LEGAL BRIEFS LeAnn Rimes claims her father and her former comanager stole more than $7 million of her income. The 17 year old star (and her mother, Belinda Rimes) filed suit in Dallas last week against Wilbur C. Rimes and Lyle Walker, alleging that they took funds away from her and the company established in 1995 to manage her finances. According to an AP report, Rimes’ lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, because the singer’s attorneys don’t know how much money was taken. Mr. Rimes’ lawyer said the accusations are ”completely false,” and that his client’s compensation ”was fair”…. Clint Eastwood is fighting a lawsuit claiming his Carmel, Calif., hotel, Mission Ranch, violates the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. A wheelchair-bound hotel guest, Diane Zum Brunnen, filed a lawsuit three years ago demanding that the actor/director renovate at least one bathroom and the parking lot to accommodate the handicapped. Now Zum Brunnen is complaining that Eastwood has taken too long to make the hotel wheelchair accessible. Her lawyer, Paul Rein, told the AP that Eastwood bought the hotel for $4 million and spent $6.7 million to renovate it, but he refuses to spend the approximately $7,000 to fix a few things. Eastwood says he wasn’t given enough time to comply with the Act before Zum Brunnen filed her suit.
CASTING Ricky Martin and Natalie Portman are in early negotiations to star in the much anticipated sequel to ”Dirty Dancing.” Artisan Entertainment and Miramax Films have teamed to update the 1987 teen classic, which starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Studio execs announced at Cannes yesterday that the sequel will take place in South Beach and have a Latin twist.
BUSTED Mr. Whitney Houston, a.k.a. Bobby Brown, is in trouble again. Brown was arrested Wednesday at the Newark Airport in New Jersey, after arriving home from vacation in the Bahamas. According to the AP, Jersey customs agents took the singer into custody on an 11 month old warrant accusing him of violating probation in a Florida-based drunk-driving case. Brown was transported to a Fort Lauderdale jail, where he is awaiting a court appearance on May 22. The warrant was released last June when Brown’s probation officer reported that the bad boy’s drug test showed cocaine use, and that he refused to give another urine sample. If you’ve forgotten, the Florida court ordered probation because Brown crashed Houston’s sports car into a condominium sign last year.
AWARDS ALERT Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey took the highest honors, best-selling male and female artists of the millennium, at the 12th Annual World Music Awards. Held Wednesday night at Monte Carlo’s Sporting Club, the WMA ceremony was broadcasted live to approximately 900 million viewers in 150 countries. Ricky Martin was named the world’s best-selling pop male artist and The Backstreet Boys were awarded the world’s best-selling pop, dance, R&B, and American group.
TV WATCH Variety reports that NBC may move ”Frasier” back from its Must See Thursday-night spot to its old Tuesday-night time slot. Peacock sources say the network is seriously considering moving ”Will & Grace” into the Emmy winning sitcom’s space. Kelsey Grammer is reportedly protesting the schedule switch, which would attempt to anchor Tuesday’s new shows with ”Frasier.” However, Grammer and Paramount TV, which produces the ensemble series, apparently feel the move would cause ratings to plummet, since the show will be in its eighth season. NBC makes its formal announcement about the fall lineup on Monday…. Frankie Avalon, singer and star of the popular 1960s beach movies, has signed on to star in a Mafia-themed sitcom, ”Fuhgedabowdit.” Set in Brooklyn, the show follows a Mob boss (Avalon) who’s trying to get his three kids into the legit world. Now 60 years old, Avalon sang two No. 1 hits: ”Venus” and ”Why.” ”Fuhgedabowdit” is currently being shopped around to networks and syndicators…. Hallie Eisenberg (the Pepsi girl) will play Helen Keller in a TV adaptation of William Gibson’s 1959 play ”The Miracle Worker,” for ABC. Alison Elliott (”The Spitfire Grill”) will costar as Annie Sullivan, Keller’s famous teacher. The TV movie will be shown during ABC’s ”Wonderful World of Disney.” Production is slated to start in July. We hope little Hallie will be doing her own voice for the performance and not be lip-synching, say, Fran Drescher’s.
CABLE PRESS HBO has picked up 13 episodes of the mortuary-set ensemble ”Six Feet Under,” written by Oscar winning screenwriter Alan Ball (”American Beauty”). Ball, who will direct the pilot, is scheduled to start shooting this July in Los Angeles. The series, which will focus on a family that owns and manages an L.A. funeral home, will debut January 2001, right after ”The Sopranos,” Variety reports.
ON BROADWAY And in the Felines Have Nine Lives category, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical ”Cats” has been extended until Sept. 10. Since it was announced in February that the show would close June 25, ticket sales have more than doubled, filling up the once half-empty Winter Garden. So producers have decided to keep the doors open for two more months, with the last performance being No. 7,485.