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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   April 30, 2003 at 3:28 PM
JACK OSBOURNE REHAB DETAILS

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are congratulating their 17-year-old son Jack for checking himself into a rehab center, and urging the media to "cut him a break."

In an interview with "Extra," Ozzy Osbourne -- who has extensive personal experience in rehab -- said it took courage for his son to choose rehab.

"He had the gumption and guts to confess and to just say, 'Help,'" said Ozzy Osbourne.

Sharon Osbourne said her son recognized that his substance abuse problem was "becoming unmanageable and he couldn't stop." Jack Osbourne reportedly sought treatment for abuse of alcohol and marijuana.

"You know, I love him more than I did yesterday for doing what he's done," said Sharon Osbourne. "He wasn't forced into this situation. It was his decision so I admire him so much more. All we can do is be here for him."

She said her son was doing well and "really feeling confident," but that he had a rough time when the rehab center had to call police to deal with people who had jumped the fence and gotten onto the center's property.

"It's not a circus," said Sharon Osbourne. "This isn't some old guy. He's a teenager and he knows he messed up. He's in the right place and he's fixing it."

She said the family tried to keep the matter private, and she still wishes fans and the press would respect her son's privacy.

"He's being besieged at the place he's at and I am just asking everyone to please, just let him be," said Sharon Osbourne. "He's in a kids' unit and there are people jumping over the fences. There are reporters parked outside. Cut him a break. He's 17."


MORE HOTTIES HEADED FOR PRIME TIME?

Maxim magazine is working on a plan to develop a reality TV show based on its online competition to find the hottest "Hometown Hotties" in America.

Maxim General Manager Andy Clerk told Daily Variety the magazine has had a strong response to its online competition, in which amateur models compete for a chance to be featured in a photo layout in Maxim. Clerk said traffic at the Web site has nearly doubled since the competition began -- and some reality TV producers have expressed interest in adapting the contest for a prime time TV special.

Clerk said he doesn't want the show to be a clone of "Are You Hot?" -- the ABC reality show that got off to a good ratings start but soon came down to earth.

"We want to produce a program that has more resonance and utilizes the Maxim sense of humor," said Clerk. "This is going to be more akin to an 'American Idol'-type show."

Variety reported that Maxim is considering a weekly "Hometown Hotties" series.


DONALD SUTHERLAND HEADING TO 'SALEM'S LOT'

Donald Sutherland has joined Rob Lowe and Rutger Hauer in the cast of the upcoming TV movie "Salem's Lot," based on Stephen King's novel of the same name.

Turner Network Television announced Wednesday that the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning star of "The Italian Job" and "Cold Mountain" will play Richard Straker -- an antique store owner who turns out to be the evil partner of vampire Kurt Barlow (Hauer).

The cast also features Emmy winner Andre Braugher ("Homicide: Life on the Street"), Oscar nominee James Cromwell ("Babe") and Samantha Mathis ("The Mists of Avalon").

The four-hour miniseries is scheduled to premiere on TNT in 2004.


NEW 'AB FAB'

Oxygen Media's Oxygen cable network will air eight new episodes of the British comedy "Absolutely Fabulous" in 2004.

The British Broadcast Corp. series stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Edina and Patsy -- best friends and mutual enablers in self-centered, irresponsible personal behavior.

Oxygen will also air its first made-for-television movie, a romantic comedy starring Peter Gallagher ("While You Were Sleeping") and Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm").


CHEERS IN TORONTO

Things are looking up for Canada's film and TV industry, now that the World Health Organization has lifted its advisory against travel to Toronto.

The WHO announced the advisory last week, out of concern over the possible spread of SARS. After the organization announced Tuesday that it would rescind the advisory, Toronto film and TV commissioner Rhonda Silverstone told The Hollywood Reporter that Toronto is "a safe and healthy destination" for film and TV production.

"The WHO is sending out a very positive message," said Silverstone.

A spokesman for the Canadian Film and Television Production Association -- which represents major film and TV producers -- told The Reporter that WHO announcement was a big step toward restoring stability to the production business in Toronto.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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