Spears back in studio working on album
Rebounding from what seemed like an endless spiral of personal crises and public meltdowns, Britney Spears is back in the studio and at work on a "brand-new album," according to a joint statement released by the pop icon's manager and her label, Jive Records.
No release date for her sixth studio album has been set, and none of her collaborators is named in the statement. But producers JR Rotem, Sean Garrett, Guy Sigsworth, Nate "Danja" Hills, Bloodshy & Avantand Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins have independently revealed that they are contributing to the project.
Last month, Spears appeared at a shoot for the pop quintet the Pussycat Dolls' single "When I Grow Up." And earlier this month, Madonna's spokeswoman confirmed that Spears was set to film a "short movie" that would be part of the Material Girl's Sweet and Sticky tour.
Fox: Jackson used N-word while off-air
Chicago - The Rev. Jesse Jackson used the N-word during a break in a TV interview where he criticized presidential candidate Barack Obama, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.
The longtime civil rights leader already came under fire this month for crude off-air comments he made against Obama in what he thought was a private conversation during a taping of a "Fox & Friends" news show.
In additional comments from that same conversation, first reported by TVNewser, Jackson is reported to have said Obama was "talking down to black people," and referred to blacks with the N-word when he said Obama was telling them "how to behave."
Though a Fox spokesman confirmed the TVNewer's account to The Associated Press, the network declined to release the full transcript of the July 6 show and did not air the comments.
Jackson - who is traveling in Spain - apologized in a statement Wednesday for "hurtful words" but didn't offer specifics.
A spokeswoman for Jackson's civil rights organization, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said she could not confirm that Jackson used the slur.
Jackson has called on the entertainment industry, including rappers, actors and studios, to stop using the N-Word.
Rolling Stone guitarist in rehab
London - Ronnie Wood entered a rehabilitation facility Wednesday for help with alcoholism, said a spokeswoman for the Rolling Stones guitarist.
Wood, 61, has fought a long battle with alcoholism during his rock 'n' roll career, which started in the 1960s when he played with the band The Faces.
His spokeswoman didn't release any details about the treatment he will receive or the clinic that he entered.
Wood has developed a strong second career as an artist, selling his paintings at some of London's respected art galleries.
Petersen's 'CSI' life of crime to end
Los Angeles - William Petersen is leaving "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," a move that might have fans of his brainy crimebuster Gil Grissom screaming bloody murder.
Petersen has agreed to return for occasional guest appearances and will remain a "CSI" executive producer but his run as an original cast member will end this coming season, executive producers Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar said this week.
The air date for his final episode probably will be at the beginning of 2009, the producers said.
Boy band promoter ordered to pay $300M
Orlando, Fla. - Lou Pearlman and federal authorities have finally agreed on how much the former boy band promoter swindled from banks and investors in a decades-long scam: a staggering $300 million.
That's how much creator of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync will have to repay, at a minimum, for restitution on the fraud conviction for which he's serving a 25-year prison sentence.
Attorneys from both sides, the FBI and FDIC determined Pearlman took $195 million from more than 1,000 people in an alleged savings program promising 6 percent to 10 percent returns, and $126.7 million in bogus loans from federally insured banks.
Another $70 million was invested by people who thought they were buying shares in companies owned by Pearlman that mostly had no assets. About $95 million was returned to investors over the years, documents show.
Natalie Cole says she has hepatitis C
New York - Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, her publicist said in a statement Wednesday.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease spread through contact with infected blood. The statement said the disease was revealed during a routine examination and was likely caused by her drug use years ago.
Her physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said Cole has had a "terrific response to her medication and is now virus negative."
Cole, 58, the daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole, is due to release "Still Unforgettable" in September.