Plus, Eminem is persona non grata in Daytona, Ashley Judd to play Catwoman in new ''Batman'' spinoff, and more
TOURING It’s official: Madonna has announced her first tour since 1993’s ”Girlie Show.” The Material Mom will play a month of gigs in Europe before hitting the States in July to promote ”Music,” her latest album, her spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, told the Associated Press. No cities or dates yet — stay tuned.
In other Madonna news, ”Don’t Tell Me” has become her 24th gold single, tying her with the Beatles for second most gold singles behind Elvis Presley, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. With just one more gold, Madonna will surpass the Fab Four, although she’s got a long way to go before even touching the King’s record of 51 gold singles.
REPEAT OFFENDER Eminem is persona non grata in Daytona Beach. After Slim’s profanity riddled performance Friday at BET’s annual Black College Reunion spring break concert, the Florida beach town’s mayor says Eminem won’t be asked back: ”He would definitely not be welcome back to perform,” Mayor Bud Asher told the Associated Press. ”Evidently this guy is a renegade and does whatever he wants.”
The mayor added that he had an agreement with BET executives to ensure that the outdoor concert, held at a city owned bandshell on the beach, would not include lewd behavior or obscene music. BET officials, however, say that Eminem did sing a song twice, the second time around without profanity. ”We just wanted [the mayor] to know it won’t happen again.” Even Snoop Dogg turned in a PG performance.
MUSIC MIX AOL Time Warner (EW.com’s parent company), Bertelsmann, EMI Group, and RealNetworks announced Monday morning that they are collaborating to create a new online music platform, MusicNet. According to Reuters, the four companies said in a statement that MusicNet will license its platform to companies that want to sell music subscription services under their own brands, licensing first to America Online and RealNetworks but eventually to Napster and other online distribution companies. EMI, Bertelsmann and AOL Time Warner will each own a minority stake in MusicNet and license their music to MusicNet, which will operate as an independent company. RealNetworks will also own a minority stake and contribute to the platform’s Internet technology.
CASTING Ashley Judd has signed on to play the ”Batman” series’ famous femme feline in ”Catwoman” for Warner Bros. This is the third recent addition to the studio’s most profitable franchise. The other two ”Batman” related films are a live action prequel from director Darren Aronofsky (”Requiem for a Dream”), and a big screen version of the animated TV series ”Batman Beyond.”
Molly Shannon is in final talks to join Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid in the Miramax / Dimension comedy ”The Guest.” Directed by David Zucker (”Airplane!”), the film is slated to start production this month.
Patricia Arquette will star opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the thriller ”Behind the Sun” for Lions Gate Films. Arquette will play a New Orleans stripper who helps Thornton’s character, a small town cop. The project is slated to begin shooting next month.
Oscar winner James Coburn has decided on his next role: playing a WWII veteran in the mystery thriller ”American Gun.” The independent revemge drama starts shooting Friday in Los Angeles. Coburn’s costars include Virginia Madsen, Barbara Bain, and Alexandra Holden.
NETIQUETTE Out of network loyalty, Fox star Ashton Kutcher of ”That ’70s Show” has decided not to compete on the celebrity edition of ABC’s ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Kutcher, a former biochemical engineering major at the University of Iowa, had hoped to win money on the game show for the hometown hospital where his twin brother had a heart transplant 10 years ago. ”I think he is disappointed,” Kutcher’s publicist Leslie Stone told the Associated Press. ”He wanted to give back to the families.” Fox did step in and reward Kutcher for not appearing on the rival show by donating $32,000 (the minimum Kutcher could have won on ”Millionaire”) to the Patient Transplant Support Fund at University Hospitals in Iowa City.
TUBE NEWS Valerie Bertinelli is ready for her prime time comeback. The ”One Day at a Time” star (and Mrs. Eddie Van Halen) has joined the cast of CBS’ ”Touched By An Angel” as a new earth dwelling seraph.
Bertinelli’s first appearance on the Sunday night family drama is April 29. If her familiarity (she starred in the network’s highest rated TV movie of the season, ”Personally Yours”) boosts the former top 10 series’ ratings, which are down 17 percent from last year, Bertinelli will be a regular next fall.
ROTTEN ‘APPLE’ After only five episodes, CBS has canceled the low rated series ”Big Apple.” Starring Ed O’Neill and produced by ”NYPD Blue” cocreator David Milch, the police drama never kept a significant percentage of its lead ins, the top-rated shows ”Survivor: The Australian Outback” and ”CSI.” ”Apple” averaged only 9.7 million viewers in its five broadcasts. So far, seven of the show’s 13 ordered episodes have been completed, and it’s unclear whether production on the last six will continue. Maybe O’Neill should see if ”Touched” needs another angel.