Making the 'Party' Rounds?: Fox is discussing a proposed spinoff series from its drama "Party of Five" that would star Jennifer Love Hewitt, who plays Sarah on the show. Hewitt recently signed to portray Audrey Hepburn in an ABC movie biography, and she has made a splash on the big screen with credits including "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and the recent teen comedy "Can't Hardly Wait." The new program--which would follow Hewitt's character as she moves to a different town--would come from the producers of "Party of Five," who are also developing a CBS drama series for next season.
Back in 'Blue': Rick Schroder won't be the only addition to ABC's "NYPD Blue" this year. A couple of familiar faces from years past are returning to the show, with Sharon Lawrence (assistant district attorney Sylvia Costas) set for at least 10 episodes (she reduced her role last year while doing her short-lived NBC sitcom, "Fired Up"). Also returning is Bill Brochtrup, who played gay office assistant John several years ago (he played the same role on Bochco's ill-fated CBS series "Public Morals," then played a different role on another canceled Bochco show, ABC's "Total Security"). "Blue's" season premiere will air Oct. 20.
Actor Convicted: A Van Nuys-based actor who played legendary R&B singer Jackie Wilson in ABC's 1992 miniseries "The Jacksons: An American Dream" was convicted in Los Angeles on Thursday of bank fraud and passing a $150,000 counterfeit check that appeared to have been issued by CBS. The U.S. District Court jury heard evidence that Grady Baby Harrell Jr., 42, deposited the check at Great Western Bank in Studio City, then drained the entire $150,000 sum before the check was discovered to be bogus. Sentencing is set for Nov. 12.
Gangsta Games: Rap group Cypress Hill is providing the music soundtrack for the urban gangsta computer game Kingpin. Developed by Xatrix Entertainment, the 3-D action game will include new music from the upcoming album "Cypress Hill IV" (due in stores Oct. 6), plus songs from previously released Cypress Hill albums. The game is slated to be available in the spring for Windows 95 and on CD-ROM.
Ice Cream Dispute: Another battle is brewing over Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia's estate. The late singer's longtime office manager, Suzanne Stephens, is seeking half the royalties from Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream flavor, claiming she has a written licensing agreement from Garcia promising to pay her half the ice cream income for life if she ever stopped working for him. Annual royalties have been about $400,000. Estate lawyer William Troutman said Stephens' claim came "out of the blue," adding that estate executors are unaware of any agreement regarding the ice cream royalties.
MOVIES & VIDEO
Protesting 'Titanic' Edits: The Artists Rights Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by the Directors Guild of America to "safeguard the rights of film artists and protect their works from alteration," has written to the owner of a Utah video business to protest his store's unauthorized editing of the "Titanic" video. For $5, Sunrise Family Video in American Fork has been editing out a love scene and another in which star Kate Winslet poses in the nude, in an effort to make the video more suitable for families. In its letter, the group accused the video company of destroying "the integrity" of Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron's "vision" to "fit a specific social agenda," and called upon store owner Don Biesinger to stop his "backroom" editing. Despite veiled threats of legal action from "Titanic" distributor Paramount, Biesinger had earlier vowed to continue his editing service.
A Family Affair: Actress Debbie Reynolds and her children, actress-writer Carrie Fisher and filmmaker Todd Fisher, will be honored by the American Film Institute when they receive the second annual AFI Platinum Circle Award Sept. 17 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The award--given last year to actor Walter Matthau, his writer wife Carol Matthau and his director son Charles Matthau--pays tribute to an entire family whose creative contributions have enhanced the entertainment community.