Plus, Britney Spears, Kevin Spacey, Madonna, Kid Rock, Roger Ebert, Robert Downey Jr., and more

By Josh Wolk
Updated September 03, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

CLEANING UP HIS ACT His name is Slim Potty-mouth. MTV has rejected Eminem‘s video for his song ”Role Model” because of adult content and has ordered him to recut it, according to Blaze magazine. First-amendment advocates (and those who just looooove to feel dirty) can see the video in its original form on Eminem’s website.

FAN DISSING It was the day the screaming died: Britney Spears disappointed around 1,000 Boston fans who turned up for an album signing Wednesday morning — many of whom had slept outside overnight for the privilege — only to find that Spears couldn’t make it. The Boston Herald reports that Spears missed the event because she had jetted off to Memphis to see her boyfriend, ‘N Sync’s Justin Timberlake, in concert, and then couldn’t make it back to Boston in time. Talk about adding insult to injury: Not only is she a no-show, but she also takes dreamy Justin off the market. Is there no end to her treachery?

BUT, HEY, HE’SSINGLE! Kevin Spacey enjoys the fine, fine ladies, and don’t you forget it! In an interview in this month’s issue of Playboy, he corrects the 1997 Esquire article that implied that he was gay. ”It’s a lie,” he says. ”It wasn’t that I cared that they inferred I was gay, because I believe that people in this country are more advanced than certain members of the media, who try to use their medium as a weapon. But I felt betrayed.” The ”outing” didn’t seem to have hurt his romantic life. ”There are a few women who think the article might be true. For them, it’s a challenge: They want to be the one to turn me around. I let them.”

ON TAPE Madonna is the reigning queen of MTV, and she’s reminding the public of that fact by releasing a compilation of her most recent videos. ”Madonna: The Video Collection ’92-’99” will hit stores Oct. 5 and will contain 14 of her videos from the ’90s, including ”Bedtime Story,” ”Nothing Really Matters,” and ”Beautiful Stranger.” As a bonus, the tape will also include the video for ”Drowned World/Substitute for Love,” which has only been seen outside of the U.S., probably in countries that she’s stolen her current accent from.

GOING SOLO Roger Ebert has decided it will take three critics to fill Gene Siskel’s seat. (Metaphorically, that is. Physically, that’s the ratio to fill Ebert’s chair.) His show will now be called ”Roger Ebert & the Movies,” and each week he will bicker with one of three revolving reviewers: CNN’s Jeff Greenfield; ”Good Morning America”’s Joel Siegal; and Boston-based critic Joyce Kulhawik.

OUT OF THE CAN Don’t you just love it when we can all join together to help a needy multimillionaire celebrity? Thanks to a letter-writing campaign protesting his imprisonment, Robert Downey Jr. has been moved out of North Kern State Prison to a drug-rehab center. His fans wrote to President Clinton and California governor Gray Davis, prompted by the cleverly titled website started by his family, who believe he needs help for his addiction, not punishment…. Even without a website, Scott Weiland has been sentenced — for parole violation — to a year in drug rehab, minus the 35 days he’s been credited for jail time already spent.

SPLIT? Smashing Pumpkins may have lost their bassist, D’Arcy Wretzky, according to Rolling Stone. The band is recording a new album, but her contribution is said to be ”minimal at best,” and she reportedly has been telling people that she’s been sick of Billy Corgan’s dictatorial ways for a while now. The band’s manager said he hadn’t heard anything about it.

ON THE ROAD Kid Rock will be heading out on another North American tour, beginning on Oct. 20 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Those who can’t wait that long can see him Oct. 8 on ”Late Show With David Letterman.” He’ll also be a presenter on the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 9, but won’t play…. If you want to kick it old school (and, really, who doesn’t?), have we got the tour for you. Run-DMC, the Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, and Whodini will join forces for the Hip-Hop 20th Anniversary Fresh Fest, which will kick off on Sept. 10 in Berkeley, Calif. (Robot dancing highly encouraged but not mandatory: A simple beat-box will suffice.) The ”Anniverary” refers to the release of the Sugar Hill Gang’s hit ”Rapper’s Delight” in 1979, which was considered to mark the birth of hip-hop.

OH SO SORRY Bryan Smith, the man who hit Stephen King with his van, says he wants to apologize to the author personally. ”I got distracted,” Smith told the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. ”It was one time, and one time only. I’m very very sorry.” King has already said he won’t sue Smith, but he will fight to get Smith’s license revoked, saying he’s proved to be a dangerous man, what with having quite a few driving infractions on his record already. ”Maybe 15 years ago he could say that,” says Smith, adding his hazardous days are behind him — well, except for this one bone-shattering accident thing. ”Fifteen? Twenty? Yes, I was dangerous.”

PARTNERS Bryant Gumbel finally has a cohost for his upcoming ”Early Show” on CBS: Jane Clayson, a correspondent for ABC’s ”World News Tonight.” According to the Associated Press, Clayson won the talent search over such high-profile newswomen as CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo and ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas. She’ll help Gumbel kick off the show in November, as well as help him kick Mark McEwen out of the anchor chair and back to the weather desk. DRUG OFFENDER WATCH

DELAYED An animated sequel to Disney’s ”Peter Pan” has stalled, according to Variety. The studio, which had tried to keep the project secret in the first place, had hired animators to start working on the movie, but recently many of the artists were laid off and the project was put back into development for reevaluation. This kind of postponement is not all that rare, and if a little extra time means it ends up better than ”Hook,” well, who can begrudge them?