Jenny's (Legal) Briefs: Playboy playmate-turned-TV star Jenny McCarthy has sued HarperCollins and ReganBooks, alleging that sales of her autobiography, "Jen X," floundered because the publishers failed to promote it properly. The breach of contract lawsuit also alleges that the publishers did not pay a $200,000 advance as promised. A representative for the publishers was not available for comment. McCarthy, who rose to fame hosting MTV's "Singled Out," has since launched her own self-titled comedy series on NBC, but that program was taken off the schedule this week after garnering poor ratings in two different time slots.
Identity Confirmed: A judge has torn the lid off Hollywood's worst-kept secret, reluctantly identifying director Steven Spielberg as the potential victim of an alleged sexually obsessed stalker. A prosecutor said Spielberg--who was listed in court documents as "John Doe" before Thursday's hearing--is expected to testify against defendant Jonathan Norman, who is accused of plotting to handcuff and rape the director. A trial date has not been set.
Pumpkins Preview: Singer-songwriter Billy Corgan previewed nearly a dozen songs being considered for the next Smashing Pumpkins album in a solo performance Thursday night at the Viper Room in Hollywood. Besides the new songs, Corgan, who is in town with the band to record the album due early this summer, also performed an acoustic version of the Pumpkins' hit "1979," from the group's multi-platinum 1995 album "Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." Pumpkins guitarist James Iha opened the program with four songs from his forthcoming solo album, "Let It Come Down," which is due in stores Feb. 10.
TV & MOVIES
More 'Fire' For Butler: Undefined "personal issues" faced by Brett Butler have once again stopped production of ABC's "Grace Under Fire," producers Carsey-Werner confirmed. After previously halting production last August while Butler battled what was described as a dependency on painkillers, the sitcom continued its fifth season in November with mediocre Nielsen ratings. Carsey-Werner said it hopes to "resume production at some point in the near future." However, this week's flare-up may be one too many. The show's two-year contract with ABC runs out this year, and two production stops may make for difficult renegotiations. Butler's publicist refused to comment. ABC said already-completed episodes will continue to air.
No Sex for Her: A scene in the upcoming movie "Primary Colors" in which a governor's wife (played by Emma Thompson) has an interracial, extramarital affair, has been cut from the movie reportedly out of fear of offending Hillary Rodham Clinton, upon whom the movie character is widely believed to be based. The New York Post reported that the scene--contained in Joe Klein's book of the same name--was filmed but cut at the insistence of Universal Studios, prompting conservative pundit P.J. O'Rourke to comment, "The first lady's sex life has been edited out." A studio spokesman said that the cuts had "nothing to do with the first family."
Comedy Nominees: Jim Carrey ("Liar Liar"), Kevin Kline ("In & Out"), Mike Myers ("Austin Powers"), Jack Nicholson ("As Good as It Gets") and Christopher Guest ("Waiting for Guffman") will vie for funniest actor in motion picture honors during the 12th annual American Comedy Awards, Feb. 22 at the Shrine Exposition Center. Funniest actress candidates are Helen Hunt ("As Good as It Gets"), Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino (both for "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion"), Minnie Driver ("Grosse Pointe Blank"), Bette Midler ("That Old Feeling") and Julia Roberts ("My Best Friend's Wedding"). Among the other nominees are all four stars of NBC's departing comedy "Seinfeld."
GLAAD Choices: NBC's "Mad About You" and "Suddenly Susan" and ABC's "Spin City" will compete with ABC's "Ellen" for outstanding TV comedy series at the 1998 GLAAD Media Awards, April 19 at the Century Plaza Hotel. Other Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation nominees include the drama series "ER" (NBC), "413 Hope Street" (Fox) and "NYPD Blue" (ABC), and the big-screen movies "As Good as It Gets," "In & Out," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and "My Best Friend's Wedding."