Today's News: Our Take


KISS THE COOK

She's All That star Rachael Leigh Cook, 24, is engaged to Spider-Man 2 actor Daniel Gillies, 27. No wedding date's set yet, but it'll be the first marriage for both thesps. Meanwhile, there's still no word if Cook's delayed WB series Fearless — about a lady crimefighter who lacks the gene to feel fear — will ever air. read more

BEENE BACK

The second season of that '60s show, Oliver Beene, kicks off Feb. 8 at 7:30 pm/ET on Fox. If you're just dying of anticipation and can't wait — anyone? — the comedy's season premiere "sneak previews" right after American Idol on Feb. 4. read more

DAVE SPREADS HOLIDAY CHEER

David Letterman dropped in on U.S. troops in Baghdad, Iraq on Christmas Eve. According to the The Associated Press, the Late Show host — along with his bandleader Paul Schaffer and goofball Biff Henderson — visited with sick and wounded U.S. soldiers in a combat hospital. He also palled around with servicemen in one of Saddam Hussein's wrecked palaces. Letterman paid a similar holiday visit to troops in Afghanistan last year. read more

SIBLING STUNT

WB's Everwood has tapped Douglas Smith — the real-life brother of series lead Gregory Smith — to play a high school wrestling champ battling bulimia in the Jan. 26 episode. read more

THE SISCO TREAT

When ABC relaunches its ratings-challenged gem, Karen Sisco, in March, Carla Gugino's U.S. Marshal will mix a little pleasure with her business. "There will be a romantic story [involving] someone from her past," reports exec producer Bob Brush, who also plans to "set up more conflict between Karen and her dad (Robert Forster)... [all] to put her through some emotional journeys." ABC is sending Sisco on a trip as well: The network is expected move the show to Sunday nights, where it will be paired with fellow tough-chick drama Alias. Predicts Brush: "[They'll] be great together." read more

GRAMMYS FOR GRANDPARENTS

Musicians Van Cliburn, the Funk Brothers, Ella Jenkins, Sonny Rollins, Artie Shaw and Doc Watson will all get lifetime achievement awards at the 2004 Grammy Awards. Music's biggest kudofest airs live Feb. 8 on CBS. read more

Weirdest Quote of the Night "I'd...

Weirdest Quote of the Night
"I'd rather walk through Hell in a gasoline bra-and-panty set, sitting on Arnold Schwarzenegger's head and breast feeding Gary Coleman." &#151Mavis refusing to hang out with her brother's girlfriend on Whoopi.

A Home for the Holidays
This CBS special's all about celebrating the joys of adoption. Hey, who can't get behind that worthy cause? The audience full of sweet li'l adopted kids and their 'rents sure loves the musical acts. I must confess, Mary J. Blige's song "Special Part of Me" sent chills through even this cynical young Grinch. "No one ever made me feel pretty before. No one ever made me feel wanted. Turn this little girl into a woooooman!"

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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Bawdy comic Lenny Bruce, who died in 1966, has been granted a posthumous pardon by New York Gov. George Pataki. Back in 1964, Bruce's love of potty humor earned him a misdemeanor charge of "giving an obscene performance" in a Manhattan nightclub. "Freedom of speech is one of the greatest American liberties," Pataki said in a statement. "I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve." Well, it's about #&*$% time! read more

Kelly Clarkson Against the World


Forget ambassadors of good will. The United States is sending Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol winner, to represent in a sing-off against Idol victors from 11 other countries in Fox's World Idol. (The competition airs Christmas Day at 8 pm/ET, and the winner is announced New Year's Day at 9 pm/ET.) But before she goes to face the music in the United Kingdom, we found out what Miss Independent thinks about her global showdown, her movie misfire and whether she's destined to be a Broadway Baby.

TV Guide Online: Think you've got an edge over the other Idols, having been on a world tour?
Clarkson:
There's actually a few of us that have gone to other countries, so everybody has that benefit. I have been around in the U.K. and other countries in Europe for quite some time, but in Australia read more

Elijah Wood's Extreme Stunt


Elijah Wood returns as the diminutive hobbit Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (currently in theaters). Of course, though he's small in stature, that doesn't mean he's afraid to take some big risks. During his time in New Zealand, where the epic Rings trilogy was filmed, Wood and several castmates did extreme sports in their free time.

"I did paraponting, which is awesome," he enthuses. "It is running off a hill with a parachute and catching thermal [pockets of air]. I basically parachuted over Queenstown, [New Zealand]."

In Rings, Frodo braves the terrifying depths of Mordor in an effort to rid Middle Earth of a notoriously troublesome ring. But in real life, Wood's courage only takes him up to a point! He left some of the more reckl read more

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