COURTS Woody Harrelson won’t be doing any time for his cultivation practices, reports E! Online. The actor cum hemp promoter was found not guilty of a marijuana possession charge stemming from his ceremonial planting of four illegal seeds in a Kentucky field in 1996. If convicted, the ”Play It to the Bone” star could have faced a $500 fine and 12 months in jail. Prosecutors had tried to get Harrelson to accept a 30 day sentence, but instead the actor opted for a trial. Former Kentucky governor (and hemp friendly politician) Louie Nunn testified on his behalf, saying the former ”Cheers” bartender was not trying to break laws, merely challenge them. After the jury returned with its verdict, a grinning Harrelson, clad in a suit made of hemp, shook hands with the participants and signed autographs. ”Thanks for not tossing me in jail. See you at the movies. Love, Woody.”
AWARDS Yet another calamity has struck the Emmys. Chris Rock‘s HBO comedy special, ”Bigger and Badder,” was accidentally omitted from ballots sent to the 120 voters. The show had received six nods overall, but did not appear on the forms for the Variety, Music or Comedy Special categories. A spokesperson at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said that the error was discovered quickly after the ballots were sent out and that voters and HBO were notified immediately. Bigger, badder, better late than never.
WEB NEWS Like so many who have been wronged before her, Madonna is turning to the United Nations for help. The pop diva filed a complaint with World Intellectual Property Organization asking it to hand over her domain name, madonna.com. New Jersey businessman Dan Parisi, who used the URL for porn before removing the material, owns the site. Parisi claims that the Material Mom (real name: Madonna Louise Ciccone) has no right to the address because — by god! — she’s not the only Madonna in the world. Surely, fans would flock to ciccone.com, too?
REEL DEAL Imagine an epic film bejeweled with fashionable product placements! Martin Scorsese has. Variety reports that the director has signed on to helm ”Gucci: A House Divided,” a sprawling feature spanning four decades of the Italian clothing dynasty. Likely pitch: It’ll be ”The Godfather,” but less tacky.
CASTING Robin Williams must choose between Liberace and a robot. Variety reports that the actor has not yet committed to starring in the pianist biopic, ”Liberace.” Indeed, he’s contemplating the role as the narrator in Steven Spielberg‘s Stanley Kubrick adaptation, ”A.I.”. The decision will no doubt be difficult. ”Hook” was such a stunning moment in Williams’ and Spielberg’s careers. And ”Bicentennial Man” — yeah, that too.
MUSIC BIZ Clive Davis has officially founded J Records, his new BMG label. The ex Arista head and founder, whose credits include signing such artists as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and Carlos Santana, has signed a 50-50 deal with the entertainment conglomerate that participants say is the largest record company start-up ever created. No terms were disclosed but some observers have put the deal’s value at $150 million. Meanwhile, Davis, who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, scoffs at the notion that he was ousted from BMG owned Arista and that the deal is a merely a compromise. ”There’s not an element of sour grapes here…. it’s a ringing endorsement,” he told the Associated Press. It’s certainly good news for the bad ’80s art rock bands throughout the world, who would have gone forever without backing but for Davis.