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''X-Files'' will be back, with or without David Duchovny

Plus, ”Millionaire,” ”Sports Night,” Prince, ”Josie and the Pussycats,” Sean ”Puffy” Combs, and more

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David Duchovny

CONSPIRACY THEORY Fox and ”X-Files” creator Chris Carter have signed a deal to bring the hit show back for an eighth season in the fall. But the participation of star David Duchovny remains uncertain. At issue for Duchovny is the settlement of the lawsuit he filed against Fox alleging that the net short-changed him in profits from the show’s syndication. But Reuters reports that insiders think Duchovny will at least come back on a part-time basis. Duchovny’s costar Gillian Anderson has already signed on for another year…. The ”X-Files” spin-off about the show’s trio of cybergeeks ”The Lone Gunmen” has been picked up as a mid-season replacement.

MORE TV NEWS Other shows returning next season: CBS’s multiracial doctor drama ”City of Angels” and ABC’s ratings savior ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which will mix up its formula by doing a college week, a teen week, and possibly an international tournament…. Some new shows for next season: Andre Braugher’s medical drama ”Gideon’s Crossing” for ABC; Bette Midler‘s CBS comedy ”Bette;” and Geena Davis‘ ABC sitcom ”Geena.” Well, her pre-Oscar special last year was indeed laughable…. Outta here: ABC’s ”Sport’s Night”.

NAME GAME The Artist Formerly Known as Prince announced yesterday that he can again be called just Prince. He explained at a NY press conference: ”On Dec. 31, 1999, my publishing contract with Warner/Chappell expired, thus emancipating the name that I was given before birth, Prince, from all long-term, restrictive documents. I will now go back to using my name instead of the symbol I adopted as a means to free myself from undesirable relationships.” And just when we had learned to draw that silly glyph.

CASTING Rosario Dawson (”Kids”) has signed on for Universal’s live-action ”Josie and the Pussycats.” She’ll complete the crime-fighting rock band by playing Val to Rachel Leigh Cook’s Josie and Tara Reid’s Melody…. Rene Russo is in talks to join Tim Allen in Barry Sonnenfeld’s ”Big Trouble” about a nuclear device scheduled to go off in a Miami airport.

LEGAL BRIEFS Yesterday a judge denied Sean ”Puffy” Combs’ request to separate his trial on gun possession and bribery charges (related to the nightclub shooting incident in December) from those who were arrested with him, including his bodyguard and rapper Jamal ”Shyne” Barrow. The judge said that Combs’ lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, ”had failed to establish good cause for granting a severance in this case.” In a brief statement outside of the courtroom, Combs said: ”In my heart I know that I have not committed any of the crimes that I am accused of and that once a fair and impartial jury has had an opportunity to review all of the evidence they will conclude that I am innocent”…. Reuters reports that the truck driver accused of swiping 55 Oscar statuettes will stand trial for grand theft. The Academy immediately appealed the ruling, saying that the correct category for the alleged crime should be Best Theft of a Truckload of Oscars.

REEL DEALS Artisan Entertainment has inked a deal with Marvel Enterprises to develop films, TV shows, and Internet projects based on several Marvel comic-book characters, including Captain America, Thor, and the Black Panther, which already has Wesley Snipes attached to it.

SCHEDULE CHANGE Warner Brothers has moved the release of ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” from Summer 2001 to Winter 2001.

AWARDS NEWS Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Foxx, Katie Holmes, Seth Green, Janet Jackson, Chris Klein, Samuel L. Jackson, Mena Suvari, and Freddie Prinze Jr. will serve as presenters for the MTV Movie Awards, hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker and airing June 8.

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