Plus: Larry King wins first post-jail interview with Paris, Rosie says she won't host ''The Price Is Right,'' ''Idol'' sets audition dates, and more

By Dawnie Walton
Updated June 26, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/
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Ratner to direct Hugh Hefner biopic
Brett Ratner has been tapped to helm Playboy, about the colorful life of the magazine’s founder, for Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Brian Grazer, who long ago bought the rights to make a film about Hefner’s life, will produce; John Hoffman is penning the screenplay. Though writer John Silver and Oliver Stone previously took stabs at adapting Hef’s story for the big screen, it was the team of Hoffman and Rush Hour 3 director Ratner whose vision ultimately got the stamp of approval from Grazer and the 81-year-old Hef himself, who signed off on the project last week during a meeting at the Playboy Mansion. (Variety)

Larry King scores first Paris post-jail interview
Following a nasty booking war between NBC and ABC to interview the heiress after she is released from a California jail on Tuesday, CNN’s Larry King has surprisingly emerged the winner. Both NBC and ABC pulled out of negotiations with the Hiltons last Friday, fearing bad publicity after details of financial offers to the family (to cover expenses, and for rights to photographs and video) were revealed in the New York Post. Larry King’s interview with Hilton, who will receive no compensation for it, will air Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. (Variety)

Rosie says she won’t host The Price Is Right
Though she lunched with producers of the long-running game show last week, Rosie O’Donnell now says in a video on her website that she is not interested in replacing Bob Barker as host because she does not want to move to Los Angeles. ”To get my entire family uprooted from their lives and move them across the country so that I can have a fantasy childhood indulgence job just doesn’t seem fair,” said O’Donnell, who lives outside New York City with partner Kelli Carpenter and their four children. (

American Idol sets audition dates
Tryouts for season 7 of the show begin July 30 in San Diego, Calif., Fox announced in a press release. Six other cities are set to host auditions: Dallas (Aug. 6); Omaha (Aug. 10); Atlanta (Aug. 14); Charleston, S.C. (Aug. 18); Miami (Aug. 22); and Philadelphia (Aug. 27). Aspiring singers between the ages of 16 and 28 who are eligible to work in the United States are invited to compete. Season 7 premieres in January 2008. (Press release)

Sicko gets off to a healthy start
Michael Moore’s health-care documentary opened in New York over the weekend and made $70,000 in one theater alone (it also sold out on 43 screens Saturday). The film will open wider — on 300-400 screens, Weinstein Co. sources told Variey — this weekend. (Variety)
In other Sicko-related news, three ailing 9/11 rescue workers who accompanied Moore on a trip to Cuba say they will fight any charges brought against them by the U.S. Treasury Department, which mandates a license to visit that nation and forbids licensees from seeking medical treatment there. (Variety)

Sorkin is Broadway-bound
Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention, his ensemble play about the birth of the television, will hit Broadway in November — likely with Steven Spielberg attached as a producer. Des McAnuff, also Sorkin’s partner in a planned Flaming Lips musical, will direct Farnsworth. (Variety)

Thomas Haden Church cast in Sandra Bullock comedy
The Oscar nominee (Sideways) will star opposite Sandra Bullock in All About Steve, about a lovesick crossword writer (Bullock) who follows a CNN cameraman (Church) across the country and finds herself in the process. The film will be directed by newbie Phil Traill, and produced by Bullock through her Fortis Films company. (Hollywood Reporter)

Paramount will make Dubai
The studio has acquired the rights to a script by Adam Cozad, a thriller about an attack on the U.S. economy. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce, and Eric Bana will executive-produce (it’s unclear whether Bana will take an acting role in the movie). (Hollywood Reporter)

New Transformers cartoon in the works
Hasbro will work with the Cartoon Network to develop Transformers Animated, a new series to debut in January. Execs at both companies say the show will reimagine the franchise, adding humor, introducing new characters, and featuring more plots in which the Transformers fight evil humans (instead of evil Decepticons). (Hollywood Reporter)

Mark Burnett plans martial-arts reality show
The producer behind Survivor and other highly successful reality programming is teaming with ProElite to develop a new series focused on martial arts. There is no solid concept yet for the show, though Burnett and ProElite have already agreed to share revenue from the joint venture. (Hollywood Reporter)

Anika Noni Rose cast in Agency
The Dreamgirls actress will costar (along with singer Jill Scott) in the big-screen version of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. In the movie, based on Alexander McCall Smith’s novel of the same name, Rose will play the secretary to Precious Ramotswe (Scott), who owns and operates a gumshoe agency in Botswana. Anthony Minghella is on board to direct. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)

Missy Peregrym to star in TV’s Reaper
The actress (Heroes) has landed a role in The CW’s Reaper, about a slacker (Bret Harrison) who becomes a bounty hunter for the devil (Ray Wise). Peregrym plays the slacker’s coworker and crush. She replaces Nikki Reed, who was previously cast in the pilot. (Reuters)


Page Six: OK! magazine wins bidding war for Eva Longoria’s wedding photos.

Cindy Adams: Barbara Walters on why she eventually walked away from a Paris Hilton post-jail interview.

Ben Widdicombe’s Gatecrasher: Is Renée Zellweger secretly dating her agent at CAA?


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