Plus, more legal hot water for Eminem, cast changes at ''Ally McBeal,'' and more

By Gary Susman
Updated June 08, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Sean Puffy Combs: Ernie Stewart/Retna

LEGAL BRIEFS Puff Daddy has already admitted being the daddy of 3-year-old Christian Casey Combs and is paying child support to his ex-girlfriend, model Kim Porter. But Porter is suing because she says she wants an official order of paternity document, and that the law entitles her to up to 17 percent of Sean Combs’ adjusted gross income. A Puffy spokeswoman called the suit ”underhanded,” saying that Combs’ lawyers had believed the matter resolved….

Linda Fiorentino filed a countersuit over her refusal to take it all off in a film where she was to play artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Art Oko Film, the German producers of ”Till the End of Time” had sued her for breach of contract when she backed out last summer, leading to the cancellation of the production, but her suit charges that Art Oko promised investors she would ”perform the full frontal nudity and prurient sex scenes that they had added to the script without Fiorentino’s approval.” Guess she’s not that jaded….

A judge ruled Monday that Eminem‘s mom can’t take back an oral agreement to settle her defamation suits against her son. Debbie Mathers-Briggs claims that her former lawyer agreed to a settlement of $25,000 from Eminem for defaming his mother in interviews and song lyrics. The judge, however, said that ”remorse” wasn’t grounds for annulling the agreement.

Eminem himself had a court date yesterday for sentencing in his no contest plea to weapons charges stemming from a fight last year with the Insane Clown Posse, but the judge’s full docket led to a postponement until June 28.

Meanwhile, Em’s song ”The Real Slim Shady” is causing legal problems for radio station KKMG-FM in Colorado Springs, Colo. The FCC is fining the top-40 station $7,000 for violating indecency standards by playing the hit single, albeit the edited version, which it says contains expletives, violent misogyny, and ”unmistakable offensive sexual references,” according to the FCC. Of course, the song was played hundreds of times a week at stations throughout the country last summer, but in Colorado Springs, home of such conservative and religious organizations as Focus on the Family, a KKMG listener filed a complaint last July, leading to the current FCC action. The fine comes two months after the FCC issued new indecency guidelines that said even sexual innuendo could lead to penalties.

Kathleen Kirby, an attorney for Citadel Communications, which owns KKMG and other stations, said she worried that the FCC was setting an alarming First Amendment precedent, telling Reuters, ”The danger involved is that folks at the station level can’t take comfort in the fact that something labeled ‘radio edit version’ is in compliance with the FCC’s rules.”

LAW & DISORDER Sam Waterston isn’t the only TV lawyer whose office ought to have a turnstile. Turnover is similarly high on ”Ally McBeal,” which will lose Lisa Nicole Carson and James LeGros this fall but will gain two and possibly four new costars. Regina Hall, who played Robert Downey Jr.‘s assistant in a guest role, will become permanent, as will Josh Hopkins (”The Perfect Storm”). ”X-Men”’s Cyclops, James Marsden, and Julianne Nicholson (”The Love Letter”) are in talks to join as well. Greg Germann is staying on, but Lucy Liu and Peter MacNicol are still negotiating.

THE FULL MORLEY CBS may be out of the Outback, but its original crew of survivors — Mike, Morley, Ed, and the rest — helped the network win the week. ”60 Minutes” was the top show of the week for the first time in two years, scoring 14.9 million viewers and outshooting NBC’s broadcast of the NBA playoff game that sent the Philadelphia 76ers to the finals (it was the week’s No. 6 show, with 13.5 million viewers). CBS pulled an average of 9.7 million viewers, followed by NBC (8.9 million), ABC (7.2 million), Fox (5.9 million), UPN, and the WB.

Sarah Jessica Parker was competing against herself Sunday night, lending moral support to husband and Tony Awards host/nominee Matthew Broderick by serving as a presenter on the CBS telecast while her series ”Sex and the City” had its season premiere on HBO. The Tonys drew 8.9 million viewers (its second lowest number ever), while back-to-back episodes of ”Sex” seduced 6.2 million viewers, 50 percent more than last year’s season premiere. More than 5 million of them stuck around for the series premiere of ”Six Feet Under,” scoring a record for a debut of an HBO show.

STRIKE WATCH Members of the Writers Guild of America formally ratified the new contract with producers Monday night, with 92 percent of the WGA’s membership voting in favor of the new agreement. This is the pact whose last-minute negotiation in early May narrowly averted a strike. The question remains whether actors will shut down Hollywood with a strike anyway when their contract expires June 30. Negotiations with producers resumed yesterday after a two-week hiatus.

CASTING CALL Mark Ruffalo (”You Can Count on Me”) is in talks to costar with Mel Gibson in ”Signs,” the upcoming supernatural thriller from ”Sixth Sense” creator M. Night Shyamalan. Molly Parker (”The Center of the World”) is joining the cast of ”Hoffman,” in which John Cusack will star as the young Adolf Hitler’s art teacher. Let’s hope the story’s not getting the ”Pearl Harbor” treatment: ”I tried to teach him to paint, but he got frustrated and turned to other things, and then all THIS happened.”

PASSING NOTES Character actress Anne Haney, who enjoyed a busy two-decade TV and movie career even though she didn’t come to Hollywood until she was in her late 40s, died of natural causes on May 26 at her home in Studio City, Calif. The 67-year-old actress appeared in such films as ”Mrs. Doubtfire,” ”Liar, Liar,” and ”The American President,” as well as such TV shows as ”Ally McBeal,” ”Providence,” and ”NYPD Blue.”…

Pop songwriter Michael Hazlewood lived under the foggy skies of England when he cowrote such hits as ”It Never Rains in Southern California” and ”The Air That I Breathe” with Albert Hammond. He died May 6 of a heart attack in his sleep during a vacation in Florence. He was 59….

Rockets Redglare appeared in movies as what he was, a hipster icon of New York City’s East Village. The 52-year-old comedian/performance artist, born Michael Morra, had roles in such films as ”Desperately Seeking Susan,” ”Stranger Than Paradise,” and ”Basquiat.” In earlier days, he served as a roadie for Long Island rockers The Hassles, featuring the then-unknown Billy Joel, and as a bodyguard for the Sex Pistols and then ex-Pistol Sid Vicious. He died in Manhattan on May 28 of multiple causes, including kidney faliure, liver failure, cirrhosis, and hepatitis C.

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