TESTIFYING It’s official: Sean ”Puffy” Combs will testify on his own behalf during his gun possession and bribery trial in New York City. However, his former girlfriend Jennifer Lopez will not take the stand. In a joint statement released Tuesday evening, Combs announced: ”Since I intend to testify, I feel it is no longer necessary for Jennifer to be involved in these proceedings.” Lopez added, ”If he and his lawyers change their minds and require me to testify, I will be there immediately to tell the truth.” (How good of J.Lo to agree to ”tell the truth” as a witness.) Combs has been on trial for charges stemming from a nightclub shooting Dec. 27, 1999. If convicted, Combs faces up to 15 years in prison.
PAY DAY Mike Myers is in negotiations with New Line to receive $25 million and 21 percent of the gross for starring in ”Austin Powers” 3. According to Variety, sources close to the deal confirm that Myers and New Line will sign the agreement. Also to return to the franchise is Mike McCullers, who cowrote the first two comedies. Jay Roach is in talks to direct the third installment of the feature.
Production info about the feature won’t be announced until all the key players have signed on the dotted line. In case you’re wondering how lucrative Myers’ deal is: ”Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” made $309 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing comedy of all time. Yeah, baby.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Rapper DMX just can’t get a break. He was charged with contempt of court Monday in upstate New York, for missing his court ordered deadline to serve a jail sentence. DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, surrendered himself Feb. 26 to the Erie County Correctional Facility in Cheektowaga, N.Y., to start serving a 15 day sentence for driving without a license, but he was more than two weeks late for the Feb. 9 deadline.
A few hours after arriving, he was taken from his jail cell to a courtroom, where he was arraigned on the misdemeanor charge of contempt of court, which has a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison. DMX’s attorney, Mark Mahoney, was reportedly shocked at the charge. According to Reuters, bail was set at $250,000, and a March 14 hearing was set for the case. Meanwhile, DMX still has to serve his 15 days.
MUSIC AWARDS Lee Ann Womack and fellow singer – songwriter Toby Keith each nabbed six nominations for the 36th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Womack, 34, was nominated for best album, song, single, video, vocal event of the year, and female vocalist for her third album ”I Hope You Dance.” Keith, 39, scored nods for best entertainer, album, record, song, video, and male vocalist, for his sixth album ”How Do You Like Me Now?!”
Crossover queen Faith Hill followed with four ACM nominations, including entertainer, video, vocal event of the year, and female vocalist. The Dixie Chicks, Billy Gilman, Brad Paisley, Sons of the Desert, and George Strait each scored three nominations. CBS will broadcast the live ACM awards ceremony May 9.
IN TROUBLE? Once again, David Letterman has annoyed his bosses. This time, CBS chief Leslie Moonves seems chagrined at Dave’s recent jokes about Moonves’ highly publicized trip to Cuba with other entertainment bigwigs (the group met with Fidel Castro). ”Some of it is funny, and some of it isn’t,” Moonves said in a conference call Tuesday. ”I’m more concerned about whether it is funny or not than whether it is about me.” On Monday night’s show, Letterman featured a sketch called ”Lunch with Les and Fidel,” which compared Castro’s dictatorship to Moonves’ creation of ”The Bette Midler Show.”
SEQUEL Fox is still deliberating whether to order a sequel to ”Temptation Island.” Although the reality show had averaged approximately 17 million viewers — Fox’s biggest Wednesday night audience in nearly eight years — last week the Grammys creamed the island based sleazefest, which only drew 12.9 million, its lowest turnout since it debuted Jan. 10.
So Fox programming execs are waiting for the series finale to air: ”We are considering a second ‘Temptation Island’ seriously. We are waiting to see the numbers for Wednesday night, and a final decision will be made,” Gail Berman, Fox Entertainment President, said in a conference call Tuesday. At least one person is already on board for a potential sequel: obsequious host Mark L. Walberg. Besides, who wouldn’t want to traipse among 22 bikini clad twentysomethings?
REEL DEAL Horror maestro Wes Craven will direct and coproduce an update of the classic story of ”Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” for Miramax’s Dimension Films. Craven and coproducer Marianne Maddalena also teamed on the Dimension feature ”Dracula 2000,” which grossed a modest $33 million. So far, the ”Jekyll and Hyde” remake doesn’t have a start date, budget, or a final title, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Could David Hasselhoff, who starred in Broadway’s ”Jekyll” remake, get his chance at big screen fame? Nah.
RELEASE Janet Jackson will release the single ”All For You” to radio March 6. The single is the first release from Jackson’s upcoming album (which may also be called ”All For You”), in stores April 24, according to SonicNet.com. The new album is Jackson’s first since 1997’s ”The Velvet Rope.” MTV will honor Jackson in the first edition of ”mtvICON,” a tribute and video retrospective featuring Destiny’s Child, ‘N Sync, and Macy Gray performing Jackson covers. The special airs on MTV March 13, exactly one week after Jackson’s single is released.
INJURED Speaking of Jacksons, Janet’s big brother Michael says he recently broke his right foot after falling at his Neverland Ranch in California. Although Jackson’s in a cast, he told the New York Post that he plans to make a scheduled appearance next week at Oxford University in England for Heal the Kids, a nonprofit program he founded with close friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (formerly a Jewish chaplain at Oxford). ”I am determined to speak … despite my injury,” Jackson said in a statement to the Post. ”The message of Heal the Kids is far too important to me to allow a broken foot to keep me from this commitment.”