Katharine McPhee, Tom Green, and ''Justice League'' made news the week of January 18, 2008


+ Another Idol deal has bitten the dust. Katharine McPhee is the latest former contestant to be axed by her label. In recent weeks, season 2 winner Ruben Studdard and season 5 champ Taylor Hicks parted ways with J and Arista Records, respectively. (Studdard continues to be managed by 19 Entertainment; deals for Clay Aiken and Fantasia are still intact.) McPhee’s self-titled debut album charted at a promising No. 2 in February 2007, but it never reached gold status. Sources close to McPhee complain the label didn’t support the album — but Idol Phatigue seems to have conquered McPheever. McPhans shouldn’t lose all hope: She’s now in talks with another label and makes her first feature-film appearance opposite Anna Faris in I Know What Boys Like later this year. As for Hicks and Studdard, it looks like they’ll remain indie artists for now. (Hicks, we hear, is planning to self-release his next record.) Says a rep for the RCA Music Group (which includes Arista, RCA, and J Records), ”We are proud of the artists on the roster who started their careers on the show. With respect to Taylor, we have an understanding that he will come back to us to play music once he’s finished writing his new material.” But with the seventh season of American Idol about to kick off, the trend doesn’t bode well for future finalists looking for a big break, or for the franchise’s star-making power. Perhaps two-time Dancing With the Stars winner Julianne Hough will fare better. She just signed a multi-album deal with Mercury Nashville, home to Shania Twain and Sugarland. Her first country effort is due in late spring or early summer. — Shirley Halperin

+ Tom Green is making a TV comeback — from the comfort of his living room. The live daily Internet talk show (at TomGreen.com) that the ex-MTV madman launched from his home in 2006 is now also airing as a test for eight weeks in six U.S. markets (hello, Houston!) and on a Canadian network (hello, Halifax!). While Tom Green’s House Tonight doesn’t mark the first time that the tube has borrowed from the Web (see: upcoming NBC drama Quarterlife), it’s noteworthy in that an Internet show is being simultaneously broadcast on TV. ”The thing I’ve tried to accomplish with my shows is to shoot something ridiculous and just put it on the air, [but] there’s always been a lot of hurdles, whether it’s a network executive or various things,” says Green, whose upcoming guests include Dave Foley and Norm Macdonald. ”This is the ultimate idea of instant gratification.” — Dan Snierson

+ Holy smokes, Batman! The WGA strike has Warner Bros.’ superhero bonanza Justice League of America in its crosshairs. A source tells EW that filmmakers would like another script rewrite, and are now debating whether to begin shooting without one. The studio has a Jan. 15 deadline to either greenlight League for a spring production start — meaning a summer ’09 release — or push it into the post-strike ether. (Warner Bros. had no comment.) All seven superheroes have been cast (Adam Brody is in, according to one report), but it remains to be seen whether they’ll get to fly this year. — Nicole Sperling