Plus, Denzel Washington, Ben Affleck, Whitney Houston, David Letterman, ''Felicity,'' and more
WIGGED OUT Fiona Apple has not only cemented her reputation as a serious artist with her second album, but she’s also perfecting her image as someone constantly poised on the edge of a freak-out. She cut short a sold-out New York City concert Tuesday night after only 40 minutes when she was fed up with what she felt was subpar sound. She kept complaining about the mix and her monitors, and eventually began to cry, turning to the VIP section and warning critics not to trash her in their reviews, according to Billboard Online. She finally said the band needed to take a break, and they never returned to the stage. Twenty minutes later, a rep came out to say the show was over, and that the audience should save their ticket stubs because a replacement concert may be scheduled. The next night she appeared on David Letterman’s show, and made it through her entire song: Looks like our little Fiona is growing up.
CASTING Denzel Washington may take the lead in ”Training Day” as a corrupt narcotics policeman paired with a rookie. Luckily, unlike ”The Hurricane,” there won’t be a lot of shady cops speaking up to argue the film’s veracity, unless they’re very bad shady cops…. Ben Affleck is really warming to the blockbuster life: He’s in talks to reteam with his ”Armageddon” director Michael Bay for the high-priced ”Pearl Harbor”…. Robin Wright Penn may join Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in ”Unbreakable,” M. Night Shyamalan‘s supernatural follow-up to ”The Sixth Sense”…. It looks like Dana Delany‘s head has finally cleared from the debacle that was ”Exit to Eden.” She’ll return to TV in ”Good Guys/Bad Guys” as an FBI agent in pursuit of a drug lord (Jon Seda). The series was created by ”Homicide”’s Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson…. Rowan Atkinson (”Mr. Bean”) will continue his great half-wit tradition in the movie ”Touch of Weevel,” about a dim British diplomat who the government mistakenly recruits for a major espionage mission. Think ”Spies Like Us,” but with people saying ”queue” instead of ”line.”
COMING BACK David Letterman looks like he could be returning to his show full-time by March 27, according to UltimateTV, which would only leave two more weeks of alternating guest hosts. (The week of March 13 was already scheduled for reruns.) This will mercifully save his audience from a possible night of Norm Crosby guest-hosting, which seems to be the direction ”The Late Show” is heading.
SCHEDULE SWITCH The WB will be doing some spring rearranging come April: ”Felicity,” which had been suffering on Sundays, will move to Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on April 5 (Dick Wolf’s new Washington-intern drama ”D.C.” will take ”Felicity”’s old slot), and ”Roswell” will relocate to Mondays at 9 p.m. And for next year, Variety says the network is looking to poach Eddie Murphy’s animated ”The PJs” from Fox, which — although it plans to run new episodes this summer — has let its option on the show run out.
PAIRING UP Oh, Divas aplenty! Whitney Houston will duet with George Michael for a new version of Houston’s 1988 tune ”If I Told You That,” which will appear on her upcoming greatest-hits album. Producer Rodney Jerkins told MTV News that they originally wanted Michael Jackson to do it, but that fell through so apparently they decided that just having the name ”Michael” in the credits would do just fine. Houston will also record new duets for the album with Deborah Cox and Enrique Iglesias.
CHARLIE’S BACK You haven’t seen the end of ”Peanuts”. There were two more specials in the works before Charles M. Schulz died that will air this year. One is a 50th Anniversary special, and the other is called ”It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown.” (Possibly meant to reinvigorate Pied Piper Day, which unfortunately doesn’t exist.) Longtime ”Peanuts” animator Bill Melendez tells the Associated Press that Schulz had also given him notes for another show called ”It’s Only Marbles, Charlie Brown” that he was working on, but it’s unclear whether that will ever come to pass. (And not just because kids haven’t played marbles since 1953.) The AP says that Schulz told his daughters that not only should no one take over the strip after he passed away, but that no more TV shows should be produced either. However, his syndicator, United Media, owns the copyright to his characters and could technically go ahead against the Schulzs’ wishes. A spokesman for the company would not comment on any future plans.
BIG WINNER AC/DC fan Wade Sickler paid $28,100 in a charity auction to get one lesson from the band’s guitarist, Angus Young. Hardly a fair price considering any high school stoner will teach you the chords to ”Back in Black” for a six-pack of beer.
SETTLED The two creators of the comic book ”Harsh Realm” have finally won their lawsuit seeking more credit on the Chris Carter-created Fox series they inspired. Granted, it’s five months after the show was quickly axed, but it’s the little victories that count. However, even though Fox only aired three episodes, FX is now airing all nine that were produced, and in that incarnation James D. Hudnall and Andrew Paquette will get an ”Inspired by” credit before Carter’s at the beginning of the show, as opposed to the small ”Special Thanks” nod they originally got at the very end of a speedy closing credit roll.
OBITUARY Social Distortion guitarist Dennis Danell died Tuesday of an apparent brain aneurysm at the age of 38, according to the Hollywood Reporter.