Plus: Viacom sues Google and YouTube for $1 billion, Stallone in hot water Down Under, more castings in the proposed ''Grey's'' spin-off, and more
Gerard Butler plots Escape From New York
Butler, star of the breakout smash 300, is at the center of a plan to remake Escape From New York; he’d star as Snake Plissken, the one-eyed antihero charged with breaking into the maximum-security prison formerly known as Manhattan in order to rescue the trapped President. (The 1981 original starred Kurt Russell.) Following 300‘s $70 million debut over the weekend, studios are said to be battling over the project, which has a producer (Neil Moritz) and a writer (Ken Nolan, Black Hawk Down) already attached. A deal is expected to be finalized by this week. (Variety)
Viacom sues Google and YouTube for $1 billion
Viacom, the parent company of MTV and Comedy Central, filed a federal lawsuit against YouTube and its parent company, Google, on Tuesday, accusing YouTube of ”blatant disregard” for the law in its posting of copyrighted material. Viacom is seeking $1 billion in the suit, which is the latest salvo in its ongoing war with Google; last month, Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 clips of its programming. YouTube complied, but Google hinted it would fight the new suit, issuing a statement that the company is ”confident that YouTube has respected the legal rights of copyright holders… We will certainly not let this suit become a distraction to the continuing growth and strong performance of YouTube.” (New York Times)
Sylvester Stallone charged in Australia
The actor/director was charged in a Sydney court on Tuesday with importing banned human growth hormone — 48 vials of it — into the country while there to promote his movie Rocky Balboa last month. Though he was not present in the courtroom, Stallone will enter a plea on April 24; the maximum fine he faces is the equivalent of $96,600. (Reuters)
More castings for the Grey’s spin-off
Amy Brenneman (Judging Amy) and Merrin Dungey (Alias) will guest in the extended Grey’s Anatomy episode that will serve as a springboard for a potential Addison-centered spin-off of the hit ABC series. Already attached to the spin-off: Taye Diggs, Tim Daly, Chris Lowell, and Paul Adelstein. Hollywood Reporter)
Original Law & Order, Criminal Intent in trouble?
According to Variety, NBC’s long-running series (17 years!) and one of its spin-offs are facing cancellation — or, at the least, severe cost-cutting. The franchise’s creator, Dick Wolf, is expected to meet with execs at the struggling Peacock to discuss ways to improve the shows’ bottom line and demographics, which have skewed older recently. Ratings for both shows have also slipped since they were moved to different time slots this season (CI is regularly beaten by Fox’s House, while the original L&O has seen its numbers drop on Friday nights). (Variety)
Christina Applegate, Jean Smart join comedy pilot
The actresses are set to star in ABC’s pilot Sam I Am, about a woman with amnesia (Applegate) and her selfish mother (Smart). Applegate’s last starring TV role was on NBC’s Jesse, which ended in 2000; Smart most recently costarred in 24. (Hollywood Reporter)
Regis Philbin announces open-heart surgery
On Monday’s Live With Regis and Kelly, the 75-year-old Philbin said he’d be undergoing open-heart surgery later this week, after tests revealed his bouts with chest pain and shortness of breath were caused by clogged arteries. The daytime TV host is expected to be off the air and recovering for five weeks. (Reuters)
Ice Cube to produce reality pilot
The actor/rapper has signed a deal with A&E to produce a proposed reality series titled Good in the Hood, in which reformed gang members, drug dealers, and the like would help people walking down similar criminal paths turn their lives around. (Variety)
CBS special to benefit impoverished children
In a project dubbed the ”Listen Charity Campaign,” the Eye is planning a star-studded, two-hour summer TV special to raise money for poor kids around the world. A one-hour special to air the night before will show stars traveling around India, China, and Africa. The announcement comes on the heels of Fox’s similar announcement of a kid-centered campaign, in coordination with American Idol. (Variety)
30 Rock and Scrubs to switch timeslots
Starting April 12, the freshman comedy 30 Rock will air Thursdays at 9 p.m., while Scrubs will shift to 9:30 starting April 19. 30 Rock is currently off the air while Andy Barker P.I. begins its midseason run. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Clive Davis had tough words for Jennifer Hudson after she balked at having to appear at the Soul Train Awards.
Cindy Adams: Details on the four-day wedding of Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar in India.
Rush & Molloy: Robbie Williams is out of rehab and off prescription drugs — but does he now have a problem with caffeine?