RESISTING Julianna Margulies has turned down a last-ditch $27 million offer from Warner Bros. to get her to stay with ”ER” for two more years. She plans to leave at the end of this season. Variety reports that, in addition to the lucrative salary offer, Warner dangled a movie development deal in front of her as an incentive to hang in. Although she was tempted, she decided that her character had gone as far as she could go, and now Margulies is going as far away as she can go.
CASTING Jennifer Love Hewitt may join ”Trust Me.” She’d play an FBI trainee kidnapped by the Mob whose abductor falls for her because she’s so beguiling in that Patty Hearst kind of way.
DEBUNKING RUMORS Remember, it’s just Puffy Forever, not Puffy and Jennifer Forever. In response to reports in the New York tabloids Sean ”Puffy” Combs released a statement saying that he had not proposed to Jennifer Lopez. ”At this time, we do not have plans to marry,” he said. ”We’ve just started a relationship and are taking things day by day.” But if he does pop the question, the couple won’t be registered at one place — they’d like china samples from collections everywhere.
IN THE WORKS Two ”Terminator” sequels will be shot one after another starting next year, according to the producers: But that doesn’t mean that Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron will be back. Cameron has already said he won’t participate, and Arnold hasn’t said anything either way. Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna, who bought the rights to the franchise two years ago for $8 million, tell Variety they’ll cast someone else if need be. (Because who really equates Schwarzenegger with those movies, anyway? Oh, yeah… everybody.) The third ”Terminator” tells the story of the apocalyptic war foretold in the first film, and the fourth will take place in the battle’s aftermath.
REEL DEALS Steven Spielberg has hired a writer to pen his Lindbergh biopic: Menno Meyjes, who wrote ”The Color Purple” and ”Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” for Spielberg, will adapt the A. Scott Berg biography for the screen. Right now the film is third on Spielberg’s to-do list, after ”Minority Report” with Tom Cruise and the adaptation of ”Memoirs of a Geisha”…. ”American Pie” writer Adam Herz has signed a deal to create a new NBC sitcom all about the perils of high school. Since this is TV, his characters won’t be able to hump pies, but will be restricted to french-kissing donuts…. ”The Naked Gun” creator David Zucker is teaming with former ”Seinfeld” writer Steve Koren to develop the NBC comedy series ”H.U.D.,” which posits that the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is the real secret base for U.S. spy missions.
FINED If anyone ever charges you $100 for the right to play the bongos naked, a good haggling tactic would be, ”Well, Matthew McConaughey only paid $50.” That’s how much he was fined for his Oct. 25 arrest in Austin, Tex., after cops went to his house and discovered him performing his nudie percussion solo. Fifty bucks paid a violation of the city’s noise ordinance. All charges of resisting transport were dropped when the actor’s lawyer argued that cops used excessive force and entered his house without a warrant.
SUIT BUSTERS If you thought Tom Cruise was unstoppable at the box office, just try going up against him in a court of law. Back in February former housekeeper Judita Gomez claimed that she had been fired by the couple after more than five years of service for no reason at all. Yesterday an L.A. superior court judge dismissed the suit, saying it was without merit, according to E! Online.
UNDER THE KNIFE If Eddie Van Halen is starting to feel old after losing his third vocalist, this won’t help: He’s having hip-replacement surgery this month. Van Halen’s tour manager told Reuters that the 44-year-old guitarist was supposed to have had the operation two years ago, but doctors told him then that he should wait until a stronger pseudo-hip was developed. Perhaps Van Halen’s old hip will be given to Gary Cherone as a parting gift.
ON HIATUS NBC has yanked four more series off the air for Sweeps: ”Jesse,” ”Freaks and Geeks,” ”The Pretender,” and ”Profiler”. Get ready for enough ”Friends” and ”Just Shoot Me” reruns to make your eyes bleed.
SHAKY GROUND Ever since Monica Lewinsky, nothing seems to go right for Washington interns: The WB has reduced its 13-episode order for the mid-season replacement ”DC,” a drama all about Capitol interns, to seven episodes. Whether this is because teen-appeal shows haven’t been doing as well as expected this year or because the series — created by ”Law & Order” guru Dick Wolf — isn’t living up to expectations isn’t clear. Neither is the show’s debut date: ”Plans for ‘DC’ are still being formulated,” a WB spokesperson told Variety.
OFF THE AIR Adieu, fair Grodin. Charles Grodin‘s weekly talk show has been axed by MSNBC, where it aired for a year and a half after being bumped off CNBC. He’ll go back to acting, as well as to making occasional appearances on Court TV and NBC’s ”Today” show. Happily, this career shift will not affect his ability to glower at David Letterman during ”Late Show” visits.