Today's News: Our Take


Acid reflux wasn't to blame for Ashlee Simpson's heavily panned performance at last week's Orange Bowl. The embattled teenybopper says a combination of technical difficulties and her pro-USC stance may have led to the chorus of boos. "There were no ear monitors when we went on stage," she told "And trying to sing in a stadium where you can't hear yourself is kinda hard." Or... "maybe they were booing at me, maybe they were booing at the halftime show, 'cause the whole thing sucked," she added. "I was facing [the Oklahoma Sooners], and I was rooting for USC, and they played a clip of it, so maybe it was that those people didn't like me." Actually, I think it was the scoreboard they didn't like. read more


ABC has announced plans for a two-part, four-hour Ten Commandments miniseries to air as early as November. Producers insist the project, which will rely on extensive biblical and historical research, is not a remake of the Charlton Heston epic. What's more, they promise the parting-of-the-waves sequence won't look like it was shot in someone's kiddie pool. read more


Boxing mogul Don King likes to watch guys dish it out, but he can't take a hit himself. Yesterday the spin doctor filed a $2.5 billion lawsuit against ESPN for airing a SportsCentury bio of him that he claims is defamatory. Among the statements made by the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning program to which King objects: He allegedly underpaid star pugilists including Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes and Meldrick Taylor, and has a really, really bad hairdo. (OK, that last one isn't alleged at all; that's just a fact.) read more


At last we have proof that Simon Cowell's bark is, in fact, worse than his bite. The American Idol meanie is the latest celebrity to join PETA's anti-fur campaign. In a new print ad, the secret softy is pictured holding a four-legged friend; underneath the photo is the line, "If you wouldn't wear your dog, please don't wear any fur." Now would somebody please do something about the inhumanity of Cowell being forced to sit next to Paula Abdul season after season? read more


Desperate Housewives and Lost (I can't believe they almost killed Shannon!) scored nominations for the Directors Guild of America's annual awardsfest. Housewives will compete in the comedy category with Sex and the City and Curb Your Enthusiasm, while Lost will face off against ER, Deadwood and The Sopranos. read more


Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden, a 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 66. read more


Director Bryan Singer has tapped one of his X-Men, James Marsden, to play Lois Lane's love interest in Superman Returns. As previously reported, Kate Bosworth has (unfortunately) nabbed the role of Lois, while One Life to Live grad Brandon Routh will star as the Man of Steel. read more


Taking a page from Oprah's book, Live with Regis and Kelly will give away one 2005 Pontiac Montana SV6 minivan every day during the entire month of February.... Sixteen years after taking its "final" bow, A Chorus Line will return to Broadway in September 2006... Showtime has renewed The L Word for a third season. The show's second season kicks off Feb. 20. read more


Queen Latifah will host the 47th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 13, it was announced today. Latifah, whose Dana Owens Album is up for Best Jazz Vocal Album, will also perform during the ceremony. read more


The truth is out there about the long-awaited second X-Files flick. Actually, the truth was in Wednesday's USA Today, but that's neither here nor there. David Duchovny told the paper that he expects to shoot the sequel later this year or early in 2006. "It'll be a stand-alone horror movie," he said. "Mulder and Scully investigate one particular case that has nothing to do with alien life. It has to do with supernatural stuff." read more

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