ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE: Forget the Grammys--look for Usher at the Tonys. The R&B superstar making his Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in Chicago beginning Aug. 22 and running through Oct. 1, producers Barry and Fran Weissler announced Friday.
SAY WHAT?! "So there are two things we can't do on Comedy Central: show Muhammad or Tom Cruise."
--South Park creator Trey Parker at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, expressing his ire over the network's decision to censor two episodes of the hit animated show.
LEGAL THRILLER: A jury awarding F. Marc Schaffel $900,000 in his lawsuit against Michael Jackson, whom he had claimed owed him $1.4 million in unpaid loans and fees. However, the jury also awarding Jackson $200,000 in his countersuit against Schaffel, whom he had accused of misappropriating funds and backdating expense reports. So...everybody wins! Yay!
WORKERS' COMP: In what seems to be becoming an almost weekly occurrence, another one of Naomi Campbell's former employees suing the supermodel for abuse. Florida native Amanda Brack alleged Campbell verbally and physically abused her on three different continents beginning in March 2005, according to court documents filed Thursday. Apparently, she didn't realize that was part of the job description.
PASSION OF THE MEL: Mel Gibson donating money to help poor people in Mexico's Veracruz state build homes, government officials announced Thursday. Gibson is about to wrap up filming on his Mayan epic, Apocalypto.
FREED: C-Murder, who is currently awaiting retrial on a second-degree murder charge, being freed from home confinement by a New Orleans judge. The rapper was put on house arrest in March.
STRAIGHT TO VIDEO: Justin Timberlake's feature film debut, Edison Force, being released to video stores on Tuesday without ever being shown in wide release. Maybe he should take some acting lessons from Cameron Diaz. On second thought, that might make things worse.
JUST SAY NO: Pete Doherty telling a judge Thursday that he plans to have a chemical implant inserted into his abdomen to help him kick drugs. The troubled rocker said he hoped to have the implant, which releases a drug to prevent highs from opiates, put in within the next two weeks. In the meantime, we imagine he'll take advantage of, well, not having an implant that prevents highs from opiates.
COLLISION COURSE: In the third lawsuit among the producers of Crash, Mark R. Harris, Robert Moresco and Paul Haggis suing Lifetime TV for allegedly invoking the film improperly when publicizing its new show, Angela's Eyes. Billboards for the show tout it as "from the producers of Academy Award winner Crash," but while Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman is involved in the project, Haggis is not. Really, it's amazing the movie got made at all.
WE ARE ALL ON HIATUS: Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo telling MTV that the band is on an indefinite hiatus. "Really, for the moment, we are done," he said. "And I'm not certain we'll ever make a record again, unless it becomes really obvious to me that we need to do one." Maybe he's too busy making up for lost time after calling an end to his abstinence pledge and tying the knot with his longtime girlfriend.
HIGH FASHION: The third season of Project Runway debuting to 2.4 million viewers, making it the highest-rated season premiere in network history. Who needs Santino, anyway?
EXTREME MAKEOVER: Mr. T revealing that he shed his signature gold chains after seeing the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. "As a spiritual man, I felt it would be a sin against my God for me to wear all that gold again because I spent a lot of time with the less fortunate," the actor said Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. Um, okay.
NEW GENERATION: The Who launching its first major world tour in over 20 years, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry announced Thursday. The North American leg kicking off Sept. 12 in Philadelphia. Get ready to see the Who sell out.
LIVE FROM FAR, FAR AWAY: Saturday Night Live trio Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph joining the cast of Shrek 3 as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, respectively.
TEAMWORK: Angelina Jolie signing on to star as widow Mariane Pearl in the film A Mighty Heart, about slain Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl, which Brad Pitt is producing. In some ways, it's a good thing Pitt and Jennifer Aniston broke up--we just couldn't see the erstwhile Rachel Green tackling the role.
REMEMBERED: Red Buttons, the legendary comedian and Oscar-winning actor, died Thursday of vascular disease, his publicist said. He was 87.