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News Roundup: MSNBC cancels Imus

Plus: Selleck in talks for ”Las Vegas,” MTV doing ”Real World” reunion series, first-ever Jet Li/Jackie Chan movie set for 2008 release, and more…

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Don Imus’ MSNBC simulcast canceled
Reconsidering its initial decision to merely suspend the program for two weeks, MSNBC has now permanently yanked its simulcast of Don Imus’ radio show Imus in the Morning, following the shock jock’s reference to members of the mostly black Rutgers University women’s basketball team as ”nappy-headed hos.” In a statement, NBC Universal (MSNBC’s parent) said its new decision ”comes as a result of an ongoing review process… It also takes into account many conversations with our own employees. What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company.” The decision also comes in the wake of several big sponsors (including General Motors and Sprint Nextel) pulling advertising dollars from the program, though a spokeswoman for NBC News told Ad Age that the cancellation was ”not driven by dollars. It was driven by integrity.” No word yet on whether CBS Radio — the parent of Imus’ home station (New York’s WFAN-AM), which had followed MSNBC’s lead in ordering a two-week suspension — will adjust its punishment. (CNN and Ad Age)

Selleck in talks to play lead in Vegas
Following James Caan’s recent departure from NBC’s Las Vegas, Tom Selleck is in talks to play the leading man in the drama series. Selleck would play a new character — the smart, powerful, fun-loving new owner of Montecito Resort & Casino. Selleck has had recurring roles on Friends and Boston Legal, but Vegas would be his first contract role in a drama series since Magnum P.I., which earned him an Emmy. The series is also looking to replace co-star Nikki Cox, another recent loss, for the show’s fifth season, which is expected to start production soon. (Hollywood Reporter)

MTV doing Real World reunion series
MTV and Bunim-Murray Productions are reuniting the original cast of The Real World: Las Vegas in their former home at the Palms Casino Resort for Reunited: The Real World, the first-ever reunion series for the franchise. The show, which will start production this month, puts the seven cast members together five years after the Vegas season and documents their reunion. The show is set to debut later this spring. (Hollywood Reporter)

Jackie Chan, Jet Li pair for Forbidden Kingdom
Lionsgate and the Weinstein Co. are backing martial arts film The Forbidden Kingdom, which will pair Jackie Chan and Jet Li on-screen for the first time in a movie. The story is based on the Chinese legend of the monkey king. It is about an American teenager who discovers the king’s legendary stick weapon and is transported back in time to ancient China, where he joins a crew of warriors fighting to free the imprisoned king. Li will play both the monkey king and the silent monk, while Chan will pay the monk T’sa-Ho. Director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little) will begin shooting May 2 for a September 2008 domestic release. (Variety)

Jacksons, CBS launching singing competition show
Jermaine, Tito, and LaToya Jackson are teaming with CBS for Pop Dynasty, a new American Idol-style competition to find a new family singing group. Jermaine is a partner in the project and will serve as a judge alongside Tito and LaToya. Jamie Foxx, Marcus King, and Greg Shelton are also involved in development. Details are still being worked out, but the show is expected to be a standard singing competition with an additional focus on the personal stories of the families. CBS has agreed to produce at least eight episodes. (Variety)

Sopranos premiere ratings down from previous season
Sunday’s kick-off of the last season of HBO’s The Sopranos attracted 7.66 million total viewers, well below the 9.47 million who watched the first episode of its previous season in March 2006. The adults 18-49 number was also was down to a 3.6 rating from a 4.5 last year. The 3.6 was good enough to place second on the night, behind an original episode of ABC’s Desperate Housewives, which averaged a 6.1. Meanwhile, HBO’s Entourage attracted 3.77 million viewers, a 40 percent increase from the second-season kickoff. (Variety)

Carrie Ann Moss tapped for Normal
Carrie Ann Moss will star in Carl Bessai’s drama Normal as the mother of a teenage victim in of a deadly car crash who struggles to control her rage and grief. Also added to the cast are Callum Keith Rennie (The Invisible), who will play a literature professor trying to overcome his guilt from his role in the crash; Kevin Zegers (The Jane Austen Book Club), who will play a young thief whose life becomes intertwined with the other characters’; and Cameron Bright (Thank You for Smoking), who will play the 12-year-old son of Moss’ character. (Hollywood Reporter)

Bravo doing millionaire dating show
Bravo is expected to order Millionaire Makeover, a reality show that helps rich guys find dates. The show will star Patti Stanger, the founder of an elite Los Angeles-based matchmaking service that charges up to $150,000 per year for its services. Stanger and her staff will give makeovers to big-bucks clients and explore the challenges she faces in running the business and in her own personal life. (Variety)

NBC orders scripts for Friday Night Lights
NBC has ordered six scripts for Friday Night Lights, the critically acclaimed freshman drama series that has struggled in the ratings. The show has not yet been renewed. The early order of scripts for Lights and Medium, which received a similar order earlier this week, could be an attempt by the network to bank episodes in the event of a possible writers strike, but historically, script orders have been a good indicator that a show will be renewed. (Hollywood Reporter)

Willa Ford to play Anna Nicole in biopic
Dancer-singer Willa Ford will star as Anna Nicole Smith in the indie biopic Anna Nicole, which is being produced by Jack and Joseph Nasser and Elie Samaha with Keoni Waxman directing. The movie will cover Smith’s life starting at age 17 and include her experiences as a Playboy model, her marriage to a billionaire oil tycoon, and the death of her son, Daniel. Ford was a performer on the third season of Dancing with the Stars and is also known for her multiplatinum single ”I Wanna Be Bad” and her debut album Willa Was Here. (Variety)

Lineup taking shape for U.S. leg of Live Earth
The lineup for the U.S. leg of Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts, which will take place in New Jersey at Giants Stadium, will include The Police, Smashing Pumpkins, Bon Jovi, Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, and Fall Out Boy. The concerts will take place across the globe on July 7 and end with the show in New Jersey. Tickets for the event go on sale April 16. (NME)

Beach Boys lose lawsuit
A judge has tossed out a $60 million lawsuit filed last year by the Beach Boys, which claimed that Roy A. Sciacca stole original Beach Boys lyric sheets, sound recordings, videotapes, photographs, and other items from a warehouse in 1994. Sciacca is a collector of memorabilia from music and entertainment legends. Sciacca’s lawyer said his client bought the items at a warehouse auction in the 1980s. The judge found there was no evidence to support the Beach Boys’ claims and dismissed them. (AP via Yahoo!)

Leslie Bibb lands roles in Bachelorette Party and Iron Man
Regency Enterprises acquired the script for The Bachelorette Party, based on Karen McCullah Lutz’s new novel about an L.A. bachelorette party gone awry, as a starring vehicle for Leslie Bibb (Talladega Nights). Separately, Bibb landed a role as a fast-talking reporter in the Jon Favreau-directed adaptation of Iron Man, which also features Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, and Gwyneth Paltrow. (Hollywood Reporter)

Smallville alum to star in Sci Fi’s Flash Gordon
Eric Johnson (Smallville) will star in the title role in Sci Fi Network’s upcoming Flash Gordon series. Rick Rosenthal (Smallville) will direct the first two episodes. Shooting is slated for May 1 for a planned August premiere. The show will be a contemporary take on the comic strip with Flash embarking on all-new adventures. Casting is still underway for Flash’s partners Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC doing early launch of summer programming
ABC is starting its summer programming push early this year, premiering new reality show National Bingo Night on May 18 with other new reality shows to follow, including Shaquille O’Neal-hosted Shaq’s Big Fat Challenge. ABC is trying to reverse its warm-months fortune after seeing The One: Making of a Music Star and One Ocean View flop after mid-summer launches last year. (Variety)

Food Network signs on to promote No Reservations
The Food Network has agreed to do a night of primetime programming on July 26 dedicated to the promotion of No Reservations, a romantic comedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart as gourmet chefs. The night will start with Emeril, which will feature Eckhart and Abigail Breslin, who plays the niece of Zeta-Jones, as guests while the chef prepares food derived from some of the recipes used in the movie. That will be followed by a special edition of Unwrapped, which will go behind the scenes of the movie. The network is also in talks with Disney/Pixar about tie-ins for Ratatouille and with Paramount/DreamWorks for Shrek the Third. (Variety)

Staples, P&G pull ads from Imus
Staples and Proctor & Gamble Co. have pulled their advertisements from Don Imus’ radio show in the wake of an uproar over comments he made about the mostly black players of the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Imus received a two-week suspension from his show, starting Monday, because of the incident, but The National Organization for Women and the National Association of Black Journalists have joined in the call for his dismissal. (AP via Yahoo!)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: Katie Couric, 50, has quietly been dating a 33-year-old triathlete, Brooks Perlin, for the past few months.

Cindy Adams: Anna Nicole Smith’s sister Donna Hogan claims Smith gave their father naked photos of herself.