Billboard Bits: Nelly, The Strokes, Steve Earle

News on Nelly, The Strokes, Steve Earle

NellyRap star Nelly, whose second Universal album, "Nellyville" is No. 1 on The Billboard 200, is getting ready to add TV star to his resume with a comedy in development at Paramount Network Television. According to the deal, which is still being worked out, the Nelly-starring sitcom will be produced through Claude Brooks' Paramount-based C to the B Prods., sources said. The premise of the show is being kept under wraps.

Nelly, born Cornell Haynes Jr., made his feature debut in "Snipes." He also appeared on Fox's late-night comedy show "Mad TV." Brooks created and executive produced MTV's sketch comedy "The Lyricist Lounge Show."

-- Nellie Andreeva, The Hollywood Reporter

StrokesThe Strokes have dropped out of three of their five support dates for Weezer due to an unspecified injury suffered by frontman Julian Casablancas. Per doctors orders, the group axed a show last night (July 15) in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and will miss performances tomorrow near Indianapolis and Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. A spokesperson says the Strokes are hoping to hook back up with Weezer July 29 in Atlanta.

Come September, the group will begin work on the follow-up to its acclaimed RCA debut album, "Is This It," which is No. 129 in its 39th week on The Billboard 200. The single "Hard To Explain" is No. 40 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Earled BeefOn the heels of the release of "Sidetracks," an Artemis collection of B-sides and outtakes, singer/songwriter Steve Earle will on Sept. 24 issue an album of new material. The 11-track "Jerusalem" is described by the label as "a very political record," with song titles including "John Walker's Blues" and "Conspiracy Theory." Emmylou Harris duets with Earle on the track "I Remember You." Earle will be touring this fall but for now the only date on his itinerary is Oct. 5 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

In other Earle news, the artist will make his small screen debut July 21 on HBO's "The Wire," where he will play the role of a drug counselor in three episodes. A biography about the musician, "Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle" by Lauren St. John, will be released in Britain this fall and in January 2003 in North America.

-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto


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