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Phish may have called it quits

Plus, Eminem won’t cop a plea, Kate Hudson will star opposite Heath Ledger, Dr. Laura apologizes, and more

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Phish, Page McConnell, ...
Phish: Nubar Alexander/Corbis Images

SPLIT America’s biggest tour band, Phish, have disbanded — at least for now. The Burlington, Vt., based rockers have ended their tour season in the midst of their most successful year yet. The members have decided to go their separate ways for good, according to a report in the New York Times. ”Everybody just hit an undefinable point of exhaustion at the same time,” manager John Paluska told the Times. Just this week the group posted a message on its website that reads, ”Phish has completed their touring for this year. There will be no additional shows in November or December, or immediately thereafter. Additional information will be posted when the band refines their plans for the future.” At the very least, this means that fans will not see the band’s two most anticipated annual shows: Halloween and New Year’s Eve. (Phish held the largest New Year’s Eve concert in the world this year, performing for 80,000 people in Florida’s Everglades.) The band’s eighth studio album, ”Farmhouse,” opened at No. 12 on the Billboard Charts — their highest debut ever. ”Everyone likes to see people step aside when they’re at the top of their game instead of dragging it out until they’re finished up,” Paluska said. ”It’s the old idea of leaving them wanting more.” Wait a minute — don’t they know this is show BUSINESS?

LEGALESE Try as they might, Eminem‘s lawyers have been unable to work out a plea bargain that would ensure their client stays out of jail. Prosecutor Carl Marlinga has said that if Em pleads guilty, he will pursue prison time for the rapper, according to Rolling Stone. At a pretrial hearing, the rapper’s lawyer Brian Legghio responded: ”It appears Eminem is being treated differently because of who he is. And who he is is his music and his lyrics.” Later, he refused to comment on the tone of the hearings but said, ”We steadfastly refuse to plea to anything that he assaulted [alleged victim] Guerra.” After all, he’s usually such a nice boy.

RATINGS ”Survivor” or no, CBS has won round 1 of the fall season, bringing home the top ratings for adults aged 18 to 49 in its first week of new programming. Jerry Bruckheimer‘s television foray ”C.S.I.,” Arnold Kopelson‘s remake of ”The Fugitive,” the D.C. set drama ”The District,” and the new comedy ”That’s Life” all brought in the top ratings scores for their time slots, helping the net lead the pack for the first time in years. Overall, the Eye’s prime time premiere ratings are up 16 percent since the start of the 1999 season.

CASTING It’s as though the editors at Vanity Fair had thought up the movie themselves. Cover darling Kate Hudson (”Almost Famous”) will costar opposite rising hunksters Heath Ledger (”The Patriot”) and Wes Bentley (”American Beauty”) in Shekhar Kapur‘s (”Elizabeth”) remake of ”Four Feathers.” The actress has been courted for several roles, including the female lead in ”Spider-Man,” according to Variety. But she declined in order to work with Kapur. Besides, compared to Ledger, Tobey Maguire is so five minutes ago.

RITUAL CLEANSING Gay bashing self help mogul Dr. Laura Schlessinger used the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur to atone for what she calls ”poorly chosen words” that were interpreted as hate speech. The radio talk guru issued an apology in newspaper ads throughout the country, saying ”On the Day of Atonement, Jews are commanded to seek forgiveness from people we have hurt. I deeply regret the hurt this situation has caused the gay and lesbian community.” But — surprise — the move failed to placate her critics. ”Laura Schlessinger once again blames others for the impact of her rhetoric, refusing to take responsibility for her precisely chosen, scientifically inaccurate descriptions of gay and lesbian lives,” Joan M. Garry, executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told the Associated Press. But, come on, she can’t help it if she’s a biological error.

OBIT Veteran character actor David Dukes has died while filming ”Rose Red” an upcoming Stephen King miniseries for ABC in Tacoma, Wash.. Dukes, who is perhaps best known to young viewers for his role as Mr. McPhee on ”Dawson’s Creek,” costarred opposite the likes of Mira Sorvino and Ashley Juddin 1996’s ”Norma Jean and Marilyn.” He also appeared with Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser in 1998’s ”Gods and Monsters.” Medical examiners say that he suffered a heart attack. He was 55.

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