''ER'' casts big names to revive its ratings
Plus, Stallone plans a ''Rocky VI,'' and David Duchovny loses a lawsuit protecting his name
CASTING Who needs George Clooney? ”ER” is trying to revitalize its cast next season by adding some recognizable names. ”NewsRadio”’s Maura Tierney is close to signing up for a permanent role, according to Variety, and five-episode arcs are planned for Alan Alda and Rebecca DeMornay, who will romance Noah Wyle. Talk about risky business…. Whatever happened to Sylvester Stallone‘s plan to get serious? The Hollywood Reporter says that he is planning to write, direct, and star in a ”Rocky VI.” He hasn’t penned the script yet, but an MGM exec says that this installment will be a low-budget film, in the spirit of the first…. Richard Gere will be shining up his stirrups for his next movie: No, it’s not a Western — he’s playing a gynecologist in the Robert Altman comedy ”Dr. T. and the Women”…. Nicolas Cage may star in ”Family Man,” a kind of real-life ”Pleasantville”: He’d play a single, driven investment banker who wakes up to find that’s he’s been magically transported into the bucolic life of a suburban dad…. Joan Allen will play a sex-scandal-plagued U.S. vice president, with Jeff Bridges as the president and Gary Oldman as the speaker of the house, in ”The Contender.” It’s refreshing to see a Veep getting some action for once…. Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in ”The Phantom Menace,” will play another bizarro villain — the henchman known as Toad — in ”The X-Men.”
LAWSUIT It was a bad sign for David Duchovny: His suit against Truly Unique Collectibles, which he claimed was selling phony autographs of his name on unauthorized pictures, was struck down by a U.S. District judge who called it groundless, according to the Associated Press. ”It’s a bad decision,” said the lawyer for Duchovny and Dean Cain, who filed a similar lawsuit. ”We’ll go all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to.
WEDDING NEWS Apparently memories weren’t enough for the guests at Victoria Adams‘ (Posh Spice) wedding to David Beckham a few weeks ago: Seventy-five solid silver goblets were taken as souvenirs by departing invitees. Unfortunately, the glasses were only rented, and now Adams is asking for them back. ”It’s flattering that people took them as mementos,” she told the British tabloid the Mirror, ”but we’d only hired them, and it seems they are quite valuable”…. Pepa (of Salt-N-) and Naughty by Nature’s Treach got hitched last Saturday at their New Jersey home, with Run DMC’s Reverend Run performing the ceremony, and Queen Latifah, Foxy Brown, and 350 other guests looking on.
EXECUTIVE MOVE? Could Francis Ford Coppola be turning into a suit? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the director is discussing heading up the creative side of MGM’s fledgling specialty-film division. Coppola has been a board member of the struggling studio since last year and reportedly has been helping out planning MGM’s next moves. Does that mean we can blame him for ”Just the Ticket”?
ACTING WITHOUT A NET Is the cast of ”The Drew Carey Show” getting more creative…or are they just too lazy to learn their lines? During November sweeps next season, they’ll improvise an entire episode with only a script outline. And to prove that they’re making it up, they’ll do different versions of the show live for the Eastern/Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones.
DIVERSIFYING ABC has responded to the NAACP’s complaint that the broadcast networks’ new shows for next season lacked African-American faces by adding black characters to its new dramas ”Wasteland” and ”Once and Again” in episodes shot after the pilot. The returning ”Sabrina the Teenage Witch” has also added an African-American character. ”This is a very serious situation to us, and we are addressing it,” said ABC Entertainment cochairman Stu Bloomberg.
OBITUARY Trumpeter and Count Basie band alum Harry ”Sweets” Edison passed away on Tuesday from cancer at the age of 83. During his 60-plus-year career, Edison had played behind such vocalists as Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald.