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McConaughey replaces Wilson for Stiller

Plus: Jennifer Garner in talks to join ”Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” Internet Britney defender Chris Crocker lands reality TV development deal, Kanye West beats 50 Cent in final SoundScan numbers, and more…

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Avik Gilboa/WireImage.com

McConaughey joins Stiller comedy
Matthew McConaughey has taken Owen Wilson’s place in the Ben Stiller-directed DreamWorks ensemble comedy Tropic Thunder. It is being described as an uncredited cameo. Wilson exited the project last month after being hospitalized for what has been reported as a suicide attempt. The movie cast also includes Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Nick Nolte, Bill Hader, and Steve Coogan. The story is about a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie on a remote island when they find themselves forced to become the soldiers they are playing. McConaughey recently finished the Andy Tennant-directed Fool’s Gold and the S.R. Bindler-directed Surfer Dude. (Variety)

Garner in talks for Ghosts
Jennifer Garner is in negotiations to co-star opposite Matthew McConaughey in the long-gestating comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which is being directed by Mark Waters (Just Like Heaven, Mean Girls). The story is about a bachelor who attends his younger brothers’ wedding and is visited by the ghosts of his past loves. Shooting is scheduled to start in January. The project was once at Disney, where Garner’s current husband, Ben Affleck, was set to play the bachelor. The project was shelved in 2003 and Disney disputed press reports suggesting the studio put Girlfriends Past into turnaround because of the barrage of negative publicity surrounding Affleck at the time. Garner next stars in Universal Pictures’ The Kingdom and Fox Searchlight’s Juno. She is currently playing the role of Roxanne in a Broadway version of Cyrano. (Variety)

Internet Britney defender Chris Crocker lands TV deal
Reality production company 44 Blue Prods. has signed a development deal with Chris Crocker, the Internet star whose tear-filled defense of Britney Spears, following her MTV Video Music Awards performance, has generated close to eight million hits on YouTube in just one week. Crocker is a 19-year-old who lives with his grandparents in Tennessee. Prior to the Britney video, Crocker developed an audience with videos on MySpace in which he expressed his opinion on various topics. ”It’s going to pretty much be the ‘Chris Crocker experience,”’ said 44 Blue co-founder Rasha Drachkovitch of the new TV show. ”We consider him a rebel character that people will find interesting. He’s going to be a TV star.” Since his Britney video blew up, Crocker has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and inspired a spoof from Seth Green (Robot Chicken). (Variety)

Kanye beats 50 Cent in final SoundScan numbers
Kanye West’s Graduation has emerged as the winner of the Sept. 11 releases, posting The Billboard 200’s largest sales total in more than two years. Nielsen SoundScan shows that West’s album sold 957,000 units during its first six days, besting 50 Cent’s Curtis, which takes the No. 2 slot with 691,000 sold, and Kenny Chesney’s Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates, which gets No. 3 with 387,000 copies. West’s 957,000 units is the highest weekly tally since 50 Cent’s The Massacre sold 1.1 million in 2005. Graduation also accounted for the largest week yet by a digital album download with 133,000, beating the prior record of 102,000 set earlier this year by Maroon 5’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. (Billboard)

Five actors join Saving Grace
Penelope Ann Miller (The Messengers), Tatum O’Neal, Joel Gretsch (The 4400), Piper Laurie (The Hustler, Children of a Lesser God), and Michael Biehn (Grindhouse) will star in the period drama Saving Grace. The film marks the feature directorial debut for veteran performer and the project’s writer-director Connie Stevens. Miller and Biehn will play a couple whose life in a 1950s Missouri town is thrown into chaos when the husband’s sister (O’Neal) is released from the local asylum and comes to live with the family. Gretsch will play the sister’s ex-husband, who was married to her for one day, and Laurie will play the administrator who runs the asylum where the sister stayed for 15 years. Stevens is known for her ’60s pop singles and her role on the 1959-63 series Hawaiian Eye as well as guest appearances on TV shows through the ’90s. (Hollywood Reporter)

Reynolds, Stewart join Adventureland
Ryan Reynolds (Smokin’ Aces) and Kristen Stewart (Into the Wild, Panic Room) will appear alongside Jesse Eisenberg (The Village, The Squid and the Whale) in Adventureland, which is being directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad), who also wrote the screenplay. The 1987-set coming-of-age comedy follows an uptight recent college grad (Eisenberg) who is forced to take a minimum-wage job at the local amusement park. The experience helps him loosen up, and he finds his first love, forms new friendships, and emerges with a newfound sense of maturity just in time to enter the real world in the fall. Reynolds will play an aspiring rock star worshipped by all the kids at the amusement park. Stewart will play the romantic lead, a tomboy who also works at the park. Shooting is scheduled to start next month. (Hollywood Reporter)

Match Game‘s Somers dies at 83
Actress and comedian Brett Somers, perhaps best known as a regular member of the celebrity panel on Match Game, has died of stomach cancer. She was 83. Hosted by Gene Rayburn, Match Game was the top game show during much of the 1970s. Contestants tried to match answers to nonsense questions with a panel of celebrities, which regularly included Somers, Richard Dawson, and Charles Nelson Reilly. In 1953, Somers married actor Jack Klugman, who went on to star in the television shows Quincy, M.E. and The Odd Couple. They separated in 1974 but never divorced. The duo made many television appearances as a couple, including Somers’ appearances on The Odd Couple as Klugman’s ex-wife. Somers also appeared in The Love Boat, Battlestar Galactica, Barney Miller, Mary Tyler Moore, Love, American Style, The Fugitive, Have Gun, Will Travel, and Naked City. (Hollywood Reporter)

Emily Rose tapped for Brothers & Sisters and Jericho
Emily Rose (John From Cincinnati) has landed arcs on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters and CBS’ Jericho. On Brothers, she will do an eight-episode arc, playing a friend of Rebecca’s (Emily VanCamp) who has a fling with Thomas Walker (Balthazar Getty). The show returns for a second season at 10 p.m. Sept. 30. On Jericho, she will do a five-episode arc as Trish Merrick, an ambitious aid worker who arrives in Jericho to help with the reconstruction. The series returns for its sophomore year at midseason. (Hollywood Reporter)

De La Rocha finishes solo album
The long-awaited solo record from Zack De La Rocha, vocalist for Rage Against the Machine, is finally complete. He has been working on it since Rage first broke up in 2000. Billboard reports that De La Rocha worked extensively on the as-yet-untitled project with former the Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. Sources say De La Rocha plays keyboards on the record, which has been described as a hybrid of Led Zeppelin and Dr. Dre with some of the power of Rage Against the Machine. De La Rocha is unsigned and mulling offers for how to best distribute the album. Rage reunited in late April to co-headline the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and has played a handful of shows since. The band will continue their reunion shows in late October at the Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans and the Vegoose festival in Las Vegas. (Billboard)

Robot Chicken scores huge ratings for Adult Swim
Sunday (Sept. 16) night’s episode of the Emmy-nominated Robot Chicken earned Adult Swim its best numbers ever in adults 18-34, with an average of 1.3 million viewers in the demo and 2.3 million overall. That number marks an increase of 70 percent in 18-34 compared with the same time period a year ago. Robot Chicken‘s third season premiered in August; the second-season DVD was released this month. (Hollywood Reporter)

Football wins week’s young adult TV ratings
The top programs of the week in adults 18-49 were NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers (6.5/17 in 18-49, 15.32 million viewers overall) and the first half of a doubleheader on ESPN’s Monday Night Football (4.8/14, 11.08 million for Cincinnati-Baltimore). The Monday night game became ad-supported cable’s most-watched telecast of 2007. (Variety)

Beaver‘s Eddie Haskel sues SAG
Ken Osmond, who played Eddie Haskel on Leave It to Beaver, is suing SAG over a claim that it has collected more than $8 million in foreign residuals on behalf of its members and nonmembers but has not passed on the profits. If approved, the suit would allow others in similar situations to participate in the litigation. The suit is almost identical to proposed class-action suits filed during the past two years by Osmond’s attorney, Neville Johnson, against the DGA and WGA. Those cases also are pending, with settlement talks taking place in the DGA case. Osmond is now a Los Angeles police officer. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sex Pistols reuniting for one-off in London
The original members of the Sex Pistols, John Lydon, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Glen Matlock will reunite for a one-off show at London’s Brixton Academy on Nov. 8 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their seminal release Never Mind the Bollocks. Bass player Matlock left the band in 1977 and was replaced by Sid Vicious, who died in 1979 from a drug overdose. They broke up in 1978, but reformed a decade ago to perform at concerts and festivals in the U.K before splitting again in 2003. (Variety)

CELEBRITY NEWS

People.com: Britney Spears is a ”habitual, frequent, and continuous” user of alcohol and controlled substances and now must undergo twice-weekly random testing, a judge in the singer’s custody case ruled.

Page Six: Rose McGowan is wearing a new diamond engagement ring from director Robert Rodriguez. McGowan met Rodriguez on the set of Grindhouse. He was soon divorcing his wife.

Rush & Molloy: Celebrity chef Guy Rubino said Nelly Furtado ate at his restaurant, Rain, in Toronto, and ”showed up an hour late, with five extra people in tow. For parties that size, we do a prix-fixe type of menu. Nelly objected and was really rude about it. She expected individual dishes to be prepared.” He also reports that Justin Timberlake came in, ”doesn’t even look at the menu and shouts for random food that we don’t make. If he knew what he wanted, why come to an Asian restaurant in the first place?”

Ben Widdicombe: The former housekeeper of Melanie ”Scary Spice” Brown claims that her ex-boss left her two-month-old daughter Angel Iris with her for four days while she eloped to Sin City with Stephen Belafonte. ”The child was sick, there was no nanny, and when Mel called, she never even asked about the baby,” the housekeeper said.

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