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Boston lead singer Brad Delp dead at 55

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Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

Boston lead singer dead at 55
Brad Delp, lead singer and guitarist for the rock band Boston, was found dead Friday in his New Hampshire home. He was 55. Local police said the cause of death would remain under investigation until Monday but that there was no evidence of foul play. Boston was a powerhouse in the late-1970s. They are best known for their 1976 hit song ”More Than a Feeling.” (ABC)

Maggie Gyllenhaal eyeing role in new Batman
Gyllenhaal is in final talks to star alongside Chrstian Bale in the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan. Gyllenhaal is looking at the role played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins, Rachel Dawes. Holmes opted out of the project earlier this year. Shooting is scheduled for later this year with an expected summer 2008 release date. (Variety)

Grey’s reups several contracts
Grey’s Anatomy has closed new contracts with Ellen Pompeo, James T. Pickens Jr., and Chandra Wilson. Justin Chambers and T.R. Knight are also close to new deals. The contracts all include salary increases: Pompeo will make almost $200,000 per episode, while Pickens, Wilson, Chambers, and Knight will make approximately $125,000 per episode. The terms of the deals are retroactive to the first episode of the season. Those still yet to reup include Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, and Katherine Heigl, whose contract dispute recently made headlines. (Hollywood Reporter)

Disney/Pixar begins Toy Story 3
Disney Co.’s Pixar Animation has started production on Toy Story 3, which is scheduled for a 2010 release. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks will reprise their roles as the voices of Buzz Lightyear and Woody. The screenplay is from Michael Arndt, who just won an Oscar for writing Little Miss Sunshine. Disney also announced that it is working on a hand-drawn animation project titled Frog Princess, a musical. It is set entirely in New Orleans and will feature Disney’s first ever African American princess. (Hollywood Reporter)

Bill Chinnock dead at 59
Bill Chinnock, a founding member of what became Bruce Sprinsteen’s E Street Band, was found dead in his Maine home on Wednesday. His manager said it was a suicide. Chinnock had been battling Lyme disease. He made 13 albums and won an Emmy for writing the song ”Somewhere in the Night.” He also recorded a duet with Roberta Flack that became a theme song for the soap opera ”Guiding Light.” (AP via Boston.com)

Eddie Van Halen is ready for rehab
In an open letter to fans, Eddie Van Halen, who has a history of alcoholism, announced that he will enter rehab to ”work on myself.” The announcement follows a delay in the planned Van Halen reunion tour with David Lee Roth at the helm. Velvet Revolver has already been scheduled to perform at Van Halen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next week. ”Some of the issues surrounding the 2007 Van Halen tour are within my ability to change and some are not,” the letter stated. ”As far as my rehab is concerned, it is within my ability to change and change for the better.” The letter was released by Van Halen’s spokeswoman and girlfriend, Janie Liszewski. (Reuters)

Universal putting together project for Eastwood, Jolie
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are moving ahead on The Changeling, with Clint Eastwood expected to direct and Angelina Jolie in talks to star. Jolie would play a woman who confronts corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department after her son is abducted and recovered. The story is based on real life events from the 1920s. The movie is scheduled to start production some time this year. (Variety)

Hugheses adapting hitman book
Allen and Albert Hughes (From Hell) are directing a feature based on the Philip Carlo nonfiction book The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, about Mafia hitman Richard ”Ice Man” Kuklinski. Kuklinski was a contract killer for the Gambino family. He kept his involvement secret from his wife and three kids in New Jersey while he was out killing as many as 200 people, by his own account. Kuklinski granted interviews to Carlo before he died in prison while serving two life sentences. Producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Jason Blum acquired the screen rights to the tome and have a first-look deal with Paramount. (Variety)

Idol launching charity event
American Idol will stage a two-night charity event, Idol Gives Back, aimed at raising awareness for groups working to help fight international child poverty. The campaign, which will air as part of the April 24 and 25 Idol episodes, will see Idol sponsors Coca-Cola and AT&T (among others) donate money to charities for every vote cast by viewers. The Wednesday night two-hour results show will feature Gwen Stefani, Josh Groban, Pink, Annie Lennox, and Sasha Baron Cohen as Borat. Insiders say Stefani, Groban, Pink, and Lennox will perform. Bono may also make an appearance. (Variety)

MLB signs seven-year deal with DirecTV
Major League Baseball has signed a deal that is likely to have its out-of-market ”Extra Innings” package games air exclusively on DirecTV for seven years. If exclusive, the deal would shut out some 230,000 viewers who get the package via cable and through EchoStar satellite TV. (Variety)

Quaid, Baruchel to star in indie
Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel will star in Real Time, an indie dramedy from writer/director Randall Cole (19 Months). The story is about a hitman (Quaid) who gives his old friend (Baruchel), also a compulsive gambler, one hour to live. Julia Rosenberg, Paula Devonshire, and Ari Lantos are producing. (Hollywood Reporter)

USA Network pays $11 million for Borat
USA Network was able to secure a five-year license term for Borat for just $11 million. The low fee for a movie that grossed $128 million is attributed to the fact that few networks bid on the movie and its outlandish, sometimes controversial content. USA can start airing the movie in April 2009 after making edits, such as pixilating parts of the nude wrestling scene and editing out language. (Variety)

Lionsgate making holiday movie based on Kinkade art
Lionsgate and the Firm have partnered to work on a feature adaptation of popular artist Thomas Kinkade’s painting ”The Christmas Cottage.” Michael Campus will direct. The story will be based on how Kinkade began his career as an artist after discovering his mother was in danger of losing the family home. The movie is set to begin production next month. (Variety)

Universal buys crime drama script
Writer Daniel Noah (Twelve) has sold a script for a high concept crime drama/thriller to Universal for Daniel Bobker and Ehren Kruger to produce. Universal and the producers are not revealing details, but Noah describes the story as a blend of genre elements within a character-driven drama. Production is expected to start later this year. (Variety)

Showtime gives new season to L Word
Showtime has granted a 12-episode fifth season to drama series The L Word, bringing back all the principal actors. Production is set to start in the summer with an early 2008 premiere. Season 4 is averaging 310,000 viewers per first-run episode, which is short of Season 3’s 370,000. (Hollywood Reporter)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: Suge Knight says he’s ready to pull the plug on Death Row, the record label he founded in 1991.

Rush & Molloy: Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary will screen at South by Southwest despite film narrator Alex Baldwin’s protests that it crosses a line by showing footage of his father at Nazi rallies.

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