Morning Report


New 'Profiler': Former "Melrose Place" bad girl Jamie Luner has landed the title role in NBC's Saturday night series "Profiler," replacing Ally Walker, who will leave after the new season's first two episodes. Luner's character, former prosecutor-turned-FBI-profiler Rachel Burke, will be introduced in a two-part season premiere; she's brought in by the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force to locate Walker's character, Dr. Sam Waters, who disappeared after her encounter with a deadly serial killer in last season's cliffhanger ending.

Suit Still Wide Open: A Los Angeles judge refused Monday to dismiss a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman filed against the Star tabloid over a story claiming the married stars had to hire sex therapists to help them with their love scenes in "Eyes Wide Shut." "I believe there's enough asserted in the complaint to support this action proceeding," the judge said. The article's headline read: "We Had to Teach Tom and Nicole How to Make Love." The couple's attorneys said that the therapists named in the story have signed sworn affidavits confirming they were never hired to coach the actors. No trial date has been set. Meanwhile, Warner Bros., which is distributing the Stanley Kubrick film, said Monday that it would honor the late Kubrick by donating $100,000 to the Film Foundation during "Eyes Wide Shut's" world premiere in Westwood tonight.


Elton John Gets Pacemaker: Elton John had a pacemaker inserted at a London Hospital over the weekend to correct what he called "a minor imbalance in my heart." Upon leaving the hospital Saturday, John, 52, told reporters: "It came as a bit of a shock, but the operation was a simple procedure. . . . I'm a bit stiff, a bit sore, but everything went really well." John said he underwent tests in London after feeling weakness, and was admitted to the hospital on Friday to have the pacemaker put in. "I will resume a normal lifestyle after a couple of months' rest. Life will get back to normal," he said, adding that the only expected long-term effect is that he will "have to carry a card explaining why I set off the alarms when I walk through airport security."

Oh Ricky!: Pop sensation Ricky Martin proved his muscle on Sunday when tickets to his Nov. 13 Staples Center and Nov. 20 Arrowhead Pond concerts sold out in less than 10 minutes. More than 1,500 people lined up at the Pond box office in Anaheim; combined, more than 34,000 tickets were sold for the two shows. Although extra dates won't be added--Martin is said to be completely booked for the rest of the year--he's expected to return to L.A. sometime next year during a second leg of his U.S. tour.

LARAS Shakeup: The executive director of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Sergio Rozenblat, has resigned for "personal reasons . . . to pursue other projects," LARAS confirmed Monday. The resignation is surprising given how excited Rozenblat seemed in Miami last month over his organization's announcement of a new Latin Grammy Awards ceremony and telecast. Rozenblat, who spoke at length to The Times about his plans for the organization, gave no indication then that he wanted to leave the position; he could not be reached for comment Monday. Billboard magazine reported this week that the resignation was a mutual decision reached by Rozenblat and Michael Greene, president and CEO of LARAS' parent organization, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Greene's spokeswoman on Monday said that Greene's policy is not to comment on "hirings or firings." The spokeswoman said NARAS has been searching for a replacement for Rozenblat for "several months," with an announcement expected by mid-August. In the meantime, former LARAS director Mauricio Abaroa will function as interim director.

DMX Jailed on Obscenity Charges: American rapper DMX was being held in a Trinidad jail Monday morning after being arrested on obscenity charges for uttering profanities during a concert there Saturday night. The arrest led to a bottle-throwing protest by fans in the audience, authorities said, noting that police fired their guns into the air to control the angry crowd as they led the rapper from the stage. Using obscene language in public is illegal in the conservative Caribbean country.


Famed British theater director Sir Peter Hall, whose productions of Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" are in repertory at the Music Center's Ahmanson Theatre through July 27, is joining the University of Houston's faculty, filling the School of Theatre's Lyndall F. Wortham Performing Arts Chair left vacant by the February death of director Jose Quintero. Hall, a two-time Tony Award winner, will teach courses on Shakespeare and directing. . . . Singer Alfred Cotto Diaz of the top-selling merengue band Grupomania was arrested in Puerto Rico Friday on charges stemming from the sale of a kilogram of cocaine last fall, prosecutors said. Diaz and two other men allegedly sold a kilogram of cocaine for $16,000 to an undercover agent in front of a strip club in a San Juan suburb. If convicted, Cotto could face up to 60 years in prison, though he has no prior criminal record. Cotto was the lead singer on Grupomania's last six albums. . . . Actress Ming-Na, who played medical student Deb Chen on "ER's" first season, will return to the NBC medical drama in the same role in the coming season. The announcement comes amid published reports that Gloria Reuben--who plays HIV-positive physician's assistant Jeannie Boulet--may soon leave the series and is working with producers on possible story lines for her exit.

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