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News Roundup: Don Imus' show suspended

Plus: Leonardo DiCaprio cast in ”Body of Lies,” Harrison Ford joins cast of ”Crossing Over,” Al Gore to kick off Tribeca Film Festival, and more…

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MSNBC and CBS Radio suspend Imus show for two weeks
Word came down on Monday that Don Imus’ morning radio program and its cable-TV simulcast will be suspended for two weeks, following the shock jock’s characterization of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as ”a bunch of nappy-headed hos.” The decision came after Imus apologized on his own show and on a radio program hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of many black leaders calling for Imus’ firing. Said MSNBC in a statement: ”[Imus’] dedication — in his words — to change the discourse on his program moving forward, has confirmed for us that this action is appropriate. Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word.” The suspension will begin April 16; any further decisions regarding the fate of Imus’ daily show rest with CBS Corp., owner of WFAN in New York, where Imus’ radio show originates, and NBC Universal, which operates MSNBC. (CNN)

Leonardo DiCaprio starring in Body of Lies
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in the Ridley Scott-directed adaptation of the new David Ignatius novel, Body of Lies. The movie will reunite DiCaprio with screenwriter William Monahan, who also penned The Departed. The story is about an ex-journalist-turned CIA agent (DiCaprio) who’s sent to Amman to work with Jordan’s intelligence chief to track an Al Qaeda leader rumored to be planning attacks against America. This will be the third Middle East-set project Monahan has scripted for Scott, following Kingdom of Heaven and Tripoli, which hasn’t yet been made. DiCaprio is set to begin shooting Lies in the fall, after wrapping Revolutionary Road, the Sam Mendes-directed DreamWorks drama that reunites him with Titanic star Kate Winslet. DiCaprio and Monahan are also working together on the remake of the Hong Kong thriller Confessions of Pain for Warner Bros. Pictures. (Variety)

Harrison Ford joins Weinstein Co.’s Crossing Over
Harrison Ford has joined the ensemble cast in the Weinsteins’ immigration drama Crossing Over. The movie, about immigrants of different nationalities struggling to survive in Los Angeles, will also feature Ray Liotta and Sean Penn, who will spend three days shooting a short cameo role as a border patrol agent. Ford plays an enforcement agent who stages raids on illegal immigrants, and Liotta plays a bureaucrat. Cliff Curtis also stars, and Alicia Braga and Alice Eve are in final negotiations. Wayne Kramer (The Cooler) will write and direct. Shooting is set to start this month. (Variety)

Al Gore to kick off Tribeca Film Festival
Al Gore will open this year’s Tribeca Film Festival by introducing an opening night dedicated to global warming and the environment. The April 25 SOS Short Films program will feature seven film shorts and music performances by acts set to appear on July 7 at Live Earth, the international 24-hour concert benefiting Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. The seven shorts will be picked from a group of 60 shorts being filmed by indie directors such as Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast), Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland), and Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil). The seven selections will be announced on April 22 at the festival’s opening news conference. Also announced was that Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana will hit Tribeca for the world premiere of Curtis Hanson’s romantic drama Lucky You, and the fest will close with the premiere of Antonio Ferrera and Albert Maysles’ documentary on the 2005 Christo installation at New York’s Central Park, The Gates. (Hollywood Reporter)

Spiro, Hale join Rockett
Jordana Spiro (My Boys) and Tony Hale (Andy Barker P.I., Arrested Development) will appear alongside Jimmy Fallon in the indie drama Rockett, directed by Patrick Sisam and produced by Holly Wiersma. Fallon plays a man devoted to his work but unable to commit to anything in his personal life who returns to his hometown after his estranged father suffers a stroke. Spiro plays his childhood sweetheart, with whom he reconnects, while Hale is his best friend from childhood. Shooting is currently underway. (Hollywood Reporter)

Padalecki to star in Kinkade movie
Jared Padalecki (Supernatural, Gilmore Girls, Cry Wolf, House of Wax) will star as artist Thomas Kinkade in the movie inspired by his painting, The Christmas Cottage. Michael Campus is directing. Padalecki will play famed American artist Kinkade, and Peter O’Toole will play a painter based on one of Kinkade’s mentors. Shooting starts this month with a holiday release planned. Cottage is part of a three-movie deal between Lionsgate and Kinkade, with Padalecki set to play the artist in the next two movies as well. Each movie will be based on paintings reflecting different points in Kinkade’s life. (Hollywood Reporter)

3rd Rock producers tapped to helm Cavemen pilot
As part of a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with ABC Television Studio, Bill Martin and Mike Schiff will executive produce ABC’s comedy pilot Cavemen, based on the characters in the Geico commercials. The duo executive produced NBC’s alien-themed sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun, and created Fox comedy Grounded for Life. Will Speck and Josh Gordon, who also directed the Geico commercials, will produce with Daniel Rappaport, Guymon Casady, and the pilot’s writer, Joe Lawson, who also is behind the commercials. (Variety)

Mario Lopez tapped for CW comedy pilot
Mario Lopez will join Johnny Lewis, Christina Milian, and Robert Ri’chard as the stars of the CW comedy pilot Eight Days a Week. The show is about four 20-somethings who work under the top movers and shakers in New York. Lopez will play one of the bosses, while Milian, Lewis, and Ri’chard will play assistants. (Hollywood Reporter)

3-D follow-up to Everest gets green light
MacGillivray Freeman Films has greenlit Return to Everest 3D, a follow-up to its 1998 hit Everest, with Greg MacGillivray (The Living Sea, Dolphins) set to direct. The movie will again star Jamling Norgay of Nepal and Araceli Segarra of Spain, who climbed the summit in 1996. The project is scheduled for a March 2009 release. (Variety)

XM Radio to air Larry King special
XM Radio will offer a special channel airing highlights from Larry King’s career to commemorate his 50th year in broadcasting. The special will air from April 16-20 and include interviews with Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Johnny Cash, Oprah Winfrey, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Peck, President Nixon, and Larry Flynt. (Hollywood Reporter)

B.C. cartoonist dies at 76
Johnny Hart, creator of the comic strip B.C., which appeared in more than 1,300 newspapers worldwide, died at his home on on Saturday (April 7) at 76. His wife, Bobby, said he died at his storyboard after suffering a stroke. In addition to creating B.C. in 1958, Hart also co-created the strip Wizard of Id with Brant Parker. He is survived by Bobby and their two daughters, Patti and Perri. He drew his comic up until the day he died at a studio in his home in Endicott, NY, about 135 miles northwest of New York City. (Variety)

Universal sets up stylized thriller Fiasco Heights
Universal has purchased a spec script for Fiasco Heights from Kyle Ward, an assistant at DreamWorks, and is setting it up with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes for production. No director is attached yet. The story, set in a noir environment akin to Sin City, is about a notorious hitman who teams with a failed private eye in search of a missing woman and an invaluable briefcase. Bay launched Platinum Dunes as a genre company to break in new directors with low-cost films. Its past movies include remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror as well as Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. The company is set to begin production on a remake of The Birds for Universal later this year. (Variety)

Imus responds to heat over comments
Don Imus confessed on his radio show Monday (April 9) that he made a bad mistake when he described the mostly black players on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as ”nappy-headed hos” on April 4. He said: ”I’m not a bad person. I’m a good person, but I said a bad thing. But these young women deserve to know it was not said with malice.” The Rev. Al Sharpton has asked for Imus to be fired and says he will file a complaint with the FCC, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson has planned a protest in Chicago. Imus said he hoped to meet the players and their parents and coaches, and he said he was grateful that he was scheduled to appear later Monday on a radio show hosted by Sharpton. (AP via Yahoo!)

IN THE GOSSIPS

People.com: Ashlee Simpson and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, who deny that they are a couple, spent Saturday night kissing and cuddling at a Los Angeles hotspot.

Page Six: Adult film star Jenna Jameson, who has attributed a dramatic weight loss to her divorce from estranged husband Jay Grdina, is now reportedly having trouble meeting contractual obligations.