March 28, 2005 08:00 AM

SIGNED: Tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams have closed a deal to film a six-episode ABC Family reality series based on their lives on and off the court. The as-yet-untitled project, set for a July debut, will focus mostly on the sisters’ interests outside professional tennis, including family interaction, “fun” and finding their “place in the world,” says a network statement.

PREPARED: Oprah Winfrey, 51, looks to be entering the Hawaiian real-estate market, with the Maui County Council giving preliminary approval to a bill granting O.W. Ranch LLC a five-year conditional permit to operate a 12-bedroom vacation rental in Kula, the Associated Press reports. The media mogul and her personal trainer, Bob Greene, purchased land off Maui’s coast in 2002. Gideon Kaufman, an Aspen, Colo.-based legal representative for Winfrey and an officer of O.W. Ranch, said: “I’ll let the initials stand for themselves.”

DELAYED: Rapper Nelly (real name: Cornell Hayes, Jr.), 30, has postponed three shows and canceled another on his concert tour following the death of his sister on Thursday. Jacqueline "Jackie" Donahue, 31, had been battling leukemia since 2001. She and Nelly embarked on a nationwide campaign to find a bone-marrow match and raise awareness about donations.

TEAMED: Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, 35, is joining forces with Kansas City’s Weld Wheel Industries Inc. to produce a new line of custom, precision-forged aluminum rims for sports trucks, luxury SUVs and high-end U.S.-and German-made cars, they announced at the New York International Auto Show. SJC Wheels LLC will produce and sell Sean John Wheels, named for the entertainer. They hit stores next month, retailing at between $700 and $3,000 each.

DIED: Paul Hester, 46, the drummer from popular 1980s Australian rock band Crowded House, hanged himself in a park in southern Australia, an emergency services spokeswoman said Monday. Crowded House was one of Australia’s most successful bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with international hits such as “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Weather with You.” A girlfriend, Mardi Sommerfield, survives Hester, as do their two daughters, ages 8 and 10. ? Paul Henning, 93, who created the rural ’60s TV hits The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres, died in a Burbank hospital after a long illness, reports AP. Besides also writing most of the scripts for the long-running CBS comedies, Henning also penned the bouncy theme song, The Legend of Jed Clampett for the Hillbillies.

CANCELED: The Broadway-bound revival of 1966’s Sweet Charity had its plug pulled by its producer, citing poor ticket sales. During the show’s out-of-town previews, former Married … With Children star Christina Applegate broke her foot, and her well-regarded replacement, Charlotte D’Amboise, was not deemed enough of a box-office name to open in New York.

SOLD: Sharon Stone, 47, unloaded her San Francisco mansion for the nearly $15 million she was asking for it, the Wall Street Journal reports. The 10,000-sq.-ft. home, with seven bedrooms and nine baths, overlooks the Pacific and was purchased by the Basic Instinct actress and her then husband, publisher Phil Bronstein, in 1998. The residence was once owned by Phoebe Hearst, mother of legendary newspaperman William Randolph Hearst – whose character was played by Agnes Moorehead in the thinly veiled classic film bio, Citizen Kane.

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