For The Record: Quick News On Jessica Simpson, Michael Jackson, N.E.R.D. And Good Charlotte, Queen Latifah & More

Get ready to start calling her Jessica Sampson. That’s going to be the name of Jessica Simpson‘s character on her ABC sitcom-in-the-works, which has just been picked up as a pilot. In the show, Simpson will play a pop-culture phenomenon much like herself who signs on to a prime-time news-magazine program to work as a part-time on-air reporter, much to the dismay of the hardworking female producer. Like “Newlyweds,” the sitcom will be executive-produced by her father. A rep for ABC said that the rest of the show remains to be cast, but the pilot should be shot within the next three months and they’ll know by mid-May if it’s picked up as a series. …

The judge presiding over the Michael Jackson case said on Friday (February 13) that he would like the matter to come to trial by the end of this year. The pop star did not have to appear at Friday’s hearing in Santa Maria, California, where his lawyers asked for more time to sift through the hundreds of pages of documents that had been handed over to them in discovery. Judge Rodney Melville granted the delay, setting April 2 as the next court date at which they would set a date for the preliminary hearing. He also ruled that while he would not fully release certain court documents to the public, he will make available edited versions of three warrants in question sometime next week. Meanwhile, Jackson may have to appear on March 5 to extend his wavier to appear at future preliminary hearings. …

For their upcoming album, Fly or Die, the boys of N.E.R.D. invited Good Charlotte to perform on the song “Jump.” Good Charlotte join Lenny Kravitz and the RootsAhmir “?uestlove” Thompson as guest musicians for the LP, which hits stores on March 23. … Queen Latifah‘s Flavor Unit Films is remaking the 1974 blaxploitation film “Truck Turner.” The original starred Isaac Hayes as a bounty hunter who’s suddenly flipped into the hunted. Latifah’s film is only in development, though with a distributor, MGM, already on board, hopes are to start shooting this summer. A spokesperson for the film company said Latifah, who can currently be seen in “Barbershop 2,” will probably also star in the movie. …

Ghostface‘s upcoming Def Jam debut, The Pretty Tony Album, has been pushed back a month, to April 6. Meanwhile, a rambunctious collaboration Ghost did with Missy Elliott, called “Tush,” has leaked online and to mixtapes. …
After toying with various titles for their fifth full-length album, experimental alt-country outfit Wilco have settled on A Ghost Is Born. The 13-track disc is currently being mastering at Abbey Road Studios in London and is slated for a June 8 release. …

Fans of Tommy Tutone‘s 1982 hit song, “867-5309/Jenny,” have nine more days to bid for ownership of the famous phone number. Jenny’s New York digits, (212) 867-5309, are up for grabs in an online auction on eBay, and can be transferred to a mobile or Internet phone thanks to the Federal Communications Commission’s new rules regarding wireless phone numbers. As of press time, the highest offer was $2,648.99 … Kings of Leon won Best New Band and Best International Band at the NME Music Awards on Wednesday in London. Radiohead also nabbed two awards: Best Video for “There There” and Best Album for Hail to the Thief. Other winners included the White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Dizzee Rascal and Ozzy Osbourne, who took the Godlike Genius prize. …

Singer Mike Patton has booked a handful of experimental solo shows. The first is February 24 in San Francisco with Ikue Mori and avant-garde jazz saxophonist John Zorn. Patton will then play five shows with Rahzel, starting February 26 in Atlanta and running through March 11 in New York. … T.A.T.U., the Russian pop duo that scored a hit with “All the Things She Said,” will likely fire their manager, Ivan Shapovalov, but will have to change their name to do so since he owns the copyright, Russian paper Dni reports. The ladies are reportedly unhappy with Shapovalov because he is too interested in portraying them as controversial lesbians, and not interested enough in promoting their actual music. …

The Black Eyed Peas will play an outdoor concert in St. Maarten on March 7 at the end of the 24th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The show will be held at Kim Sha Beach. On Tuesday, the group will perform in London at the Brit Awards. … New Orleans rock band 12 Stones have parted ways with bassist Kevin Dorr. A replacement has not yet been named. The group is currently in the studio with producer Dave Fortman working on the follow-up to their 2002 self-titled debut. …

Judas Priest‘s former drummer Dave Holland, who played with the band between 1980 and 1989, has begun serving an eight-year jail sentence in England for the attempted rape of a teenage boy. Holland was convicted last month in Northampton Crown Court on one count of attempted rape and five counts of indecent assault against a 17-year-old mentally impaired youth to whom he was giving drum lessons. … Eminem‘s ex-wife, Kim Mathers, was sentenced to serve 30 days in Macomb County Jail for using cocaine while on probation, according to The Associated Press. After her jail time she will be transferred to an inpatient substance-abuse treatment program, where she will spend an additional 90 days. Mathers was sentenced to two years’ probation in January after pleading guilty to charges of cocaine possession stemming from a traffic stop. …

02.12.2004

Nelly Furtado and Sarah McLachlan have both been nominated for five Juno Awards, the yearly ceremony that celebrates Canadian music. Nickelback and Celine Dion are up for four awards, and Billy Talent, Our Lady Peace, and Sam Roberts have been named in three categories. Avril Lavigne, Rush, Alanis Morissette, Simple Plan and Barenaked Ladies are also up for awards. This year’s Junos will take place at various venues in Edmonton, Alberta, from April 2 to 4. …

Want to watch Godsmack perform from your cozy La-Z-Boy? You can either watch one of the band’s home videos, or you can pick up a copy of its upcoming acoustic EP, The Other Side, due March 16. One copy of the disc will include a golden ticket that will entitle the purchaser to a personal concert in their living room by Sully and the boys. … West Coast rapper Xzibit will unveil the new hip-hop group he’s formed, Strong Arm Steady, through a DVD on March 2, titled “Strong Arm Steady: The DVD.” The group features Xzibit and a trio of underground MCs — Phil Da Agony, Krondon and Mitchy Slick. The DVD includes footage of the group’s first live shows last year and visits to the recording studio. Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, Ice-T and others make cameos. …

Gang Starr are prepping the release of a DVD that compiles exclusive live performances from the influential hip-hop group’s 15-year history and in-studio visits with DJ Premier. An accompanying live CD is also expected to be included in the package, which is due in the summer. … DJ Danger Mouse has been added to this year’s Coachella Festival lineup on May 2 in Indio, California. Performing the same day will be the Cure, the Flaming Lips, Air and others. Danger Mouse, who recently received a cease-and-desist order for his record The Grey Album, which creatively blends Jay-Z‘s The Black Album with the Beatles’ The White Album, is working on collaborative LPs with Cee-Lo and MF Doom. He is also producing the upcoming disc by Tha Alkaholics, Firewater, and albums by Prince Po and Sage Francis. …

Art Garfunkel, one half of the legendary ’60s folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, has pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in Hurley, a small town 90 miles north of New York City. He was fined $100 and had to pay an additional $100 in court costs. The singer’s lawyer entered the guilty plea on February 4, which meant he didn’t have to attend Wednesday’s scheduled court appearance. Garfunkel was busted for weed possession on January 17 when his limousine was pulled over for speeding and cops found a baggie containing six grams of marijuana in his jacket pocket. … Christian grunge-lite band Switchfoot have been nominated by the Gospel Music Association for six Dove Awards this year. Stacie Orrico has also been nominated for Doves, as have perennials Jars of Clay and Newsboys. …

Former Kiss members Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer are putting together and performing on a Kiss tribute record, Spin the Bottle, which will come out April 27. The 11-song disc will feature a host of singers including Twisted Sister‘s Dee Snider on “Detroit Rock City,” Helmet‘s Page Hamilton on “Calling Dr. Love,” Motörhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister on “Shout It Out Loud,” WWE wrestler Chris Jericho on “King of the Night Time World” and the MelvinsBuzz Osborne on “God of Thunder.” The album will include a 40-minute behind-the-scenes bonus DVD. …

Fleetwood Mac will launch a North American tour on May 8 in Madison, Wisconsin. Dates are scheduled through June 22. The band is still touring to support last year’s studio album Say You Will. … The second studio album by Tantric, After We Go, will be out February 24, and the band will hit the road immediately after its release. The first date of the tour is February 25 in Minneapolis. Dates are scheduled through March 20 in Columbia, South Carolina. …