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Imus negotiating return to radio

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Imus settles with CBS
Controversial radio personality Don Imus has reached a settlement in his dispute with former employer CBS and is negotiating a return to the air. Imus had threatened a $120 million lawsuit alleging breach-of-contract after CBS fired the disgraced shock jock over his referring to the members of Rutgers’ female basketball team as ”nappy-headed hos.” Just prior to being dismissed on April 12, Imus signed a five-year, $40 million contract to continue his nationally syndicated radio program for CBS. His attorney, Martin Garbus, argued that Imus’ contract acknowledged that he would push the boundary in his radio commentary, so he shouldn’t have been dismissed for the comments. CBS would not disclose terms of the settlement, which preempts any lawsuit and also includes a a ”non-disparaging” agreement that forbids the parties from speaking negatively about each other. Imus is now in talks with WABC, which carries the nationally-syndicated conservative talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Insiders speculate that Imus could replace the relatively low-rated Curtis and Kuby in the Morning, hosted by right-wing Curtis Silwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, and left-wing attorney Ron Kuby. (Variety)

Ice Cube adapting graphic novel
Ice Cube will produce and star in a live-action adaptation of the graphic novel 10, written by Shannon Eric Denton and Keith Griffen, for Dimension. The story is about a guy who gets a letter saying he’s in a competition with nine others and that whoever gets out alive wins. He thinks it’s just junk mail until a man toting an ax shows up at his door. Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez of CubeVision are set to produce along with David Alpert and Rick Jacobs of Circle of Confusion. Cube’s Dimension-based company is also working on a movie adaptation of Welcome Back, Kotter and Tough Love. The rapper-turned-actor is currently filming First Sunday for Screen Gems. (Variety)

HBO pulls plug on John
HBO has canceled its new drama series John From Cincinnati, which starred Rebecca De Mornay and Bruce Greenwood. The season finale aired last Sunday ending with John saying the mysterious final line, ”Mother of God, Cass-Kai,” over a shot of Kai (Keala Kennelly) surfing. David Milch (Deadwood) created the show with author Kem Nunn. It has been described by critics as ”strange,” ”weird” and ”unlikable.” HBO is still deciding whether to give another season to the freshman comedy Flight of the Conchords. The pay channel’s upcoming series include the drama In Treatment, the comedy 12 Miles of Bad Road, and True Blood, the recently picked-up vampire drama by Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)

BBC doing live-action Jungle Book
The BBC has teamed with Pathe for a $50 million live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. BBC natural-history filmmaker John Downer will direct, using the technique of filming animals in the wild and then using CGI to make them appear to talk. Downer will shoot in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in India and mix the footage with that of trained animals on jungle sets in the U.K. and against bluescreens. The story is about a boy raised by wolves who is kidnapped by monkeys and rescued by his animal friends. He has to face a fight with the tiger Sher Khan on his own, however. Production is scheduled to get underway in September and take two years to complete. (Variety)

Bernie Mac joins Old Dogs
Bernie Mac will appear alongside John Travolta and Robin Williams in Disney’s Walt Becker-directed comedy Old Dogs. The movie is a buddy comedy about two best friends and business partners whose lives are turned upside down when they’re forced to take care of seven-year-old twins. Mac plays Johnny Lunchbox, a charismatic puppeteer adored by children. Mac is currently in theaters for Transformers and recently appeared in Ocean’s Thirteen. (Hollywood Reporter)

Roberts doing Hotel for Dogs
Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew) will star in DreamWorks’ Hotel for Dogs, a comedy about two orphaned teenagers who hide dozens of stray dogs in an abandoned hotel. The story is based on Lois Duncan’s novel. Thor Freudenthal will make his feature directorial debut on the project. Roberts recently signed on to reprise her role in a Nancy Drew sequel. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)

Off-Broadway Idol musical closes after one night
One night after making its Off-Broadway debut, Idol: The Musical, closed on Monday (Aug. 13) after two casts, 47 preview performances, and one regular show. The show was described as a ”satirical musical comedy that focuses on the outrageous and delusional fan base of the hit television show.” Producer Todd Ellis said in a statement that he closed the production ”due to a lack of advance ticket sales, a lack of positive feedback from audience members and critics, and a lack of sustainable financial resources.” Previews began on July 5 for $60 a ticket, and the entire 10-member cast was unexpectedly replaced by the end of the month. The new cast began previews on Aug. 1 ahead of the Aug. 12 opening night. (Reuters)

Family Guy doing live show in Chicago
Just ahead of its syndication launch, the cast of Fox animated comedy Family Guy is headed to Chicago on Sept. 15 for two live performances at the Chicago Theater. Creator and star Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Seth Green, and Mike Henry will perform musical numbers from the show, do a table read of an episode, a Q&A session, and a preview of the Star Wars-themed season premiere. Chicago was chosen because the Chicago-based Tribune Company will launch the syndicated show on its properties next month. Family Guy Live was first presented at Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy fest in 2004, followed by 2005 shows in Los Angeles and New York before returning for a second engagement at the Just for Laughs fest this summer. (Variety)

Phillips tapped for NBC pilot
Lou Diamond Phillips has been added to the cast of the NBC drama pilot Backyards and Bullets, about a suburban neighborhood watch program gone awry. Phillips will play the police chief. Already cast are Billy Burke, Richard Ruccolo, Matthew St. Patrick, and Kristin Lehman. (Hollywood Reporter)

Dawson heads to Eagle Eye
Rosario Dawson (Grindhouse, Sin City) is joining Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan in the DreamWorks thriller Eagle Eye, which is being directed by DJ Caruso (Disturbia). The story is about a young man and a single mother who are framed as terrorists and forced to join a cell planning a political assassination. Dawson will play a government agent. (Hollywood Reporter)

Ricki Lake doing Lifetime movie
Ricki Lake will star in Lifetime’s telepic Matters of Life & Dating as a woman who starts dating again after surviving breast cancer. The movie, which also stars Holly Robinson Peete (Life Family, For Your Love) and Rachael Harris (Notes from the Underbelly), is part of Lifetime’s ”Stop Breast Cancer for Life” public awareness campaign. It will air Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. (Variety)

Court TV, MyNetworkTV launch prison series
Court TV and MyNetworkTV have launched a new series documenting the U.S. prison system. Court TV calls it Inside American Jail and uses an instrumental rock theme, while MyNetworkTV is calling it Jail and will use a hip-hop theme from Lil Mama. Aside from those differences in packaging, it’s the same show, from Langley Prods. Inside American Jail has already launched on Court TV, and Jail will premiere Sept. 4 on MyNetworkTV. (Variety)

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