Buzz Briefs: Naked Cowboy, MTV Awards

In this Sept. 10, 2002 file photo, Robert Burck, a.k.a. "The Naked Cowboy," plays his guitar in Times Square. Federal Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan on MondayJune 23, 2008 said a Times Square entertainer who wears just enough to justify the name the "Naked Cowboy" can continue a lawsuit he brought against a blue M&M. (AP)
AP Photo
NYC's Naked Cowboy Continues Fight Against Blue M&M Look-Alike

A judge on Monday stripped away claims in a lawsuit filed against Mars Inc. by a Times Square entertainer known as the Naked Cowboy but said he could still argue in court that the candymaker borrowed his racy look for its blue M&M.

A jury will have to decide whether Mars' advertising campaign left the impression that Robert Burck, who became a tourist attraction for strumming a guitar while wearing just boots, underpants and a hat, had endorsed the product.

The Blue M&M Cowboy was part of an advertising campaign with other M&Ms in famous New York scenes. The blue M&M strums a guitar in Times Square wearing just underpants, boots and a hat.

Burck sued to protect trademarks he had obtained as he appeared in television shows, movies and video games, including a Chevrolet commercial that debuted during Super Bowl XLI.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this year against Mars and Chute Gerdeman Inc., an advertising and design agency.

MTV Video Music Awards Are Going Hollywood

After broadcasting from Las Vegas last year, the VMAs will air live from Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, MTV announced Monday.

MTV said it plans for the first time to enlist its Web-savvy, youthful audience to help decide the nominees.

The network intends to take over the movie studio's lot and present the awards show from sound stages, rooftops and city streets. MTV and Paramount are corporate cousins within Viacom Inc.

September's VMAs - which will mark the show's 25th year - has a tough act to follow after last year's drama-filled extravaganza at the Palms Casino Resort.

The Vegas edition delivered one of the most-talked about performances in recent history: Britney Spears' "out-of-it" comeback performance, an off-camera fight between Pamela Anderson exes Kid Rock and Tommy Lee, and a divalike tantrum from Kanye West.

This year's host, nominees and slate of performers will be announced at a later date.

"Young Frankenstein" To Get New Leading Ladies

"Young Frankenstein," the stage version of Mel Brooks' cinematic monster spoof, will get a new trio of leading ladies starting after the July 4 holiday weekend.

First up is Kelly Sullivan who takes over the role of the winsome lab assistant Inga on July 8 from Sutton Foster, who is leaving to appear in "Shrek the Musical," opening on Broadway in December.

Beth Leavel, a Tony winner for her performance as the title character in "The Drowsy Chaperone," joins the cast July 22, replacing Andrea Martin as Frau Blucher. And Michele Ragusa steps in for Megan Mullally as the love-starved Elizabeth on Aug. 5.

The show's original male stars are staying with the production, which opened in November at the Hilton Theatre. They include Roger Bart, who plays the title character, Shuler Hensley as the monster, Christopher Fitzgerald as Igor and Fred Applegate, who plays two roles, Inspector Kemp and the Hermit.

New Invitees To The Academy of Motion Pictures Announced

Sacha Baron Cohen, Marion Cotillard, Ruby Dee and Jet Li have been invited to join Hollywood's most exclusive club - the group that hands out the Academy Awards.

They were among 105 actors, filmmakers, executives and others in the movie business who were asked to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Also invited into the academy were Josh Brolin, Allison Janney and Ray Winstone, Jason Reitman, a best-director nominee for last year's "Juno," and that film's writer, Diablo Cody, who won the original-screenplay Oscar.

The academy has just under 6,000 voting members.