BOY BANDS It’s showdown at the synchronized-dance corral: The Backstreet Boys recently announced that they want to part from Jive Records, and it’s primarily because they don’t want to be on the same label as new Jive signees ‘N Sync, according to Billboard Online. This would be the second time ‘N Sync has put the Boys in a snit: Last year they fired their management when it signed ‘N Sync. However, this rivalry isn’t the only thing behind the split. A source tells Billboard that the band is ”tired of being exploited. Their unhappiness [with the label] is rooted in their feeling of betrayal and deceit”…. Unfazed by this antagonism, ‘N Sync’s Justin Timberlake will play a supermodel whose girlfriend switches places with a look-alike in ”Cover Girls,” a TV movie produced for ”The Wonderful World of Disney.”
TEEN TV If you’ve ever wondered how a teen group makes it big, then has ABC got the show for you. The network is teaming with the creators of ”The Real World” to produce a documentary series that will follow Lou Pearlman (who helped created the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync) as he holds auditions for a new teenage singing team, and then assembles a group and produces a record for them. For that extra ”Who stole my hair gel?” tension, the new band will also live together in a house in Orlando. And the show doesn’t have to worry about the group failing, because ABC’s parent company, Disney, will likely sign the boys-to-be on its Hollywood label and will give them airplay on its radio stations.
SICK AND TIRED Gillian Anderson may be putting the final nail in the coffin of ”The X-Files.” ”Physically, psychologically, I don’t think I could do another season,” she told ”Access Hollywood.” ”I think it would be a mistake to draw it out. You want to go out with a modicum of respect.” Of course, she is signed for another year after this one, so if Chris Carter and David Duchovny decide to go on (which is doubtful), it may take an alien abduction to get her out.
CASTING After prolonged casting struggles for the ”Charlie’s Angels” remake, the film is finally going to start shooting. Variety reports that Thandie Newton (”Beloved”) will join Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz to complete the crime-fighting trio, and production will begin Dec. 6 following a rewrite by John August (”Go”). Of course, it wouldn’t be ”Angels” unless something was still up in the air, and now producers are trying to woo Bill Murray to play Bosley…. You know that old plot where the respected federal agent finds himself framed and has to go into hiding to prove his innocence? Well, next time you see it, it will star Sean Connery and will be called ”End Game”…. In a torrid pair-up that’s just nonerotic enough to perversely peak your curiosity, Linda Fiorentino and Ben Kingsley are teaming to depict the true-life romance of Georgia O’Keefe and Alfred Steiglitz in ”Till the End of Time”…. Tom Wopat, John Schneider, and Catherine Bach are reuniting for another ”Dukes of Hazzard” reunion TV movie for CBS. Yeehah.
REEL DEAL Renaissance man Fred Durst will direct his first feature film, ”Nature’s Cure,” for Warner Bros. The drama has been described as a cross between ”The Breakfast Club” and ”The Game.”
MARRIAGE UPS AND DOWNS Minnie Driver has gotten engaged to actor Josh Brolin (”Flirting With Disaster”), although no date has been set, according to Britain’s Hello! magazine. So put THAT in your Good Will and Hunt it, Damon!…. After five years of marriage, Trisha Yearwood is divorcing her husband, musician Robert Reynolds, citing that old chestnut, irreconcilable differences.
ON STAGE Kate Winslet may take over the roles that Calista Flockhart originated this summer Off Broadway when Neil LaBute’s set of one-act plays ”Bash” premieres in London next February.
EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY MOVIEMAKER Making sure that there is not one person on the planet who can’t experience the majesty that is his ”Titanic,” James Cameron has released another video version of the film that is specially tailored for the blind. In this release (the first widely distributed home-video production of its kind), Cameron and Angie Dickinson take turns vividly describing the action on screen on the soundtrack, while not talking over the dialogue. It proves an enlightening experience for those that can’t see the details, except for the moments when Cameron can’t control himself and blurts out, ”Now Jack is standing on the bridge and… DEAR GOD, I’M RICH!”
FAN TROUBLE Twenty-six Phish fans were arrested, most on drug-possession charges, after the band’s concert at Iowa State University Friday night, according to the Associated Press. ”If [the band] never comes back, it will be too soon,” said chief of police Dennis Ballantine, who added that he is going to ask the college to ban the group. Yeah, wait until Limp Bizkit comes to town and the school’s on fire, then he’ll be BEGGING for Phish.
PRESIDENTIAL DREAMS Proving that Minnesotans have completely lost their perspective when it comes to politics, Reform Party members from the state have launched a website trying to draft Oprah Winfrey as a presidential candidate. ”It is Jesse Ventura times 100,” said Paul Larsen, a party leader who apparently means that as a compliment. ”She’s got 1,000 times as much money, 100 times the name recognition. She has a sterling reputation for honesty.” Winfrey’s spokesperson says the talk show host isn’t interested.
INNOCENT Frank Sanello, the author of an unauthorized bio of Sharon Stone, has been found innocent in a defamation suit filed against him by Stone’s old law firm. Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman maintained that the actress fired them after reading a passage in ”Naked Instinct” that said that one of its lawyers said Stone would make passes at men by telling them that she had a hotel room, where and when to meet her, and that ”she makes it clear it’s a one-time opportunity, take it or leave it.” The lawyer who Sanello quoted has since left the firm, which filed the $3 million suit in 1997. ”It’s been a two-year nightmare,” Sanello told Variety. ”I was publicly branded a liar, but the jury begged to differ.”
OBITUARY Martin Davis, the media giant who rose through Gulf + Western and controlled Paramount, died Monday of a heart attack at the age of 72.