Billboard Bits: 'Grease,' Joe Henry, Magic Johnson

News on 'Grease,' Joe Henry, Magic Johnson

OliviaHoping "Grease" lightning can strike a third time, Paramount Pictures is drawing up plans for "Grease 3," a continuation of the hit musical franchise. The plan is to set the latest version of the musical in the late-1970s, feature plenty of disco music, and have the story revolve around the children of the original characters.

The producers are hopeful that the "parents" also will play significant roles in the film, and such original stars as John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John have already been given a heads-up that their services will be sought once a script is completed. The producers are zeroing in on writers to script the new version.

Didi Conn, who played Frenchy in the original "Grease," is executive producing the new project. She is said to have been instrumental in generating the studio's current enthusiasm for putting together a new installment of the film. At the studio's DVD release party of "Grease" in the fall, sources said Conn approached studio chair Sherry Lansing after Travolta and Newton-John wowed attendees with the musical number "You're the One That I Want."

-- Zorianna Kit, The Hollywood Reporter

HenrySinger/songwriter Joe Henry has signed to Anti- Records and set a Sept. 9 release date for his ninth album, "Tiny Voices." The 12-track set is Henry's first since 2001's "Scar" (Mammoth/Hollywood), which debuted at No. 36 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

The new album was engineered and produced by S. Husky Hoskulds (Tom Waits, Solomon Burke) and features tracks such as "Animal Skin," "Dirty Magazine," "Loves You Madly," and "Flesh & Blood." The latter was featured on Solomon Burke's Grammy-winning 2002 album "Don't Give Up On Me" (Fat Possum), which Henry produced.

The only date on Henry's itinerary is a May 12 engagement at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

CarlosMCA Records has ended its association with Magic Johnson Music. The former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star established the label as Magic's 32 Records in 1998. Its roster includes R&B singer Avant, who will stay with MCA; his sophomore 2002 album, "Ecstasy," has sold 697,000 units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Magic Johnson Music also last year released the "Brown Sugar" soundtrack, which has sold 430,000 units.

According to a statement, Johnson is currently focused on film and television development, including the MTV reality series "Who's Got Game," which is due to debut in late June.

However, Magic Johnson Entertainment and MCA have agreed on a new first-look deal for soundtracks related to Johnson's various projects. As for Avant, the label says he is in the studio working on a new album for intended fall release.

-- Gail Mitchell, L.A.