Today's News: Our Take


MOB SCENE

Twenty-three people were arrested in Sicily yesterday near the set of Ocean's Twelve, and, against all odds, Courtney Love was not one of them. Rather, the individuals carted off were members of an Italian crime family suspected of seeking "protection money" from producers of the sequel to George Clooney and Brad Pitt's Ocean's Eleven remake. Of course, they could have just wanted Catherine Zeta-Jones's autograph really, really bad. read more

ENOUGH ALREADY

ABC, CBS and NBC have agreed to limit prime-time coverage of the Republican and Democratic conventions to just an hour per night. Of course, Fox couldn't go along with that plan, because when your schedule includes gems like North Shore, even 60 minutes could be too much time to spare. read more

WHAT THE $#@*!

According to a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health, the MPAA has spent the last decade loosening up — and not in good way. A PG- or PG-13-rated film today, the institute suggests, contains far more violence, sex and profanity than it would have 10 years ago. At this rate, Shrek 12 is going to be set in an enchanted bordello. read more

GOLD RUSH

In a stunning upset, Yes, Dear swept the Emmy nominations this morning, winning nods in every major category. Okay, not really. I just wanted to see what it would feel like to write that sentence. (It was fun!) Actually, with 21 nominations, HBO's adaptation of Angels in America was the project most heralded by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Among drama series, HBO's The Sopranos led the field with 20 plaudits; in the comedy category, HBO's Sex and the City came out on top with 11 kudos. Anybody else notice a trend here? At least the rules instituted to give new programs a fairer shake made an impact: Freshman favorites Arrested Development and Joan of Arcadia both received notice. Some interesting actors were nominated, read more

Metallica Shares Inner Turmoil


For more than 20 years, Metallica's rocked hard and lived hard, while remaining at the forefront of heavy-metal music. Their current documentary, Some Kind of Monster, chronicles the band's recent near-demise following the not-so-amicable departure of bassist Jason Newsted. It also shows a softer side of the rock giants. Fans peek in on their group-therapy sessions and see lead singer James Hetfield's life post-rehab. This doesn't mean they'll be all nicey nice now, though, does it?

"We've been emotional our whole career," says Hetfield. "I think we feel more creative than ever, and the anger is there. It is always going to be there.

"Music is a great therapy," the 40-year-old continues. "It has been a great communicator for me and I know that there has always been therapeutic value in writing lyrics since day one."

While it's simmering pleasantly below the surface, there's still a lingering power struggle between the fron read more

MUY CALIENTE

In still more music news, Brazilian singer Maria Rita, Spanish vocalist Alejandro Sanz and Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes earned four nominations apiece at the Latin Grammy nominations yesterday. read more

NO MORE DRAMA

Yesterday, Actors' Equity and the League of American Theaters and Producers revealed details of the new contract that will keep the lights of Broadway turned on for the next four years. In addition to a three-percent raise for Great White Way performers, the pact ushers in an "experimental touring program," which, as close as we can figure, means that folks working on hit road shows will get paid more than those working on flops. Ingenious, no? read more

MAKIN' WHOOPI... SAD

You won't see Slim-Fast hawker Whoopi Goldberg in TV commercials for the diet drink anymore. The comic has been fired for dissing Dubya at last week's John Kerry fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Attendees reportedly witnessed Goldberg brandishing a wine bottle and making dirty wordplays on President Bush's surname. (Tee-hee!) Slim-Fast says it has pulled the Whoopster off the air because her comments offended some of its customers. First, NBC axes her Bush-bashin' Whoopi, now this. Clearly, that vast right-wing conspiracy is at work! read more

RANDALL'S LEGACY

The late Tony Randall's will became public this week, revealing that the Odd Couple star left slightly more than $1 million to wife Heather and their two kids. He also bequeathed $50,000 apiece to the Actors Fund and Manhattan's Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. read more

Press Tour Diary: Day Five


We're at the midway point of press tour and that can only mean three things: At least half of the journalists here have started recycling their underwear; the backlash against the host hotel has reached a fever pitch; and folks are starting to place bets on which shows are going to be axed first. (My pick? CBS's ghastly John Goodman sitcom Center of the Universe.) Helping TCA members celebrate Hump Day is WB, which previewed its fall schedule Wednesday for the increasingly cranky press corps. Here's a rundown of all the day's memorable moments.

WELCOMING REMARKS
9:10 Keith Marder, WB's joyfully antagonistic communications director, kicks off the day with his traditional press-tour comedy routine. First up is a joke about former WB chief Jordan Levin, who Marder says left the network to figure out who starred "in the reality version of Crossing Jordan." It bombs, but he assures us, "It will get better."

9:11 read more

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