TOO CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Steven Spielberg obtaining a restraining order against a woman who allegedly stalked the director and his family and who claimed Spielberg implanted a mind-control device in her brain, reports.

COMING CLEAN: James Gandolfini announcing in a statement that he has battled drug and alcohol addictions. The 41-year-old star of HBO's The Sopranos, who was responding to allegations made by his wife in their divorce case, says he's clean and sober.

AN OFFER THEY CAN'T REFUSE: Several costars of The Sopranos banding together to jointly negotiate for substantial pay raises, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

READY TO RUMBLE: Miramax announcing that Martin Scorsese's highly anticipated Gangs of New York will now officially bow on December 20 instead of Christmas Day, where it would have faced off against DreamWorks' Catch Me If you Can.

BACK TO WORK: Roseanne set to star in an unscripted reality workplace comedy for ABC that will be executive produced by documentary veteran R.J. Cutler. The program is expected to bow next summer.

DID THE BUTLER DO IT? Vitello's, the suburban Los Angeles restaurant where Robert Blake allegedly killed his wife, announcing it will hold a "murder mystery party" next month.

SWEET AND LOWDOWN: Sean Penn taking out a $56,000 ad in the Washington Post accusing President Bush of stifling debate and threatening civil liberties. In the open letter, the actor urged the President to stop the cycle where "bombing is answered by bombing, mutilation by mutilation, killing by killing." No comment yet from the White House.

OOPS! A woman filing a lawsuit against MTV on Wednesday claiming she was injured at an April 21 taping of Jackass. She says cast member David England ran across the stage and smashed into a lectern, forcing her to the ground and injuring her spine and knee.

IDOL TALK: Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson joining fellow judge Simon Cowell, for a second edition joining of Fox's American Idol, which will also add a fourth judge to give another perspective to the group. Host Ryan Seacrest also returning and will be paired with a female host since Brian Dunkleman said he won't be back.

TUBE TALK: Latino-flavored sitcom George Lopez improving its ratings significantly since its wobby start, prompting ABC to give it a full-season pick-up on Thursday.

SINGING THE BLUES: A New York state appeals court tossing a $3 million verdict in favor of '60s girl group the Ronettes against their former producer Phil Spector. The members said Spector licensed their music for movies and commercials without paying them royalties.

HUMAN BEHAVIOR: The mother of Icelandic pop queen Bjürk staging a hunger strike in a bid to persuade the world's largest aluminum producer to pull of a project in the Icelandic highlands.

KUDOS! The Del McCoury Band taking home three International Bluegrass Music Awards on Thursday, including Best Entertainer in Bluegrass Music and a first-time win for Song of the Year.

BELGIUM?! Canadian pop diva Celine Dion beginning rehearsals Thursday in Belgium for her $100 million show set to kick off next March at Caesar's Palace.

ANOTHER AMAZING FEAT: USA Today reporting that Spider-Man is being touted as the best-selling Halloween costume since the Power Rangers burst onto the scene nearly a decade ago.

CUTBACKS: Intertainer, an online video-on-demand site, shutting down and laying off most of its remaining staff. Its CEO says says the site will pursue a lawsuit against the major movie studios, accusing them of non-competitive business tactics.

OUT OF LUCK? Legislation that would steeply discount the royalties small Webcasters will pay for streaming music dealt a potentially fatal blow Thursday night when it failed to clear the Senate thanks to a delaying tactic by Senator Jesse Helms, who was prompted by the concerns of religious broadcasters.

COMING CLEAN: Los Angeles radio station KPWR-FM planning to tell listeners that it has business ties to local rapper Shade Sheist, whose singles are played more on the station than any other station in the country. The station's drawn media fire for not making the disclosure earlier.

CODA: Beecher Ray Kirby, the Grand Ole Opry fixture known as "Bashful Brother Oswald," died Thursday at age 90.

MOURNED: Derek Bell, the versatile musician best known for playing harp in the Chieftains, has died in Phoenix. He was 66.

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