company US West couldn’t handle all the fans trying to buy tickets for Bruce’s Oct. 15 show in Phoenix. The high volume of calls right after tickets went on sale Friday disrupted phone service for almost two hours. A total of 60,000 residents were affected, all for love of the Boss.
BROADWAY BOUND Recent Emmy winner Susan Lucci is ready to start her Tony campaign. The universally recognized soap queen is in talks to temporarily take over Bernadette Peters’ role in ”Annie Get Your Gun.” Lucci would replace Peters for three weeks, starting Dec. 21, while the current leading lady is on vacation.
BARKER ALERT Game-show host Bob Barker, who was hospitalized Thursday for exhaustion, will undergo surgery today to clear a blocked artery on the left side of his neck. According to George Washington University Hospital in D.C., the 75-year-old ”Price Is Right” host must receive treatment or he could potentially have a stroke. Barker will probably remain hospitalized until this Friday and will most likely not return to work until late October.