Y TU POTTER TOO! Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien) officially tapped to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third movie in the Harry Potter series. Shooting is set to begin in England in the first quarter of 2003, with release set for the summer of 2004. Original helmer Chris Columbus will now serve as producer.
COOL CLIPS: Eminem's "Without Me" and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's "One Minute Man" leading the pack with six nominations apiece for the 19th MTV Video Music Awards, slated for August 29 at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
EMCEE DUTIES: Saturday Night Live's Jimmy Fallon signing on to be the solo host for the VMAs. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Eminem and Pink among the performers.
CRITICAL DARLINGS: Fox's 24 and The Bernie Mac Show snagging two honors each at Saturday's 18th annual Television Critics Association Awards. 24 was named Program of the Year and New Program of the Year, while Mac's show took home Best Achievement in Comedy and Best Individual Achievement in Comedy.
MAC ADD: Bernie Mac telling the Television Critics Association that he has no problem with Fox pitting The Bernie Mac Show against rival My Wife and Kids, saying it was a business decision. Damon Wayans called Mac concerned because their sitcoms are the two most successful on the air featuring African-Americans.
24 ADD: Meanwhile, Fox says it will run the season premiere episode of 24 without commerical interruption on October 29.
BEHAVING: Despite objections from prosecutors, an Indio, California, judge dismissing drug charges against Robert Downey Jr. stemming from the actor's Thanksgiving 2000 arrest near Palm Springs. The judge ruled Downey had fulfilled the terms of his plea bargain, which included drug rehab in lieu of prison.
MISBEHAVING: Police say they've found a videotape belonging to Mystikal purportedly showing the chart-topping rapper raping a woman at his apartment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The rapper was arrested on rape and extortion charges last week.
TRAMPED: Britain's Public Record Office releasing secret papers acknowledging government officials rejected a recommendation that Charlie Chaplin be knighted by the Queen in 1956 because they didn't want to offend the United States, which accused Chaplin of being a Communist and frowned upon his marriages to two 16-year-olds.
STORK TIME! Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin and husband Kevin Grandalski welcoming their third child last Thursday. Tyler Daniel Grandalski weighed in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces.
IN THE NEWS: PBS leading the pack with 41 nominations at the 23rd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards. CBS was second with 26 and ABC third with 19. ABC News Chairman Roone Arledge will also be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the black-tie affair set for September 10 in New York City.
THE ACTOR'S ACTOR: Samuel L. Jackson telling the Sacramento Bee he disapproved of the crossover trend that's turning rappers into movie stars. "I know there's some young actor sitting in New York or L.A. who's spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn't going to get his opportunity. . .because of some actor who's been created," he said.
RETOOLED: Thanks to declining ratings last season, The Drew Carey Show moving to 8 p.m. on Monday starting in September and axing actress Christa Miller who plays Kate in a bid to go back to the show's roots and focus less on stunts and more on relationships. Plus, Carey's character will bet a new job when his company's taken over by a dot-com.
SILVER BULLET: NBC in talks with film producer Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon) about creating an action hour for the network.
SPEAKING OF ACTION: Ray Romano making his feature film debut in New Line's upcoming action-comedy Action Abramowitz, playing a beleaguered accountant who believes he's his favorite action star after getting hit in the head.
HITTING THE ROAD: The Rock signing on to star in a feature film for Universal based on the classic Midway videogame franchise Spy Hunter.
MOURNED: Barry C. Reed, a trial attorney who wrote the book The Verdict that became the basis for the Oscar-nominated Paul Newman film, died Friday. He was 75.
CODA: Blues singer Rosco Gordon, best known for the 1950s hits "Booted," "No More Doggin'," "Do the Chicken" and "Just a Little Bit," which was covered by the likes of Etta James and Elvis Presley, died July 11 of a heart attack in New York. He was 74.
SILENCED: Commercial radio station KPIG in Freedom, California, ending seven years of continuous Webcasting Thursday, saying it can't afford the new royalty rates imposed on it by Uncle Sam.