REVEALED: Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry tells TV Guide that ABC will set aside a timeslot for a spinoff of his popular Sunday night series, though he has yet to sit down at the keyboard. “It’s going to take me a couple of seasons before I have the energy (and) time,” he says. “I know another angle on telling the stories of the people in this neighborhood.” Beyond that, he’s not saying much, other than storylines on a new show would deal with a “segment of Wisteria Lane’s population” but would be set elsewhere.
EXPRESSED: Britney Spears and former Hercules star Kevin Sorbo are both interested in one of the $5.2 million Mediterranean-style villas Donald Trump wishes to build in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., the Apprentice star, 58, tells the Wall Street Journal. The paper says Spears could not be reached for comment, while Trump says he and Sorbo discussed the proposed 260-acre The Estates at Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes while golfing in Lake Tahoe last summer.
PENNED: Anne Bird, the half sister of convicted murderer Scott Peterson, has written Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother, Scott Peterson, is Guilty, about the “untold story” of the case – and why she believes he’s guilty, publisher ReganBooks has announced. It will go on sale March 1. Bird was adopted at birth, and reunited with her birth mother, Jackie Peterson, and half brother, Scott, in 1997. ReganBooks also published Witness For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson, by his former mistress Amber Frey.
NAMED: The 21st James Bond film will be titled Casino Royale, which also was the title of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, published in 1953. The name was already used in a 1967 007 spoof that starred Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and David Niven (and tanked at the box-office, though the Burt Bacharach score is a classic). Martin Campbell, who directed the 1995 Bond film GoldenEye, is set to direct the new movie, say trade reports. No casting decision for the leading man has been made. Pierce Brosnan, 52, has said he’s through with the role.
PICKED: Catherine Zeta-Jones, 35, and Tim Robbins, 46, will be this year’s recipients of the annual Hasty Pudding awards, given by a student drama group at Harvard University to performers who have made a “lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment.” Zeta-Jones will lead a parade through the streets of Harvard Square on Feb. 10 with Harvard students dressed in drag. Robbins will appear Feb. 17 at the opening night performance of Terms of Frontierment, reports the Associated Press.
SUED: Music producer Phil Spector, 64, has been named in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the mother of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson, whom Spector is accused of killing in his home. Donna Clarkson filed the civil suit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, meeting the two-year statute of limitations on wrongful-death actions, family attorney Roderick J. Lindblom tells AP. Spector attorney Roger J. Rosen said the lawsuit is at odds with statements by Donna Clarkson on national TV in support of Spector following the slaying.
DELAYED: A Feb. 3 court hearing in Oklahoma for Macaulay Culkin, 24, was delayed until April 6 so that attorneys can work on a plea bargain in his drug possession case, court officials said. Culkin was busted during a traffic stop on Sept. 17, AP reports. Police say they found 17.3 grams of marijuana and 16 milligrams of Xanax, a prescription drug used to treat depression and panic disorders, in the vehicle, which was stopped for traveling 70 mph in a 60-mph speed zone and making an improper lane change.
ARRESTED: The son of late singer Ray Charles was arrested Thursday for alleged drug possession and being under the influence of cocaine, authorities said. Ray Charles Robinson, 45, who also goes by Ray Charles Jr., was arrested at L.A.’s Dunes Wilshire Hotel after police received a tip, police said. Authorities did not provide any other details or say whether he would be charged. Robinson was released on $1,000 bail. He has a previous arrest for possession of a controlled substance, police said.
SPLIT: Former Law & Order star Elisabeth Rohm, 31, has split from her fiancé, MSNBC legal expert Dan Abrams, 38, the New York Post reports. A rep for Rohm confirmed the breakup but says the couple, whose relationship lasted 2 1/2 years, are still “friends.”
DIED: Actor John Vernon, 72, whose most famous role may be the villainous Dean Wormer in 1978’s National Lampoon’s Animal House, died at his home on Thursday following complications from heart surgery, says his daughter, Kay Vernon. She added: “He loved the comedy that he was able to do, but his training was in drama and he really enjoyed the dramatic roles.” ? Eric Griffiths, 64, a guitarist for John Lennon’s early band the Quarrymen, died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Edinburgh, reports The New York Times. The Quarrymen played a concert on July 6, 1957, that was attended by 15-year-old Paul McCartney, who then joined the group. George Harrison joined the next year, yet when Griffiths couldn’t afford a new bass guitar he left the group and joined the British merchant navy. In 1960, the Quarrymen became The Beatles.