Tag Archives: Janet Jackson

Janet Won’t Participate in Michael Jackson Tribute

Janet Jackson will not be involved in the Oct. 8 tribute concert to her late brother, Michael Jackson, in Cardiff, Wales due to the schedule conflicting with the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who is accused of manslaughter in causing Michael’s death.   She has issued a statement making it official:  “Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me.”

‘Lemonade Mouth’ — Next Generation of Disney Channel Stars?

Adam Hicks, Blake Michael, Bridgit Mendler, Naomi Scott, Hayley Kiyoko Disney Channel photo

Will tonight’s Disney Channel Original Movie, “Lemonade Mouth” establish the next generation of Disney Channel stars?  That is the hope of producer Debra Martin Chase, and you’d better believe, it’s the network’s hope as well — especially now that the stars of the “High School Musical” franchise, “Camp Rock” and “Hannah Montana” have all grown up and moved on.

If Chase’s track record with fresh talent is any indication, the new gang will be well worth following.  Her “Princess Diaries” movies gave us Anne Hathaway and Chris Pine.  “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” introduced Blake Lively and gave America Ferrera a teen following.  Lucy Hale,   so hot in “Pretty Little Liars,” got an early career boost in “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” as did “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Jesse Williams.

What does Chase hunt for?  “I hate to sound like a cliche, but you really do look for that ‘It’ — that very special quality that makes someone stand out.  Sometimes I call it, people have light in their eyes, something that shines from within, coupled with intelligence,” she says. “They need to be attractive, but an interesting attractiveness.  They need to have some soul and depth to them, you know?  That’s how it happens, they just come in and you say, ‘Okay. that person is special.'”

As Chase points out, both Bridgit Mendler (“Good Luck Charlie”) and Adam Hicks (“Zeke and Luther”) are already Disney Channel stars.  Other members of the title high school band of “Lemonade Mouth” are starting to take off as well.  Hayley Kiyoko has opened for Justin Bieber.  And, “Subsequent to the filming of our movie, Naomi Scott was cast by Steven Spielberg as one of the leads in his new Fox series, ‘Terra Nova,'” points out Chase.  “She has already shot the pilot in Australia.”

Heartthrob-to-be Blake Michael “is really the Cinderfella of this whole thing.  He sent in a self-made tape with his mother reading lines with him in Atlanta.  The tape just popped.  We knew we had to have him,” Chase recalls.

Casting was a three-month process that made good use of new technology.  Rather than going city to city looking at candidates for the roles, Chase and her team viewed video posted to their website.  British actress Scott “auditioned via Skype.  That’s the first time we’ve done that.”

As for whether there will be a “Lemonade Mouth 2” — Mark Peter Hughes, who wrote the popular novel, is writing a sequel now — Chase smiles.  “It all depends on how we do Friday night.”

TRAFFIC ADVISORY:  L.A residents who want to catch a glimpse of a classic style pop superstar mob scene can drive over to Sunset Blvd.’s BookSoup book store in West Hollywood tomorrow (4/15) around three p.m..  (Others, take note and avoid.)  Janet Jackson will be there to sign a few hundred copies of her No. 1 best-selling book, “True You,” and it doesn’t take much imagination to predict what the scene will be like.  Miss Janet will have to tear herself away to perform at Universal City’s Gibson Amphitheatre in the evening.  All three of her concerts there sold out in ten minutes.

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  Tim Allen’s pilot is sounding like a better and better prospect now that Nancy Travis is aboard as Tim’s wife, and Hector Elizando’s in the mix, playing Tim’s boss at a demolition company — at least for awhile.  (The character steps down, moving Tim’s character up.)  Elizondo automatically confers quality upon anything in which he appears, as his buddy Garry Marshall would be first to agree.  Garry insists on using Hector in all his movies as his good luck charm.

Sounds like HBO’s planned television treatment of Femme Fatale magazine will be sexy stuff.  The producers (who have “NCIS” and “Castle” in their collective credits) put out a casing call for a “hot ethnic woman in her twenties, a hot ethnic woman in her thirties, a hot caucasian woman in her twenties” and four good-looking guys in their twenties and thirties.  Nudity required for everybody.

Strange Times for Janet Jackson

What strange times for Janet Jackson.

The songstress has been on the scene this week for the highly-emotional preliminary hearing on an involuntary manslaughter charge against Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.  (She has been quite vocal in blaming the doctor for her brother’s death.)  At the same time, she has her own imminent business — including planning of her soon-to-launch Number Ones, Up Close and Personal world tour.  Tickets go on sale today (1/8).

There’s also the launch of her “True You” book dealing with diet, exercise, self-image and self-esteem to contend with.  The tome hits stores Feb. 8.

And on top of that, Janet could easily find herself in this year’s Academy Awards running come Jan. 25.  Her hit “Nothing” (written and produced by her in association with Johnta Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jermaine Dupri) from Tyler Perrry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too” is being buzzed by Oscar prognosticators everywhere as a good bet for a Best Song nomination.

Janet has been balancing moving on with life and dealing with the aftermath of Michael’s death for more than a year and a half now.  You may recall that “Why Did I Get Married Too” briefly shuttered production after his passing, while Janet flew to join family in L.A. for the funeral.  When she returned to the movie location, her friends on the production “decided, in unison, to give her space and respect whatever feelings she was feeling,” as Jill Scott recalled it to this column.  “If she wanted to be quiet, we’d step back.  If she wanted to talk, we’d be there for her.  I think she did find escape in her work.  She definitely did.”

Janet’s tour will definitely keep her busy — if all goes according to plan — with 35 global cities involved including Singapore on February 7th, Hong Kong on February 14th, and Taipei on February 19th.  She’s taking the unusual step of having fans determine her route by voting on her janetjackson.com web site.  In each of the 35 cities Janet will dedicate one of her number one songs to the city and she will also recognize 20 young people whose lives and work have enriched their communities in a major way.

Ask Stacy for May 9

DEAR STACY:  Whatever happened to the plans for Janet Jackson to do a movie playing Lena Horne? – Terry B., Cedar Rapids, IA

DEAR TERRY:  Apparently you missed the stormy weather when Horne, now 92, made it clear she wanted no part of Jackson’s portrayal after Janet’s breast-baring Super Bowl moment back in 2004.  She and her daughter asked ABC not to allow Janet to portray her, and even though the network resisted, Janet willingly backed out.  Then producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan left the project in solidarity with Janet.  It’s too bad.  With a dramatic life story that spans the heyday of Harlem’s Cotton Club, Golden Era Hollywood, blacklisting, the Civil Rights Movement and on, the sensual singer-actress certainly warrants a bio-pic.  A stage musical about her, “Stormy Weather,” was mounted at the Pasadena Playhouse last year.   (The brilliant, iconic performer passed away the day of this posting, leaving an amazing legacy.)

DEAR STACY:  You see Ryan Seacrest everywhere, but I haven’t seen much about him personally.  I’m curious.  What is his background? – John M., Chattanooga, TN

DEAR JOHN:   The ubiquitous “American Idol” emcee/radio host/budding TV mogul (“Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” etc.), was born the day before Christmas in 1974.  He hails from Atlanta, GA, son of an attorney and a full-time mom.  There, he landed a job at radio station WSTR while still in high school – and continued with his on-air gig while attending the University of Georgia.  He landed his first TV show hosting job – ESPN’s “Radical Outdoor Challenge” – while still in college.  Aspiring toward a Merv Griffin-like career of hosting and producing television shows, Seacrest moved to L.A. in 1995.  He was hosting NBC’s “Saturday Night at the Movies” by 2000.  “American Idol” came along in ’02, and, of course, last year he signed a renewal on his “AI” deal for $45 million.  While there’s been much speculation about his romantic life and sexual orientation, Seacrest has said he simply doesn’t have time for relationships, and that when a past girlfriend and he split up after three and a half years, he just worked harder.

DEAR STACY:  How old is Mary Hart?  Have enjoyed watching her all these years.  Does she have any plans to retire? —  Angie S., Canton, OH

DEAR ANGIE:   The “Entertainment Tonight” anchor, 59, says she’s entertained the idea of stepping away from the microphone, but has realized over the last couple of years, “I’m not ready to call it quits.  I’m still having so much fun.  I love running into Leonardo Di Caprio, George Clooney, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  When you know people through the years, there’s a comfort level in your interactions and that’s fun.  In a sense, we’ve matured together.  And I enjoy the working with the people I see on a daily basis.”

DEAR STACY:  Can you tell me if and when “Burn Notice” is coming back? – Pat K., Woodland Hills, CA

DEAR PAT:  The popular Jeffrey Donovan-Gabrielle Anwar series returns June 3 on USA.

DEAR STACY:  What did they finally determine was the cause of Brittany Murphy’s death?  A friend of mine said it was a drug overdose. – M.L., Spokane, WA

DEAR M.L.:  The L.A. county coroner’s office found that the 32-year-old actress died last December primarily of pneumonia.  However, she was also found to have been suffering anemia and multiple drug intoxication from an assortment of over-the-counter and prescription medications used to treat colds and respiratory infections.  All the medications were legal.  Noted the coroner’s report, “The possible adverse physiological effects of elevated levels of these medications cannot be discounted, especially in her weakened state.”

It Takes an Entourage For Jill Scott, Baby, with Tour and ‘Why Did I Get Married Too’ On the Way

Jill Scott

Jill Scott is one busy mother, with ‘Why Did I Get Married Too’ opening April 2, preparations for her concert tour with Maxwell that starts in May, and her baby boy about to turn one year old.  She manages ‘with a lot of help,’ she lets us know.  ‘My family members have joined together to help me take care of my son while I’m working, and I have two nannies who normally travel with me.

‘He’s a little guy, but he takes a lot of energy.  He’s into everything.  I get exhausted, so I didn’t want just one nanny, because I knew, just like me, nannies get tired too.”

The single mom adds with a laugh, ‘I now have an entourage — and it has nothing to do with me being a vocalist or an actor.’

Besides her tour with Maxwell, she’s set to be part of Lilith Fair — and expects to keep on touring for the better part of a year at least, in support of her soon-due ‘The Light of the Sun’ album.

She was delighted to get back with her ‘Why Did I Get Married’ cast mates — who’ve all stayed in touch since the first movie — for Tyler Perry’s new sequel.  Their reunion was as if no time had passed, she says, except, ‘there was a shadow, we had a shadow.  Damita had had a loss and we didn’t know exactly how to deal with that,’ Scott recalls, referring to Janet Jackson, a.k.a. Damita, and the death of Michael Jackson.

Production on the movie was temporarily halted after Jackson received the bad news about her brother.  When she returned, says Scott, ‘We just decided, in unison, to give her space and to respect whatever feelings she was feeling.  If she wanted to be quiet, we’d step back.  If she wanted to talk, we’d be there.  I think she did find escape in her work.  She definitely did.’

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  Roselyn Sanchez has been busy filming the ABC pilot ‘Cutthroat’ about a Beverly Hills soccer mom who runs a family drug cartel.  A homemaker with an illicit side business may sound like a familiar premise, but Sanchez tells us it’s different from ‘Weeds’ — or so she thinks.<P>’I love Mary-Louise Parker, but I’m not actually very familiar with ‘Weeds.’ I’ve heard it’s similar but their show is cable so they are able to push the envelope more.  We’re aiming to make it something more comedic and relatable.  This is about an amazing mother but she’s forced to take over her family’s business and she doesn’t want to,’ explains Sanchez.  ‘I’m really excited about the show.  It was the only pilot that had a female lead that was Latina so I was really happy when I got it.’

When not filming, Sanchez and her husband Eric Winter have been very involved in several charity organizations.  Not only are they both spokespeople for Operation Smile, but she also recently hosted a triathlon in her home of Puerto Rico, which raised money for the San Jorge Children’s Foundation.  ‘I wanted to do something that involved fitness and health but also raised money.  It’s definitely become the biggest athletic event in Puerto Rico and it’s something we want to continue to do every March,’ says Sanchez, who flew out fellow celebrities Nick Lachey, Vanessa Minnillo, Kellan Lutz, and Annalynne McCord to participate.  ‘It was tricky fitting in the training with work and the swim part was especially hard. I told the producers they better have an IV waiting for me at the end.’  Luckily she finished with flying colors!

INNOVATION NATION:  Marlee Matlin Tweeted this week that if she can’t get conventional networks interested in her documentary/reality show about a 15-year-old hearing teenager and his deaf parents and siblings, she’s going to take it straight to the web.  She plans to launch the pilot on YouTube next week.  ‘Watch for it,’ she says.  Matlin also is giving a presentation at Google headquarters on Tuesday (3/30) she reports, regarding putting captioning on YouTube.  Go, Marlee, go!  Some people talk, and some people get things done.

ON A MUSICAL NOTE:  Mary Lynn Rajskub, who stars in Fox’s ’24,’ is busy these days working full-time and being a mom, but the actress/comedian tells us one of the most relaxing things she gets to do is play the guitar from time to time.  In fact, she and writer Karen Kilgariff used to be a part of a comedy singing/guitar duo and while they no longer perform together, Rajskub says she’s grateful she learned how to play.  ‘If it weren’t for Karen, I wouldn’t have done that at all.  I can barely play, but there’s something so cool and sweet about singing along with somebody. You feel like you’re expressing something but you’re doing it together,’ notes Rajskub of the experience.  ‘I was terrified to do it but it’s such a cool release.  You get to mix storytelling with song.  If you get a chance, learn a couple of chords and get with your friends and play a little music for fun.’

BEAUTY LIVES:  Talk about a glamorous assignment.  Dior is preparing a huge new campaign encompassing the entire brand, to be seen on networks, cable, internet and here and around the globe   Casting forces have been on the lookout for look-alikes for Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly and Lady Diana — as each icon appeared in her prime — for the campaign.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster