MIXED UP Oops! Britney Spears has some new partners. Phony pop band 2Gether will tour with the ex Mouseketeer this summer to promote their new MTV series, set to start Aug. 15. The group drew some 1.5 million viewers when they first appeared in an original MTV movie by the same name last February. It’s not too shocking that the teen queen would take up with synthetic heartthrobs, but she might be a little steamed about her latest unauthorized duet with Eminem. Launch reports that one of the hottest downloads available on the Net right now is an illegal mix that combine’s Em’s ”The Real Slim Shady” with an instrumental version of ”Oops!… I Did it Again.” The track is available via — what else? — Napster and has received airplay on New York’s Z100 FM. And they say Napster is no good for publicity — that’s a marketing ploy even the labels couldn’t dream up.
DEATHS Eight men were killed during Pearl Jam‘s performance at the Roskilde festival outside of Copenhagen last weekend. Five to 10 others were injured — one critically — in a frantic crowd in front of the main stage. The tragedy prompted Oasis and the Pet Shop Boys to cancel appearances the next day, citing concerns that security conditions had not yet improved. In a statement on their official website, Pearl Jam expresses shock and sorrow over the incident, saying, ”We have not yet been told what actually occurred, but it seemed to be random and sickeningly quick… It doesn’t make sense.”
TV NEWS On the eve of tonight’s premiere of ”Big Brother,” CBS ushered 10 contestants into their new 1,800 square foot home stocked with 28 cameras and 60 microphones on a studio parking lot. The Eye network, which reportedly shelled out some $20 mil in production costs for the series, has scheduled the debut of ”Brother” to follow its phenomenally successful first reality series, ”Survivor.”
POTTER MANIA An 8 year old girl was transformed into a minor celebrity when she revealed that a family friend had bought her a copy of ”Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” at a bookstore that mistakenly broke the embargo against displaying the title before its release this Saturday. The girl was quickly swept into a whirlwind of interviews. On NBC’s ”Today” show she refused to give away the book’s plot but said, ”I wouldn’t want to read the first chapter in the dark.” Thousands of zealous fans are expected to line up outside their favorite bookstores before midnight on Friday for copies of the J.K. Rowling tome. A record 3.8 million copies in America and 1.5 million copies in Britain have been ordered for its first run. Many parents have gleefully embraced the hype, given that it’s the first time their kids have read anything since the LAST Harry Potter.
BOX OFFICE ”The Perfect Storm” blew away ”The Patriot” over the Fourth of July weekend. The George Clooney-Mark Wahlberg disaster flick scored $64 million in its first five days, making it the third biggest July 4 gross in history, after 1996’s ”Independence Day” ($85 million) and 1997’s ”Men in Black” ($79.3 million). ”The Patriot” brought home a total of $35.2 million. See EW.com’s box office report for more details.
LEGALESE The California State Labor Commissioner has filed a lawsuit against Twentieth Century Fox for neglecting to apologize for antigay remarks and actions made by Fox TV chairman Sandy Grushow, Variety reports. According to the complaint, Grushow humiliated senior VP of talent and casting, Randy Stone, by repeatedly making remarks alluding to his sexual orientation. After Stone was fired in July 1998, he filed a complaint with the Labor Commission, which determined that he had been illegally discriminated against. Fox declined to comment on the suit…. Napster filed its opposition to the RIAA’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the song swapping services. The beleaguered company says that the Home Recording Act of 1992 immunizes it from copyright infringement because participants use their digital song files for personal rather than commercial reasons. OH! We aren’t supposed to sell those?
REEL DEALS Kate Winslet and her hubby have formed a London production studio, Telltale Films, and they plan to begin shooting their first flick in 2001, Variety reports…. Comedy Central has ordered two scripts from painter/ breakdancer/ graffiti artist cum animator Justin Bua. The series will follow the life of breakdancer Squatty, who works bar mitzvahs, and his phone sex operator pal Juisto.
SLIP The ultraconservative American Family Association issued a statement calling for the ouster of Bryant Gumbel, who was allegedly caught uttering insults after a tense interview with Family Research Council spokesman Robert Knight. (Knight was discussing his support for the Supreme Court Ruling to allow Boy Scouts of America to exclude gay leaders). Right after the interview, cameras inexplicably cut to Gumbel, who was supposedly mouthing the words ”What a… f—ing idiot.” How f—ing insensitive.
FACIAL A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon has sparked controversy in the image-obsessed profession by offering celebrity look-alike makeovers. Surgeons say that re-forming and repositioning bones is rarely successful, even when performed by the best of hands, but the doctor, Nicholas Chugay, claims he has helped about 20 people look like their favorite celebs. ”I had one patient who wanted to look like Cher. Another guy wants to look like Julio Iglesias. There is more focus on celebrities now — it is almost celebrity worship,” he told Reuters. Did he say ”Almost”?