MOB BUST INVOLVES HOLLYWOOD FIGURE
One of the 17 suspects named Tuesday in a federal indictment targeting organized crime is a Hollywood producer who has partnered with action star Steven Seagal to produce such features as "The Patriot" (1998), "Fire Down Below" (1997), "The Glimmer Man" (1996) and "On Deadly Ground" (1994).
Julius Nasso is accused of taking part in a plot by the Gambino crime family to extort money from a Hollywood film figure. Barry Levin, Nasso's lead attorney, told reporters that Seagal was the film star mentioned in the indictment.
"Steven Seagal has been seen talking to the grand jury," said Levin.
Seagal's attorney, Martin Pollner, would not confirm that Seagal was the Hollywood figure in question.
"The indictment against Mr. Nasso contains no allegation of any wrongdoing or impropriety on the part of Mr. Seagal or any of their former business ventures," said Pollner in a statement.
The indictment alleges that the extortion scheme began in September 2000 and continued until last month, with reputed Gambino crime family captain Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, Nasso and two other suspects trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Seagal "by wrongful use of actual and threatened force, violence and fear." Ciccone is heard on a taped phone call telling Nasso to demand $150,000 per film from Seagal, according to papers filed by prosecutors in court.
Nasso, 49, faces two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion.
After partnering with Seagal for 15 years in the movie business, Nasso filed a $60 million lawsuit against the actor in March, alleging that Seagal had reneged on a contract to perform in four movies.
Levin said his client and Seagal have been negotiating the dissolution of their partnership, but the talks were going nowhere. He intimated that Seagal went to the FBI as payback for Nasso's lawsuit.
CANDICE BERGEN WILL HOST AFI 'PASSION' TRIBUTE
Five-time Emmy-winner Candice Bergen will host "AFI's 100 Years ...100 Passions," the upcoming TV special paying tribute to the greatest love stories in American movies.
The telecast will feature a parade of Hollywood stars counting down the 100 top love stories, as voted by a jury of 1,800 members of the film community -- including filmmakers, critics, historians and movie executives. They chose from a list of 400 nominated films, and were permitted to write in up to five titles that were not on the list.
The "Passions" special will feature clips from interviews with Danny Aiello ("Moonstruck"), Cameron Crowe ("Jerry Maguire"), Carrie Fisher ("When Harry Met Sally"), Jennifer Grey ("Dirty Dancing"), Daryl Hannah ("Splash"), Kermit the Frog ("The Muppet Movie"), Garry Marshall ("Pretty Woman"), Ali McGraw ("Love Story"), Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient"), Sydney Pollack ("The Way We Were") and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, among others.
It's the fifth installment in the American Film Institute's centennial celebration of American cinema. Previously, the film preservation organization celebrated the top 100 movies, stars, comedians and thrillers.
Bergen won five Emmys for best actress in a comedy series for the long-running CBS comedy "Murphy Brown." She was nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actress for "Starting Over" in 1979.
"AFI's 100 Years ...100 Passions" will be telecast on June 11 by CBS.
NATHAN LANE RETURNING TO PRIMETIME
CBS has ordered six episodes of a midseason show for Nathan Lane.
"Life of the Party" will feature the Tony-winning star of "The Producers" as an actor who, through something of a fluke, winds up as a member of Congress. It's being executive produced and written by Jeffrey Richman, who has served as a writer-producer on "Frasier" and "Wings," and produced the short-lived comedy "Stark Raving Mad."
This will be Lane's first TV series since his NBC comedy "Encore Encore," in which he played a washed up opera singer.
ABC Family -- Disney's cable and satellite channel catering to family programming -- will air five episodes of the reality-based series "The Last Resort" on consecutive nights in August.
The show follows four couples in danger of breaking up, as they try to work things out at a vacation resort in Hawaii with help from "life coaches."
PAGING DR. LOPEZ ... DR. LOPEZ
Columbia Pictures has picked up feature film rights to the Internet comic strip "Shrink!" with plans for Jennifer Lopez to star as the gorgeous psychologist who treats superheroes for mental illness and emotional problems.
Lopez' production company, Nuyorican Productions, has a piece of the project. She currently stars in the domestic violence thriller "Enough" and has finished work on "Uptown Girl" -- formerly "The Chambermaid" -- as hotel maid who attracts the affection of a politician when he sees her trying on a beautiful gown and mistakes her for a socialite.