- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2005

Mad Dogg

Rapper Snoop Dogg is fighting to protect his trademark “izzle” speak.

The entertainer is seeking $2 million from a car dealership that he accuses of having misappropriated his image and speech pattern in its advertisements, Associated Press reports.

In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court, the 33-year-old rapper-actor (born Calvin Broadus) alleges that the Gary Barbera Enterprises ads constitute trademark infringement since they use verbiage that is “confusingly similar to the Snoop Dogg trademark.”

The Barbera ads show Snoop next to the words “Is Bar-Bizzle the sh-izzle?” One ad is similar to his line in a recent Chrysler TV commercial with Lee Iacocca: “If the ride is more fly, then you must buy.”

Rapper 50 Cent has filed a similar lawsuit against Mr. Barbera seeking $1 million in damages.

The Philadelphia Daily News quoted Barbera marketing director Eric Gerstein as saying the Snoop lawsuit has “the same lyrics, different beat.”

” We’ve already been in contact with Snoop’s people, and we’re working it out,”he says.

‘Invasion’ ads pulled

In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, ABC has pulled the promotional spots for its highly anticipated new drama “Invasion,” off the air feeling they hit too close too home, reports E! Online.

As of now, though, the network plans to move forward with the series’ Sept. 21 premiere.

“Invasion” follows the creepy misadventures of a park ranger and his family whose lives take a detour to the otherworldly following a hurricane that flattens their Florida hometown. The promos showed the cast investigating the damage to their homes and gradually discovering that something had gone terribly wrong in the town as a result of the storm.

ABC is expected to eventually put the “Invasion” spots back on the air, but will likely remove or lighten references to the fictional hurricane.

Naked’ laughter

We all could use a good laugh these days, what with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing strife in Iraq. AMC steps up tonight with a double dose of Lt. Frank Drebin, the wonderfully inept cop at the heart of the “Naked Gun” trilogy.

“The Naked Gun 2 : The Smell of Fear” airs at 8 p.m., followed by “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” at 9:45 p.m. The films were inspired by the short-lived “Police Squad” television series and star Leslie Nielsen as the most hapless cop this side of the Keystone Krew. Each film feature the rat-a-tat-tat visual gags that are the hallmark of franchise creator David Zucker (“Airplane”).

Less comical, though, is O.J. Simpson in a recurring role as fellow cop Nordberg.

Osama pix disputed

An Egyptian photographer is alleging ABC News broadcast rare pictures of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden without first obtaining the shutterbug’s permission, Associated Press reports.

Essam Mohamed Aly Deraz is seeking $10 million in damages according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Citing copyright infringement, Mr. Deraz wants the judge to prohibit the network and any of its affiliates from using the photographs, which capture the al Qaeda leader on the battlefield.

According to the complaint, Mr. Deraz in 1998 twice agreed to allow the network to use his photographs on a one-time-only basis for which he was paid $7,000 and $8,000 respectively. But the lawsuit says the network continued to use the photographs without his authorization. Mr. Deraz says the photos were taken between 1986 and 1992 when he was given “unprecedented access to photograph and film” bin Laden.

But Jeffrey Schneider, vice president of ABC News, tells AP “We have not been served with a lawsuit and don’t have any comment.”

Trump’s new batch

Martha Stewart’s upcoming take on “The Apprentice” may have tongue’s atwitter, but Donald Trump — the franchise’s original mogul — is stepping back into the forefront with claims that he personally chose his contestants for the NBC reality show hit this time around .

Zap2it.com reports that the 18 candidates on the Donald’s fourth season of “The Apprentice” include two former beauty queens, a Rhodes scholar, a former NFL player and — according to some news reports — an ex-stripper turned entrepreneur.

The group also includes a number of people who’ve already banked their first millions.

The beauty queens are Jennifer Murphy, a 26-year-old who represented Oregon in the Trump-owned Miss USA pageant last year, and Marshawn Evans, the third runner-up in the 2002 Miss America competition (and a recent graduate of Georgetown University Law Center in Northwest) who represented the District that year.

Mr. Trump’s “Apprentice” kicks off its fourth season Sept. 22, the day after “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” makes its debut.

As usual, the candidates will be vying for an executive job and a six-figure salary with one of Mr. Trump’s business concerns.

Compiled by Thomas Walter and Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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