- The Washington Times - Monday, February 28, 2005

Martha’s next move

New York Daily News

Martha Stewart, who is tentatively scheduled to be released from a West Virginia prison Sunday, will serve five months of confinement at her $16 million estate in Katonah, an upscale town 40 miles north of Manhattan.

Convicted of lying about a stock transaction, Stewart chose to be sentenced to the sprawling 153-acre estate instead of any of her other homes in Maine, Connecticut and the Hamptons.

She will not be able to leave the place except for the 48 hours a week she is permitted to use for working on her billion-dollar homemaking empire.

It’s not yet clear whether she’ll be allowed to commute anywhere. But Stewart, who has signed on to head a spinoff of the Donald Trump NBC hit “The Apprentice,” can throw more of her famous house parties — as long as no other convicted felons attend.

Uproar over ‘Springer’


The controversy over “Jerry Springer — The Opera” rages on.

The proceeds from a special charity performance of the show to aid a cancer charity have been turned down after protests from religious activists.

Maggie’s Centre, a small Scottish charity, stood to gain from the show’s Feb. 18 performance. However, the activist group Christian Voice warned the cancer charity not to take the money — claiming that accepting the donation would amount to profiting from “filth and blasphemy,” the Scotsman newspaper reports.

David Soul, who stars in the show’s title role, has struck back at what he calls the religious group’s “strong-arm tactics,” pointing out that cancer doesn’t affect only Christians.

Meanwhile, Christian Voice leader Stephen Green said his group is preparing to put pressure on the show’s planned U.K. tour.

Opponents of the show object to the depiction of Jesus, God and other biblical characters.

Usher gets game


After dominating the music world in 2004, Usher is about to move into pro sports.

The Grammy-winning superstar is part of an ownership group on the verge of purchasing the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, his representatives confirmed.

ESPN has said that the group, of which Usher is a minor part, will seal the deal for $375 million.

Usher is by no means the first artist to invest some major paper into pro ball. In July, Nelly partnered with the ownership group Bobcats Basketball Holdings LLC, which owns the Charlotte Bobcats, the first minority-owned NBA expansion team. Jay-Z also realized his own hoop dreams when an investment group he is in bought the New Jersey Nets for an estimated $300 million in late summer.

‘Menagerie’ delayed

Associated Press

The opening of the Broadway revival of “The Glass Menagerie” has been pushed back a week to give its newest cast member — Christian Slater — more time in front of an audience.

Mr. Slater joins “Menagerie” March 8, replacing Dallas Roberts as Tom, the narrator of the Tennessee Williams drama.

It was to have opened March 15 at New York’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre but will open March 22 instead, Philip Rinaldi, a spokesman for the show, said Sunday.

Mr. Slater recently won rave reviews in London for his performance in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and has appeared in such films as “Heathers,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “Windtalkers” and “Tucker.”

The revival, directed by David Leveaux, stars Jessica Lange as the domineering mother, Amanda Wingfield.

Handshake stake

Associated Press

Actor Mel Gibson has sold his 45,000-acre Beartooth Ranch in Montana in a multimillion-dollar handshake deal with a neighbor, the buyers said.

Kent and Pam Williams said they signed the deed in the last week but the agreement prevents either party from divulging the purchase price.

“Pam and I were worried that if it got in the wrong hands, the valley would be subdivided and split up,” Mr. Williams told the Billings Gazette, which reported the sale Sunday.

The actor-director bought the ranch in 1988, and the Williamses own the adjoining 2,000-acre ranch.

They made a verbal deal to purchase the ranch in January. “Everything was on a handshake,” Mr. Williams said.

Ranch manager John Carrel said Mr. Gibson declined to comment.

Compiled by R. Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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