''Big Brother'' is slapped with a lawsuit
Plus, a Backstreet Boy marriage, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres, and more
REALITY TV At least SOMEONE is watching ”Big Brother”. Variety reports that Chicago attorney Marvin Rosenblum has filed suit against CBS, its corporate parent Viacom, and Orwell productions, the makers of ”Brother,” for alleged copyright infringement. Rosenblum, producer of the 1985 flick ”1984,” owns TV and film rights to the George Orwell novel and claims that the show illegally borrows from it. CBS could not be reached for comment. (In other news, a beekeeper who owns rights to Jonathan Swift’s ”Gulliver’s Travels” plans to file a copyright suit against Yahoo!)…. If legal controversy can’t stir up better ratings for ”Brother,” the Eye apparently has another plan. The New York Times reports that producers are planning to offer house members a $10,000 bribe to leave the show, so that he or she can be replaced with a more — uh — interesting contestant. On Wednesday’s show, the participants will be presented with a briefcase containing the dough and given two minutes to decide whether to take the cash or stay to compete for $500,000. Why don’t they just have nude sunbathing like on the British ”Big Brother”?
TEEN POP And then there were three. The Backstreet Boys lost another bachelor on Saturday when Brian Littrell, 25, tied the knot with his girlfriend, Leighanne Wallace, 31. The two apparently met on the set of the 1997 video ”As Long as You Love Me,” for which Wallace worked as an extra…. Christina Aguilera had a real bummer of a weekend. First the diva-ette had to cancel her Sunday night appearance at the New York State Fair because she lost her voice. Then, scoundrels made off with about $1,000 worth of goods — a gym bag and some fireworks — from her tour bus. Later, two Syracuse University students who had been partying with Aguilera’s crew members were charged with larceny and burglary. Try as it might, the Mickey Mouse Club just can’t prepare kids for the harsh realities of life.
LEGALESE It looks like Eminem will soon face the judge. Rolling Stone reports that a Warren County, Mich., judge ordered the platinum pop star to stand trial on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a concealed weapon. The pop star appeared in court Thursday to waive his right to a preliminary exam, which gives prosecutors the opportunity to present evidence connecting a defendant to a crime in order to convince the judge a trial should proceed. Em supporters can be happy about at least one thing: The judge also eased his travel restrictions. This means the Slim Shady can now perform anywhere in the world, as long as he provides the court with an itinerary.
NAMES Marilyn Manson is apparently taking on some regal affectations. In the Prince tradition, he’s opted to use a symbol rather than his own name on the cover of his next album, ”Holy Wood: In the Shadow of the Valley Of Death.” According to his website, the new moniker will be the sign of Mercury, which is supposed to represent the androgyny of Adam (of Adam and Eve fame). Uh-huh. Yet another battle is won in the bitter war against the Roman alphabet.
PROPERTY Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres have put their country house in California on the market. According to the L.A. Times, the property — complete with working avocado and citrus orchards — is on sale for $2.75 million. The two also own a home in the Hollywood Hills, which they bought for $1.7 mil in 1999.