Britney Spears isn't crazy about a handful of billboards promoting "The MJ Morning Show" in Florida — and she's threatening legal action because of them, according to documents obtained by TheSmokingGun.com. In a letter sent last week to Clear Channel Communications lawyer Donna Schneider, the pop star's counsel Lynda Goldman claims the billboards — which feature a snarling, bald Spears next to radio host Todd Schnitt, and the headlines "Total Nut Jobs," "Shock Therapy" and "Certifiable" — are "outrageous to the extreme." In the letter, Goldman demands the billboards be removed and says Spears is entitled to "very substantial damages" from Clear Channel because her "likeness has a multimillion-dollar value for authorized commercial exploitations." ...

Jennifer Hudson, Steve Carell and Eddie Murphy are among the 115 people who have been asked to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Ryan Gosling, Daniel Craig, Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston have also been invited to be a part of the group, which is responsible for the Academy Awards. ...

Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler declared a teary-eyed Sara Caplan in contempt of court on Monday. The former Phil Spector defense attorney refused to testify that she saw forensics expert Henry Lee pick up possible evidence in the murder case, The Associated Press reports. The judge ordered her jailed until she testifies but stayed the order to allow for an immediate appeal. ... Paris Hilton's mother and father visited her in jail over the weekend, and Kathy Hilton told MSNBC that the heiress "is doing as well as she can." When asked how his Father's Day was treating him on Sunday, Rick Hilton said, "It's not one of my best." ... Shar Jackson has hired an attorney in her flap with Star magazine over its claims that she is pregnant with Kevin Federline's baby, according to TMZ.com. She said her children are being affected by the rumors and is willing to submit to a pregnancy test to prove she's not expecting. ...

Mötley Crüe filed a $20 million suit against manager Carl Stubner — who also represents Tommy Lee — on Monday, alleging that he hurt the band's reputation, diverted revenue and mismanaged Lee's career. In the lawsuit, the band claims Stubner "promoted Lee's solo activities to the detriment of the band, and at the same time, mismanaged Lee's career so as to harm the Mötley Crüe brand and Lee's reputation as a musician and bandmember." A call to Sanctuary Group, which is also named as a defendant in the suit, was not immediately returned. ... Robert De Niro isn't getting his way in court. A federal judge declined to dismiss a suit that alleges the actor misrepresented his health on an insurance form for his 2005 Fox flick "Hide and Seek," AP reports. Fireman's Fund claims De Niro wrote on the form that he had never been diagnosed with or treated for prostate cancer — but according to court documents, he was diagnosed with the disease in 2003 after undergoing a prostate-gland biopsy. The diagnosis and treatment delayed the movie production, with the group paying Fox more than $1.8 million to cover the delay. A hearing set for July 2 will decide whether the case should go back to state court. ...

The Smashing Pumpkins have lined up their first TV performances in seven years, and David Letterman will be doing the hosting honors. The band will unveil new Zeitgeist material when they play his "Late Show" on July 9 and 13. ... 50 Cent will make some serious money from his affiliation with Queens, New York, beverage brand Glacéau — his Formula 50 is one of the brand's VitaminWater flavors — but reports that surfaced late last month estimating that he'll earn $400 million thanks to Coca-Cola's $4.1 billion buyout of the company were about $300 million off, according to Forbes. 50's profile on the magazine's Celebrity 100 list estimates that the deal, which is not yet finalized, will net the rapper $100 million. ...

Avril Lavigne's next single, "When You're Gone," is scheduled to hit radio Monday (June 18). The video, directed by Marc Klasfield (Jay-Z, Gnarls Barkley) premieres on "TRL" Thursday. ... Lavigne was named Favorite Canadian Artist by viewers at Sunday's MuchMusic Video Awards, and broke down in tears during her acceptance speech, thanking fans for their votes. She also performed "Girlfriend" on the show, and took the Best International Video by a Canadian prize for the clip. Other viewers-choice winners include Favorite International Group My Chemical Romance (the band also won Best International Video - Group), Favorite International Artist Hilary Duff and Favorite Canadian Group Billy Talent. ...

Michael Jackson settled a $48 million lawsuit on Monday that had been brought by New Jersey financial company Prescient Acquisition ofHackensack, AP reports. A lawyer for Prescient owner Darien Dash said Dash had helped Jackson secure $573 million in financing to purchase Sony Corp.'s half of the Beatles' song catalog Jackson co-owned with the company. The lawyer also claimed Dash had helped Jackson refinance a $272 million bank loan. Terms of the settlement have not been released. ... Lou Pearlman will be transported from Guam to Florida to face a bankruptcy charge, according to AP. It could be two to three weeks before the former 'NSYNC and Backstreet Boys manager, who appeared before a federal judge in Guam on Friday, arrives there. ... Julia Roberts gave birth to her third child, Henry Daniel Moder, on Monday. ...

Cody L. Conover, a 25-year-old man from Lancaster, Kentucky, died Friday while attending the Bonnaroo festival, AP reports. Conover was taken to the United Regional Hospital in Manchester, Tennessee, at 11 a.m. Friday with no visible signs of trauma, and was pronounced dead shortly afterward. Conover's death is the sixth fatality in the event's six-year history. Investigators are looking into drugs and heat as possible causes of death. It will be several weeks before police determine the official cause. ... Also at Bonnaroo, legendary jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman, 77, collapsed onstage Sunday night midway through his 90-minute set. The Dallas Morning News reported that Coleman crumpled to the stage and had to be carried off by his bandmembers after succumbing to apparent heat stroke. Coleman was taken to a local hospital and was in stable condition Sunday night. ...

Velvet Revolver's upcoming North American run with Alice in Chains is scheduled to launch August 5 in Baltimore. Seventeen dates have been announced for the first leg of the tour, which will hit cities including Toronto; Mansfield, Massachusetts; Wantagh, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Tinley Park, Illinois; and St. Paul, Minnesota. ... Radiohead posted some new material on their Dead Air Space blog Friday, in a post titled "a bit of tape from the studio." The 1:27-long clip features video of a reel-to-reel tape player churning out selections from songs — some sound like they may be backward — and is accompanied by the description, "I keep bits of tape which have been chopped out of the mixes when they were edited ... stick em on a reel ... when you play it back it sounds like ... this." ...

Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society have parted ways with Roadrunner Records after just one album, the band announced Sunday. Roadrunner released 2006's Shot to Hell, which has sold 121,000 copies since it hit stores in September. The band promises an "exciting announcement" regarding its future will be made in the coming weeks. ... The Dillinger Escape Plan have confirmed rumors that they have parted ways with drummer Chris Pennie; he now plays drums with Coheed and Cambria. The band has enlisted Stolen Babies' Gil Sharone to help finish current album recording sessions. The band revealed in a statement that its forthcoming album will be titled Ire Works and will be produced by Steve Evetts (Saves the Day, Earth Crisis); the set is due in stores this fall. ...

Former Static-X guitarist Tripp Eisen was paroled from a New Jersey correctional facility in April, Blabbermouth reported Friday. According to records posted on the New Jersey Department of Corrections Web site, Eisen (whose real name is Tod Salvador) served 11 months for attempting to lure or entice a child stemming from his arrest for allegedly meeting and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in January 2005. He was fired from Static-X following his arrest. ... A pirated copy of Michael Moore's U.S. health care exposé "Sicko" was available on YouTube and BitTorrent over the weekend — two weeks ahead of the documentary's June 29 release, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trade paper's source said distributor Weinstein Company plans to take "a very aggressive approach to protecting the film." Moore hasn't commented on the leak, though he did say he wasn't opposed to the unauthorized distribution of his "Fahrenheit 9/11" in a 2004 interview with Scotland's Daily Herald. "I don't agree with the copyright laws and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labor," Moore said at the time. "The more people who see it, the better."

6.15.2007

50 Cent defends hip-hop in the July issue of Spin — and says Oprah Winfrey is simply out of touch with his audience. "She doesn't ever say anything that anybody from the ghetto is gonna ID with," 50 said. "Take a poll. You go out and find me some young black women who ID with Oprah. ... She can escape the fact that she's black because she's a billionaire." 50 also said in the interview that hip-hop takes more heat than it deserves. "I think it affects people a lot more to see a film where somebody realistically gets their head blown off than to listen to somebody rapping for three minutes." ...

50 and Winfrey share space on Forbes magazine's annual Celebrity 100 list, which ranks the most powerful and highest-paid celebs — 50 comes in at #32 and Oprah's #1. Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and Diddy also make the cut, while Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton do not — blame "diminished brand value" for their absence, editor Lea Goldman told Reuters. Last year's champ, Tom Cruise, drops to #8 on the list, while Tiger Woods takes #2 and Madonna is #3. ...

In yet more 50 Cent news, the rapper has caught a break with authorities — he won't have to testify in Allen Iverson's upcoming trial, a federal judge ruled Friday (June 15). The charge stems from a 2005 incident in which the basketball star and members of his security team brawled with customers at a bar in Washington, D.C. Prosecutors had suggested 50 knew members of the security squad, but the rapper replied that since he wasn't involved in the fight and wasn't named in the lawsuit filed by two of the patrons, he shouldn't have to testify. A federal judge agreed with 50 and let him off the hook. ...

Fall Out Boy haven't finished mining last year's Infinity on HighPete Wentz and the gang, who are slogging through their Honda Civic Tour, have posted a video for "The Take Over, the Break's Over" exclusively on FriendsOrEnemies.com. ... Ludacris and Nick Cannon are teaming up for "Ball Don't Lie," an indie drama starring street-ball champ Grayson T. Boucher (a.k.a. the Professor), Variety reports. ... Try this one on for size: Bruce Willis will star alongside his daughter Rumer in a teen-remake of the landmark '70s crime movie "Chinatown" that starred Jack Nicholson, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "The Sophomore" will be helmed by music-video director Brett Simon (Good Charlotte, the Killers) and begin principal photography in August. ...

White Stripes have added a New York stop to their Icky Thump promotional tour. But instead of taking over a shuttered Tower Records branch — as the band is doing in West Hollywood, California, on Wednesday — Jack and Meg will play Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Tuesday. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m., and will only be available at the venue's box office. ... Lily Allen posted a blog entry on her MySpace page Thursday responding to reports that she was late for her Tuesday show at New York's Roseland Ballroom. Allen said she took the stage at her scheduled start time. "Anyone who thought I was going on earlier, I'm sorry you were misinformed," she wrote in the post. "I would never turn up two hours late for a gig ....... EVER." The singer also announced that she won't be posting her thoughts as freely going forward. "I'm not going to write here so often now," Allen explained. "This used to be one of my favourite things to do. I could come on here and vent how I feel honestly and get feedback from you guys. But the tabloid f---s have ruined it." ...

Jill Scott capped her two-night run at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Thursday with guests Robin Thicke and Chaka Khan. After that, she toasted the night away at Manhattan's Rooftop Garden for her private afterparty that also brought out Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson and dance queen Tweetie. ... Power 105 radio personality Ed Lover is set to host a town-hall discussion as a part of Kevin Powell's three-day "Black and Male in America" conference in Brooklyn this weekend. The festivities kick off Friday night with panel workshops and will feature speeches and activities by the likes of Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Davey D and Powell over the following days. ...

During his appearance last week with Korn at the annual Download Festival at Donington Park in England, Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison became the first artist to take the fest's stage for a fifth time — with four different bands. He's currently touring with Korn as their fill-in drummer while kitman David Silveria is on hiatus. In the past, Jordison has played Download with Slipknot, his side project Murderdolls, and he also joined Metallica onstage at the fest in 2004. ... H.I.M. will shoot a video for the track "Passion's Killing Floor" on Thursday in Los Angeles with director Meiert Avis (U2, Avril Lavigne). The cut will be included on the "Transformers" soundtrack album and is the first single from the band's forthcoming LP, Venus Doom, which is due September 18. ...

Could a Spice Girls reunion happen after all? Mel C has dismissed the idea in the past, but now comes news that she recently told the BBC, "We've been discussing it and it could possibly happen. I've always said, 'I don't want to do it, the past is the past. It was amazing, it was magical. We could never re-create it.' But this year people have been talking about it, and some of the girls have expressed an interest in doing it." She said if a reunion is to happen, it would only serve as a brief "thank you" to fans. ... June 16 marks the 10th anniversary of the U.K. release of Radiohead's OK Computer — the disc hit U.S. stores July 1, 1997. The band has been writing material in recent months, but there's no word yet on when a new album will surface. ... Moby has signed up with Mute North America, making Mute his record label throughout the world. He is currently working on a new album, and will play a DJ gig on Friday at New York's Nublu. Moby will also DJ at events in Italy next month, performing at Naples' Powerstock Festival (July 27), Jesolo's Il Muretto (July 28) and Milan's Amnesia (July 29). ...

Former Backstreet Boys and 'NSYNC manager Lou Pearlman appeared before a federal judge in Guam on Friday, according to The Associated Press. The feds allege he defrauded a bank by securing almost $20 million in personal and business loans using phony documents from an accounting firm that didn't exist. Pearlman, who was held over Friday, is set to appear in another hearing next week. ... Texas officials announced Thursday that seven convicted sex offenders have been arrested after MySpace provided details about the former members of the social-networking site, Reuters reports. MySpace began cooperating with state authorities last month after initially refusing to provide information, questioning whether revealing users' identities is legal.