Billboard Bits: Nelly, Vanessa Williams, Placebo

News on Nelly, Vanessa Williams, Placebo

NellyRap star Nelly is joining his sister, Jackie Donahue, at the forefront of a bone marrow donation awareness and recruitment campaign. Donahue, who suffers from leukemia, is also hoping to find a donor for herself through the "Jes Us 4 Jackie" effort.

A June 21 nationwide donor drive will be held for patients in need of bone marrow transplants in conjunction with Nelly's non-profit organization, 4 Sho 4 Kids. Simultaneous events will be staged in Los Angeles, New York, and the rapper's St. Louis hometown. That day, the organization will pay the cost of tests required to join the bone marrow donors registry. Donors must be 18 to 60 years old and in general good health.

More information will be posted at the still-under-construction Web site in the coming weeks.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

NessaActress-singer Vanessa Williams has inked a deal to star in 10 episodes of the NBC drama "Boomtown," should the show be picked up for a second season. Industry sources say that speculative NBC schedules making the rounds had the series staying in its current Sunday 10 p.m. berth or possibly moving to 9 p.m. Friday. NBC on Monday (May 12) is set to kick off a week of fall schedule unveilings by the major broadcast networks. NBC declined comment on pickup and scheduling matters.

For Williams, the gig on "Boomtown" would extend her relationship with NBC. Earlier this season, she signed a development deal with the network for a comedy project that did not get off the ground, but it's understood that the actress is continuing to discuss development prospects with the broadcaster.

-- Nellie Andreeva, Hollywood Reporter

CarlosU.K. modern rock act Placebo will kick off a brief North American tour July 1 in Washington, D.C. The nine-date outing comes in support of the band's new album, "Sleeping With Ghosts," released last month via Astralwerks. The set was produced by Jim Abbiss (Bjork, Massive Attack).

Here are Placebo's upcoming tour dates:

July 1: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
July 2: Philadelphia (Theater of Living Arts)
July 5: Boston (Paradise)
July 6: Montreal (Metropolis)
July 7: New York (Irving Plaza)
July 9: Chicago (Metro)
July 11: Los Angeles (Palace Theater)
July 12: San Francisco (Slim's)
July 14: Mexico City (Metropolitan Theater)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.