Let's Get This Party Started: Top Stories for Thursday 06/22/06

6/22/2006 9:50 AM PDT

Let's Get This Party Started: Top Stories for Thursday 06/22/06

Eminem is working his way back from the depths of despair. After the death has good friend, rapper Proof, he is on the road to recovery as he's agreed to star in the film remake of the Fifties TV western "Have Gun – Will Travel."

K-Fed Feeds Pennies to Charities, Dollars to Ladies

While Kevin Federline came to Times Square yesterday to help out children's charities by donating his pennies, his dollars – a couple of them, at least – went to a half-naked lady.

According to Lloyd Grove in this morning's Lowdown column, Federline had just finished his gig hyping Virgin Mobile's new one-cent-per text-messaging service when he hopped into his chauffeured SUV, which promptly rear-ended a pedicab, setting off a minor spat between the pedicab's driver and one of K-Fed's guards.

Then, a Times Square performer by the name of Louisa Holmlund – otherwise known as the Naked Cowgirl – approached the car with only pasties preserving her torso's dignity, when a hand (not necessarily Federline's, it should be pointed out) emerged to give her two $1 bills. Meanwhile, later last night, K-Fed was spotted by TMZ hanging out at Manhattan nightclub G-Spot. Federline, in addition to his duties saving the penny coin from extinction, continues the promotional tour for his new rap CD, which drops in August.

Related link: K-Fed: Sorry Brit, I Gotta Party

Freddie and Sarah Michelle Deny Split

A report in today's Rush and Molloy suggest that Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar – a steadily married couple for almost four years – may be on the outs, and that they are living separate romantic lives.

"Ever since he started that show 'Freddie' things were over," according to an R&M source. But Leslie Sloane Zelnick, publicist to both Prinze and Gellar (and of most recent note to Britney Spears), contends that the rumor is false, and that the pair is still "completely together." In fact, she says, the couple is "spending this weekend together at [Zelnick's] house in Connecticut."

Eminem Emerges From Funk

More than two months after the loss of a close friend and the break-up of his marriage, Eminem has resurrected himself after a bout with depression and is very much on the way to recovery, just as he's agreed to star in the film remake of the Fifties TV western "Have Gun – Will Travel."

Page Six
reports that the rapper-actor became despondent and sunk into a depression after his best friend and bandmate, Proof, died of a bullet to the head in April during a shooting in a Detroit club. Then, Eminem and his wife Kim Mathers divorced for a second time.

"Obviously, he's grieving," says his rep. "He is depressed as anyone would be if they lost someone that close." But Eminem is apparently on the mend, and, according to the rep, without the aid of antidepressants.

Tony Arranges a Sit-Down With Silvio and Paulie

"Sopranos" star James Gandolfini is getting involved in the real-life squabble that two of his castmates – and most trusted lieutenants on the show – are having with HBO.

The Hollywood Reporter
says today that Steven Van Zandt and Tony Sirico, who play consiglieri Silvio Dante and streak-haired Paulie Walnuts, respectively, are demanding more pay from the network and have yet to close their deals even though reading and rehearsals begin in just a couple weeks. Both actors, according to sources, refuse to relent on their demands for $200,000 per episode (or $1.6 million for the eight shows to air next year); HBO's offer is about $500,000 less per actor.

So, as befits his fictional role as the ultimate decider, Gandolfini – whom TMZ spotted two nights ago dining with a burly passel of guys at New York's Cookshop restaurant – will be meeting with Van Zandt and Sirico this weekend to discuss their demands.

"24" Creators Love Raymond

Ray Romano has six months to live – in a new television series being developed by the creators of "24" for HBO.

The Hollywood Reporter says that the kvetchy sitcom star, whose "Everybody Loves Raymond" wrapped last year, is in talks to play a forty-something billionaire who made his fortune as a sitcom star on a CBS show (sound familiar?) but discovers that he is terminally ill (which Romano is not). "24" executive producers Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran will be running the new sitcom, if and when it airs. Such a show would be highly reminiscent of HBO comedies like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Comeback" that mirror, to varying extents, the lives of their stars Larry David and Lisa Kudrow.

No word on whether the Romano comedy will play out in real time, though the Reporter says that the show is slated for a 10-episode run.

CBS Getting Into the Movie Biz?

CBS chief Leslie Moonves told a group of media industry watchers yesterday at a PriceWaterhouseCoopers-sponsored event that his company might invest in, and even produce, a slate of six to eight films annually with budgets in the $20 million-$50 million range.

The business plan of such an arrangement, in which the company would put the money up for production but not for distribution, would hinge upon CBS then paying its distribution partner for first-run rights on its networks like CBS and Showtime in exchange for a share of the film's box-office revenues.

Moonves has been openly skeptical of the kind of fees his networks – particularly Showtime – pay for the rights to air movies once they've left theaters, and sees that getting into the filmed-entertainment business directly could help shift the finances in the networks' favor. Still, stressed Moonves, such a plan is highly speculative at the moment.