- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

J-5 to regroup?

Aides to tarnished and troubled pop star Michael Jackson reportedly are in the final stages of negotiating a nearly $500 million deal that will reunite him on stage with all the other members of the Jackson Five — his brothers Tito, Marlon, Jackie and Jermaine, London’s Daily Mail newspaper reported yesterday.

The sibling group — which last regularly performed together 23 years ago — is lined up to play 250 concerts in Las Vegas over three years starting next year, when Michael Jackson will be 50. Future concerts worldwide also are reportedly planned.

There are also wide-ranging plans to build a Michael Jackson theme park, casino, hotel and stadium in Sin City, the Mail reports. The deal, which is also expected to earn millions in merchandising and product endorsements, will immediately clear debts — estimated at $328 million — the singer reportedly accrued.

Michael Jackson became a pariah after charges of child molestation surfaced in December 2003. He was acquitted on all 10 counts but his career has gone into free-fall. His debts forced him to sell his Neverland ranch, and he has since lived a somewhat nomadic existence.

In recent weeks he and his brothers have been in negotiations with Jack Wishna, the producer responsible for taking Celine Dion to Caesar’s Palace.

Brian Oxman, Michael Jackson’s attorney, confirmed negotiations were under way but described any figures as “totally preliminary.”

Saving Spears?

Rapper-producer Timbaland, who’s crafted hits for Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, wants to help Britney Spears reclaim her once-stellar career.

Last month, Miss Spears, 25, checked into Promises Malibu drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in California, capping a week of bizarre behavior in which she entered and exited rehab twice and shaved her head bald.

“I feel her pain, it really bothers me,” Timbaland, 34, says in an interview in Entertainment Weekly’s March 16 issue.

He says he invited Mr. Timberlake, his “best friend” and Miss Spears’ ex-boyfriend, to be part of that plan. According to Timbaland, the 26-year-old “SexyBack” singer said he would.

Mr. Timberlake’s spokeswoman, Sonia Muckle, referred inquiries to Timbaland’s spokeswoman, Monique Idlett, who didn’t immediately respond to a phone call yesterday from Associated Press.


Speaking of Justin Timberlake, his former ‘N Sync band mate, Lance Bass, is penning a tell-all about “his life, his music and his sexuality” in an upcoming autobiography, AP reports.

“Out of Sync” is scheduled for publication in October, said Simon Spotlight Entertainment, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The publisher promises a behind-the-scenes look at Mr. Bass’ days in boy band ‘N Sync, as well as his headline-making venture to undergo astronaut training for a Russian space mission.

Mr. Bass, 27, announced in July that he is homosexual. He has said that he didn’t reveal this earlier because he didn’t want to affect ‘N Sync’s popularity.

Woody in bar brawl

Former “Cheers” star Woody Harrelson was involved in a brawl Friday at a Los Angeles bar after accidentally cutting his hand, reports the Internet Movie Database, citing a story published on TMZ.com.

The fisticuffs reportedly broke out when the actor, 45, unknowingly drank beer from a broken glass and cut his hand at the Other Room in Venice, Calif. He became furious with bar staff who served him the beer. Mr. Harrelson began arguing with the employees and police were called. According to the police report, no one was arrested and no one pressed charges, TMZ.com said.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Jenny Mayo from Web and wire reports.

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