Ricky Gervais, Mel Gibson, and MySpace Music made news this week

By Lynette Rice
Updated September 26, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

Ricky Gervais‘ memorable appearance on the Sept. 21 Emmys tipped off Hollywood to its next possible Oscar host. Shortly after Gervais jokingly scolded Steve Carell for stealing the Emmy he won last year for Extras, his reps were besieged with inquiries about his availability and were urged to book a meeting with Academy Awards organizers, stat. ”The buzz around town is that Ricky should host the Oscars,” says one source close to the star. He’s already racking up the movie credits, including the requisite bomb that could become a punchline during the ceremony (Ghost Town earned a disappointing $5 million last weekend) and an intriguing upcoming project. He codirected and co-wrote This Side of the Truth, a 2009 romantic comedy in which he stars with Jennifer Garner and Tina Fey. Gervais will also appear in his own comedy special for HBO this November…. Several sources confirm that CBS is in negotiations to extend TV’s top-rated comedy, Two and a Half Men, into a ninth season. The sitcom that stars Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer shows no sign of slowing: Its sixth season premiere on Sept. 22 was up 9 percent in viewers (14.9 million) and posted its best performance among young adults since 2004. Once the show’s contract extension is finalized, CBS will get busy re-signing the already well-compensated stars (Sheen, for example, gets a reported $825,000 an episode) — all of whom have deals that expire next year. — Lynette Rice

When reports surfaced this week that writer-director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) had signed on to direct Universal’s Cold Warrior, it threw Lethal Weapon fans into a tizzy because they feared another installment would never come to pass. Truth is, the delay has nothing to do with Black, who wrote the first Lethal script and has penned a long treatment for a fifth iteration. (In fact, he plans to take over the director’s reins from Richard Donner.) Lethal number 5 still hinges on Mel Gibson, who’s currently filming Edge of Darkness in Boston. Longtime Lethal producer Joel Silver has been trying to nail down approval from Gibson about Black’s approach, which includes introducing a pair of young NYPD cops. — Nicole Sperling

The much-ballyhooed launch of MySpace Music, an ad-supported partnership between the social networking giant and three of the four major labels, is imminent. Fans will be able to stream an artist’s entire catalog for free (with an option to buy, of course). But that doesn’t mean the industry has come to terms with the idea that there’s no monetary value to their music. ”Rather than offer one way or the highway, we need new methods to drive income,” says Rio Caraeff, an exec VP at Universal, which boasts forthcoming albums by Fall Out Boy and U2. Caraeff acknowledges that the site will take time to gain footing in this iTunes-controlled universe, but there’s another worry too: convincing people that MySpace can be a commercial venue. Says Eric Garland, CEO of online media measurement outfit BigChampagne: ”We haven’t given our credit card to MySpace in the past, so that’s the challenging part.” — Shirley Halperin

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