Plus, Mariah Carey, Jodie Foster, Sheryl Crow, Kelsey Grammer, Brad Pitt, and more

By Josh Wolk
Updated October 27, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

PAYDAYS David E. Kelley has signed a $50 million deal to keep churning out series for Fox. But the initial payout is just the beginning: The deal also guarantees him back-end profits that could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Variety. Hopefully this will reduce the chances that the write-aholic Kelley will get carpal tunnel syndrome, seeing as how he can afford to hire 26 different assistants, one to hit each letter on his word processor…. Wayne Newton has signed what he says is his most lucrative contract ever to play 40 weeks a year, six nights a week, at a showroom in the Las Vegas’ Stardust hotel that will be renamed the Wayne Newton Theater. Newton wouldn’t name his price, but did tell the Associated Press that ”if you put all my contracts together over the years, it wouldn’t equal this.”

EARLY-MORNING DIVA Mariah Carey will sing in Central Park for next Monday’s debut of CBS’s ”Early Show” with Bryant Gumbel. The performance comes not only because of Carey’s deep love of all things Gumbelcentric, but also to promote her new album, ”Rainbow,” which hits stores the next day.

REEL DEALS Jodie Foster plans to produce ”Investigation,” a remake of the 1970 Italian Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, ”The Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion,” a psychological thriller about a murderous police chief. David Mamet and Paul Schrader are both working on scripts, and Foster would be more likely to act in the project if she takes Mamet’s, which has a stronger female role…. Brit Mike Newell has apparently grown bored with America as a locale after ”Pushing Tin” and ”Donnie Brasco,” so now he’s off to conquer another country: He’ll film ”Shanghai,” about an American spy in China right before WWII.

LIVE ON TAPE If you missed Sheryl Crow‘s all-star concert in Central Park last month, you’ll get another chance to hear it, since Crow is releasing a live album from the show. It is intended to come out for Christmas, but there is a possibility it could be delayed because of contractual issues in using the performances by Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and her other guests on other labels, according to MTV News.

RECOVERING First he beat Tim Allen in the ratings, and now Kelsey Grammer is trying to one-up him in the hospital. Just a couple of weeks after Allen had an emergency appendectomy, Grammer had one too, on Friday. His spokeswoman said he was ”doing well and recuperating” at home.

TV WINNER CBS has extended ”Now & Again” for a full season. The sci-fi show’s numbers on Friday nights at 9 are up 63 percent from last year’s slot owner, and the series crushed its fantasy competitor, Fox’s ”Harsh Realm,” which was just canceled.

LAWSUIT Rolling Stone magazine has sued the Headline News LA news syndication agency for sending out the mag’s recent photos of Brad Pitt in a dress without any reference to their source, according to the Associated Press. Rolling Stone’s deal with News LA says that the shots could only be used in conjunction with articles about the magazine’s Pitt cover story, but its lawyers claim that many times they appeared with no mention of the story, magazine, or photographer. The codirector of the agency denies the charges, and says that his staff has been told to stop selling the photos.

TABLOID TROUBLE Martha Stewart has settled her $10 million defamation lawsuit against the National Enquirer for an undisclosed sum. Stewart had claimed that a Sept. 2, 1997 story called ”Martha Stewart Is Mentally Ill” caused her ”shame, mortification, and emotional distress.” But, it’s important to note, it DID NOT MAKE HER CRAZY…. Jason Hervey — the bullying older brother from ”The Wonder Years” — and his wife have sued a Las Vegas Chapel, claiming it sold photos from their wedding to the National Enquirer. Hervey, 27, claims that the tabloid ran photos that he paid the Little White Wedding Chapel photographer to take on his Feb. 6, 1998, wedding day. The president of the company that owns the chapel says it ”would never sell people’s photos.” No information on exactly how much a Hervey wedding snapshot fetches in today’s competitive paparazzi market, and whether it’s more or less pricey than a ”Fred Savage washes his car.”

THE SHOW WILL GO ON A federal judge has denied an injunction to stop the release of ”Boys Don’t Cry” filed by one of the people portrayed in the nonfiction story who claims that her story was used without permission, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Lana Tisdel, who fell in love with Brandon Teena, not realizing he was actually a woman, and whose friends later killed Teena, failed to show that her suit was likely to prevail, according to the judge.

PUNDIT GRAB Fox News Channel has hired ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro to join its election coverage team. Jerry Brown continues to hold out for a Home Shopping Network offer.

STEPPING DOWN The editor in chief of St. Martin’s Press, Robert Wallace, has resigned in disgust over the publisher’s controversial George W. Bush bio, ”Fortunate Son.” The book, which alleged that Bush had once been arrested for cocaine possession but that his dad got him out of a jail term (according to anonymous sources), was recalled last week after it was discovered that author J.H. Hatfield had served time in the early ’90s for a felony conviction. (Hatfield claims it was a case of mistaken identity.) Wallace told the Associated Press he doesn’t ”want to be associated with a book I have no control over. I haven’t even read the book.”

OBITUARY Singer/songwriter Hoyt Axton died on Tuesday at the age of 61. Axton wrote for Elvis Presley and John Denver, as well as penning Three Dog Night’s hit ”Joy to the World” and Ringo Starr’s ”No No Song.” Axton also dabbled in acting, most memorably as the father in ”Gremlins.”