Today's News: Our Take


BENCHED

Ben Affleck has abandoned his jump shot in Disney's Glory Road, the true-life story of Texas Western College basketball coach Don Haskins, whose all-black team won the NCAA finals in 1966. According to The Hollywood Reporter, disputes over profit shares caused the actor to back out of the film, which starts shooting within weeks. Disney is actively seeking a replacement and are reportedly courting A Beautiful Mind's Josh Lucas to take over the role. read more

MEDIC ALERT

Courtney Love is returning for a second engagement — in the hospital. The troubled 40-year-old rocker, who was released from Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital on Monday, has been admitted to a private medical facility in New York. The nature of her condition remains a mystery, as does her treatment. Meanwhile, Love is still on the lam for missing her arraignment on an assault charge in Los Angeles. Prosecutors there say they have no information on the fugitive femme's whereabouts. What, don't they read this column? read more

FAREWELL

Acclaimed Italian cinematographer Carlo Di Palma died on Friday in his native Rome. He was 79. Here in the U.S., he was best known for beautifying 11 of Woody Allen's films, including Hannah and Her Sisters, Bullets over Broadway and Shadows and Fog. read more

EM ON AIR

Eminem is joining forces with Sirius Satellite Radio to "deliver an uncut hip-hop radio station like never before," he declared in a statement. "Once upon a time, not too long ago, the Feds wanted all my music off the air. Now we'll be on Sirius 24 hours a day, playing the best hip-hop — not just from Shady Records, but from everywhere. I can't wait to start dropping new material, exclusive tracks and uncensored hip-hop, featuring me and everyone else freely saying whatever the hell we want." Since Sirius is available only by subscription, its content isn't governed by FCC regulations. Em's rap-radio venture kicks off this fall. read more

Gilmore Girls Far more interesting...

Gilmore Girls
Far more interesting than Lorelai and Rory's rosy relationship is Lane's tug of war with her stricter-than-strict old-world mother, Mrs. Kim. I'm not surprised when she kicks Lane out of the house after stumbling upon the teen's secret rock-and-roll life. But it is touching to see the Bible-toting woman's icy demeanor crack just a little. (I mean, what parent wouldn't be sick with worry upon discovering her teenager's empty bed after midnight?) So was sneaking out to play a gig at CBGB's worth getting caught? Yes, because it finally earned Lane some real freedom. And, of course, the chance to breathe the air backstage at the legendary club. (Note to producers: nice job recreating CB's hole-in-the-wall look!)

Last Comic Standing
I hate when reality shows crib from each other and get it all wrong. Alliances? Plotting? Backstabbing? Let's face it, this is a freakin' talent show, not Survivor. I just want to hear these peo read more

PAID IN FULL

Singer Marc Anthony has offered to pay a Puerto Rico nightclub $20,000 for unpaid bills to settle a lawsuit. Mr. J.Lo rang up the expenses during a private party after the 2002 Miss Universe pageant with his then-wife, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres. Anthony had initially declined to pay the outstanding charges due to personal problems. read more

GEST KEEPS GABBING

Liza Minnelli's ex David Gest is busy inserting foot-in-mouth again. After telling tonight's Extra that he's kicked his addiction to painkillers, he attempts to defend his claim that Liza physically beat him during their marriage. "People say to me, 'Why didn't you walk out of the room?'" Gest says. "Well, if she would have jumped from a window with two bottles of vodka in her, they would have said, 'Ah, he killed her.' A real man doesn't leave somebody who he loves alone. You just take it." When asked about his friend Jacko's well-being as the child-molestation trial draws near, Gest predicts, "If he is convicted — which I hope he's not — he'll kill himself. How could someone like Michael Jackson survive in jail?" Such a ray of sunshine that guy is! read more

Comic Ant Bugs Out!

In last week's episode of Last Comic Standing, flamboyant funnyman Ant's hopes of winning the title were, ahem, squashed. (Cheap humor, yes, but we're on a budget, folks!) Not only that, but the former Unhappily Ever After costar had been portrayed as the most conniving queen bee since Joan Collins doffed her Dynasty shoulder pads. Yet, as TV Guide Online chatted him up just prior to this week's show (airing tonight at 9 pm/ET on NBC), we realized that he was the one Ant with whom we'd prefer to picnic than nitpick. Read on and decide for yourself: Doesn't he seem like the sort of fellow who's less likely to stab you in the back than to pat you on it?

TV Guide Online: Ant, to this day, I can't figure out why you were so scheming. Your final set was killer; you've got the goods!
Ant:
You thought I was scheming? I wouldn't call it scheming. I would call it having a great time and living the reality [TV] experience — the strong sur read more

Press Tour Diary: Day Three


ABC is mired in fourth place in the ratings, its executive ranks are in constant disarray and it hasn't had a major hit since Laverne & Shirley schlemieled onto the scene in 1976. Okay, I exaggerated a teensy bit with that last one, but you get the point. Despite all the doom and gloom, the Mickey Mouse network had reason to be upbeat as it kicked off its portion of the TCA press tour on Monday. Simply put: Of all the networks, ABC's got the best crop of new fall shows. Standouts include J.J. Abrams' island spooker Lost, the dark suburban soap Desperate Housewives and the hilarious family sitcom Complete Savages. It even has the most promising new reality show in Wife Swap. What more could a struggling network ask for? A minute-by-minute recap of yesterday's highlights, you say? Coming right up!

EXECUTIVE SESSION
9:10 am During her opening remarks, newly installed network president Anne Sweeney is upstaged read more

DREAMS SCOOP

Jessica Simpson's sister, Ashlee, is eyeing a guest-star gig on NBC's American Dreams this fall. "She's a good friend of mine," series star Brittany Snow tells TV Guide Online. "I don't know who she'll play yet. It's up to her. I think she'd make a great Janis Joplin because she's got that raspy voice." Snow adds that Usher and Kelly Clarkson are in talks to reprise their respective roles as Marvin Gaye and Brenda Lee. And speaking of American Idols, Fantasia Barrino is also considering filling read more

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