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Eminem tops the charts for a third week

Plus, Matthew Perry, Stephen King, Puff Daddy, ”Millionaire,” and more

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Henry McGee/Globe

CHARTS Shocking! Notoriety hasn’t hurt sales of gun toter Eminem‘s ”The Marshall Mathers LP.” The Slim Shady reigns in the top spot for a third week in a row with sales of 598,000, bringing his total to 3.1 million. But the vitriolic rapper has failed to deter bubblegum buyers. Britney Spears‘ sales of 369,700 sales of ”Oops!… I Did It Again” snatched the No. 2 spot back from Kid Rock‘s ”The History of Rock,” which fell to No. 3 with 247,650 copies sold. ‘N Sync‘s ”No Strings Attached” also moved up a notch to No. 4, with 164,550 units scanned, pushing its total well over the 6 million mark. Matchbox Twenty‘s ”Mad Season” tumbled to No. 5 with 140,700 units moved. Though most of this week’s debuts were less than sensational, indie darlings Belle & Sebastian‘s ”Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant” turned a few a heads, coming in at No. 81, the highest opening yet for the Scottish collective, which rarely courts the spotlight.

TEAM PLAYER Matthew Perry withdrew his name from the best lead actor Emmy category yesterday via a contrite statement issued by his publicist. In the notice she says that the submission of the ”Friends” costar for leading man consideration was a mix-up and that Perry had no intention of stealing the spotlight from the NBC ensemble. Variety reports that Perry had not even realized the error until it appeared in the news yesterday. Maybe his publicist confused the lead actor category with one for lead tabloid presence.

DETROIT SCENE One of the Warren county attorneys who turned the heat up on Eminem received a life threatening letter from fans of the troubled rapper. In it, they proclaim that Mathers is ”our Christ” and ”Boss of Bosses,” adding that the lawyer ”will be dropping charges, or… We’re coming up town with 20 oz. Mountain Dew bottles full of gas and charcoal lighting fluid and matches.” Christ, that’s a lot of Mountain Dew.

COURTS The pretrial for Sean ”Puffy” Combs‘ codefendants rapper Jamal ”Shyne” Barrows and bodyguard Anthony ”Wolf” James began yesterday, with a hearing to determine the admissibility of evidence surrounding the ID of Barrows as the shooter in last December’s New York club blowout. Puffy was not in attendance, but his lawyer Benjamin ”Get Me Out of This” Bramin was.

WEB NEWS Stephen King invites readers to vote on whether he should release the next installment of his unfinished serial ”The Plant,” on his website. King says after his first e-release ”Riding the Bullet” racked up 400,000 downloads in its first 24 hours online, a fan who had read a pirated version of the story sent him a check for $2.50. Her move inspired him to test the honesty of other surfers. The current Napster controversy, he writes, ”is rapidly turning the whole idea of copyright into a risky proposition.”

TV NEWS The morning after ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” crowned its forth million-dollar winner, the show’s exec producer announced that he expects ”Millionaire” to exist on the Internet rather than TV in five years’ time. ”I’m often not sure that ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” is a television show but rather a consumer brand,” he said. Who wants to be Coca-cola?… ”City of Angels”‘ cocreator and director producer Paris Barclay abruptly left the show, citing ”creative differences” with partner Steven Bochco. CBS had just ordered 13 more segments of the urban drama…. Brian Dennehy will host the daily reality show ”Arrest & Trail.” The much buzzed-about syndicate from the makers of ”Law & Order” is slated for an October debut.

CASTING Mira Sorvino will star in the $7 million indie mystery ”Semana Santa,” directed by German filmmaker Pepe Danquart…. Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny is in negotiations to star in ”Uprising,” a WWII film about Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto.

INDUCTION The Songwriters Hall of Fame honors Beach Boy Brian Wilson, soul men Curtis Mayfield and James Brown, folk star James Taylor and the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glen Frey at a ceremony today in New York.