Today's News: Our Take


Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker is trading in vintage ball gowns and Manolo Blahniks for gaucho pants and jelly thongs. The 39-year-old fashion icon has inked a yearlong deal to serve as pitchwoman for the Gap. She'll appear in a series of print and television ads beginning in August. read more

Spaces ''Villain'' Gets Ugly

It has been said (to us, even) that Trading Spaces' Doug Wilson hates being branded a bad guy. "I told him one time that he was the villain of the show, and he was [horrified], like, 'Oh my God! Do you really think so?!'" hunky handyman Ty Pennington once told TV Guide Online. Yet the demanding designer will risk tarnishing his reputation once again as the host of America's Ugliest..., a new series of quarterly Learning Channel specials with an insult built right into the title.

"It's okay," the genial almost-40-year-old insists now. "I knew I was playing the villain. Throughout my life, I have worked not only in design but as an actor as well, so I knew what made good theater. I actually created some of those [tense] situations. I would see an opportunity and say, 'Okay, this could be some good TV!' After all, that's what this is about: entertainment. Design has always been secondary for me on Trading Spaces."

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Babylon 5 actor Richard Biggs died Saturday of what was believed to have been a massive stroke. He was 44. Biggs got his start in daytime, playing Dr. Marcus Hunter on Days of Our Lives from 1987 to 1992. He is survived by his wife, Lori Gerber, and two sons. read more


It's not the return of Angie Harmon, but this'll do quite nicely: Former Law & Order star Carey Lowell is in talks to headline the franchise's upcoming third spinoff, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, TV Guide Online has learned. "There's been some early discussions and she's absolutely interested," confirms Lowell's manager. It's believed the actress — who in real life is married to Richard Gere — would reprise her role as onetime ADA Jamie Ross, a character she played from 1996 to 1998. In a recent interview with TV Guide Online, exec producer Dick Wolf hinted that some "familiar faces" from L&O's past might be joining Jerry Orbach when Jury debuts on NBC in early '05. read more


With the 2003-04 TV season ending tonight, CBS claimed victory among total viewers while NBC cruised to an easy win in the only demo it cares about — adults 18-49. Fox, meanwhile, had bragging rights to the season's No. 1 show, American Idol, which averaged roughly 26 million viewers. CSI finished a close second with 25.6 million viewers. And despite a demoralizing fourth-place finish, ABC enjoyed a little bit of good news, too: It's still on the air. For a more in-depth look at this season's ratings race, read The Biz. read more


With a record 65 million votes cast, gospel-tinged soul diva Fantasia "Bobo" Barrino edged out the perpetually perky Diana DeGarmo to win American Idol Wednesday night. The 19-year-old single mom from High Point, N.C., collapsed in DeGarmo's arms the moment Ryan Seacrest called out her name. "I always said I've been through some things, but I've worked hard to get where I'm at," she sobbed to the "star-studded" audience that included Fonzie, Nicole Richie and Paula Abdul's breasts. Fantasia follows in the footsteps of previous Idol title-holders Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aik..., er, I mean Ruben Studdard. Her first single, the Tamyra Gray-penned track "I Believe," will hit stores next week and, if all goes according to plan, will become the new leading cause of suicide in the United States by year's end. read more


Vermont-based jam band Phish announced Tuesday that they will break up at the end of their upcoming summer tour. In a message posted on the band's website, front man Trey Anastasio said the group mutually agreed that "Phish has run its course." Their final album, Undermind, hits stores June 15. read more


Courtney Love agreed to enter a drug-rehabilitation program after pleading guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance. The troubled rocker will reportedly serve several months in an outpatient program that includes classes, counseling, random drug testing and — just to keep her fans in the loop — regular press conferences on the floor of the nearest public bathroom. read more


West Wing star Allison Janney and her boyfriend of two years, actor Richard Jenik, are altar-bound. Jenik popped the question during a romantic getaway in San Francisco on May 17. read more


MTV confirmed Tuesday that it will launch a gay-and-lesbian-themed cable network on Feb. 17, 2005. Logo will offer a mix of movies, reruns and reality-oriented shows and could be available in about 14 million flawlessly decorated homes by the end of next year. read more

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