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Showbuzz

October 7, 1999
Web posted at: 5:15 p.m. EST (2115 GMT)

Today's buzz stories:

Bolton

Bolton wants plagiarism judgment overturned

PASADENA, California (CNN) -- Michael Bolton maintains he didn't plagiarize an Isley Brothers song, and he wants a federal appeals court to overturn a $5.4 million judgment against him in the matter.

In 1994, a Los Angeles jury decided Bolton had stolen elements of the 1966 song "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" for his 1991 hit of the same name. But in court on Tuesday, the singer's attorney said that neither his client nor Bolton's writing partner, Andy Goldmark, had heard of the Isley Brothers song before the lawsuit.

"This has been five or six years of the most difficult experience of my entire life," Bolton said after Tuesday's hearing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the 1994 ruling, Ron and Marvin Isley won 66 percent of all past and future royalties from the single and the jury credited the song with 28 percent of the success of Bolton's album "Time, Love and Tenderness."

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The Eurythmics (Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox, pictured) are among those planning to perform for 'The Millennium Event'

Sting, Eurythmics on '2000 Today' bill

CANNES (CNN) -- Ray Charles, the Eurythmics, Sting, Bryan Ferry and Simply Red are scheduled to help an estimated 800 million international television viewers in the New Year.

The artists have signed on to be part of "The Millennium Event -- 2000 Today," a broadcast planned to bring together some 50 networks in tracking the dawn of the year 2000 as time zones around the world reach the hour. The event is to be coordinated by BBC.

The project is "an amazingly ambitious and complicated operation," says project initiator and producer Zvi Dor-Ner of WGBH-TV, the PBS flagship affiliate in Boston. "The challenges are absolutely huge."

No word on whether those challenges include repeating it a year later, for 2001 -- when the new millennium begins. As we post this story, there are 85 days left before 2000 starts; 451 days to 2001. Party on.

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"Manchester Prep"

'Manchester Prep' a FOX dropout

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- FOX says it had good intentions with "Manchester Prep," but the series was showing no long-term prospect so it's pulling the plug, Variety reports. The small-screen answer to last spring's modestly successful Ryan Phillippe film "Cruel Intentions" hadn't yet aired on FOX -- and only two episodes had been shot.

Production was halted several weeks ago amid reports of creative conflict between FOX and producer Columbia TriStar. FOX executives are said to have been worried about the show's edgy content, which included explorations of incest and teen sexuality. Rupert Murdoch, chairman of FOX parent News Corp., is said to have been outraged after seeing a syndicated newsmagazine story that previewed a "Prep" scene in which one of the young female characters is sexually aroused by a horse.

No comment from FOX or Columbia TriStar representatives.

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Stallone

Stallone unloads Miami mansion

MIAMI (CNN) -- He was asking for more than $1 million per 1,000 square feet. And after two years on the market, Sylvester Stallone's Miami mansion has finally sold.

The 24,000-square-foot (750 square meters) villa and its three guest houses were bought by Moroccan-born home builder Heim "Michel" Ifergane, according to television reports this week. Though the sale price is unknown, it reportedly is less than the $24.7 million offer Stallone got from London's Orient-Express Hotel chain in February.

Stallone paid $8 million for the property in 1993 and spent at least $12 million more to add such things as a movie theater.

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'N Sync more than 'Touched' -- Backstreet less than Jived

SALT LAKE CITY (CNN) -- It was supposed to be a secret shoot for the show "Touched by an Angel." But when 'N Sync is involved, secrets don't keep.

The boy band was mobbed by an estimated 200 fans who showed up at the location of the "secret" shoot. They were filming a cameo for an episode to air in November. CBS executive Chris Ender says two disc jockeys at radio station KZHT told listeners the group was in town signing autographs and announced the set location.

"It was a major inconvenience and definite cause for concern when more than 200 people show up unexpectedly on the set of a television show," Ender says. Tom Sly, marketing manager at KZHT, denies the DJs revealed the location.

Meanwhile, Billboard says that other boy band -- the Backstreet Boys -- is thought to be backing out of its contract with Jive Records. Attorneys for Backstreet Boys sent a letter to Jive Records founder Clive Calder, saying the label is in breach of contract and that the multi-platinum act is no longer on the Jive label.

The letter says the band members aren't pleased that Jive took 'N Sync under its wing, and that the label has been exploiting them. A Jive representative tells Billboard the Backstreet Boys "are signed to a long-term, exclusive recording agreement with Jive Records.

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