Billboard Bits: Erick Sermon, Henry Rollins, Pat Green

News on Erick Sermon, EPMD, Henry Rollins, Pat Green

AP LogoAs tipped here earlier this month, Erick Sermon has left Def Jam and signed a joint venture agreement with Clive Davis' new J Records label, encompassing both a solo and production deal with Sermon's Def Squad Records. The artist, who rose to fame as one half of hip-hop duo EPMD, will release a solo album, "The Sermon," in the fall. It will include his current single, "Music," which is No. 5 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart this week, as well as collaborations with LL Cool J, Redman, and Scarface. A new EPMD album, the group's first since 1999's "Out of Business," is also in the pipeline.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Having tackled music, acting, and spoken-word performance, Henry Rollins will next become a television host. The enigmatic former Black Flag frontman will host the Fox series "Night Visions," due to premiere July 12 at 8 p.m. with a special two-hour episode. The anthology series will the run regularly Thursday nights at 9 p.m. beginning July 19. In the style of "The Twilight Zone," each episode will offer chilling stories that move "freely from horror to psychological suspense to supernatural adventure, never letting up to until the final, bizarre plot twist," according to the network. Rollins will introduce each episode and offer "thought-provoking narratives." The premiere episode will feature four stories -- "The Passenger" starring Aidan Quinn, "Bokor" featuring Samantha Mathis and Jason London, "Dead Air" with Lou Diamond Phillips, and "Renovation" starring Gil Bellows. Among the stars featured in upcoming episodes are Bridget Fonda, Cary Elwes, Brian Dennehy, Bill Pullman, Jerry O'Connell, Thora Birch, Stephen Baldwin, Luke Perry, and Chad Lowe. Rollins is currently on the Warped Tour with his namesake band, and will release a new album, "Nice," Aug. 21 via Sanctuary Records.

Republic/Universal has signed its first country artist, Texas-based Pat Green. An album is due Oct. 16; the single "Carry On" hits radio Aug. 21. The song is already getting local airplay at country powerhouse radio station KPLX in Dallas. Green's last album, "Songs We Wish We'd Written" (Rite On/Greenhorse), a collaboration with alt-country artist Cory Morrow, peaked at No. 26 on Billboard's Top Country Albums in March.