Today's News: Our Take


PASSION PLAYS

This just in: Ain't It Cool News guru Harry Knowles is not more important than the Pope. On Monday, I told you that Mel Gibson screened his controversial flick The Passion of the Christ at Knowles's fifth annual Butt-Numb-A-Thon Film Festival over the weekend — a perceived slight against John Paul since the Oscar winner had just cancelled a Vatican screening of the film. Well, Gibson also screened the pic for the Vatican over the weekend, so he didn't play favorites after all. And according to reports, Passion received "unanimous appreciation and approval" from the congregation. read more

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME HALFTIME?!?!

MTV will once again produce the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show for CBS. The corporate siblings partnered for the 2001 Super Bowl, which featured Aerosmith, 'N Sync and Britney Spears. "We plan on even more unexpected music performances," teases MTV president Van Toffler, "that will go down in halftime history." This has Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey written all over it. read more

LOOK OUT, CAROL

Caroline in the City alum Lea Thompson has been cast in a three-episode story arc on Ed, set to air in January. Thompson will play Ed's philandering ex-girlfriend. Is there any other kind? read more

IT'S NOT RIGHT, AND IT'S NOT OKAY, EITHER

Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston may want to consider another sit-down with Diane Sawyer. Police — responding to a domestic abuse call Sunday night at the couple's Atlanta home — found Houston with a cut upper lip and a bruised cheek. She told officers that her hubby hit her during an argument, and then hopped on a plane to California. Formal charges have not yet been filed. In the meantime, Houston is considering putting Kevin Costner back on her payroll. read more

JACK PINCH HITS

Sharon Osbourne has tapped son Jack to fill in for her on her daytime talk show while she's in London tending to husband Ozzy, who remains hospitalized after taking a spill on an all-terrain vehicle. "I guess he thought he was Evel Knievel for about five minutes and broke half his body," Jack says on Thursday's The Sharon Osbourne Show. "But he's gonna be alright." read more

JACKO UPDATE

Finally, some good news for Michael Jackson. According to a "bombshell internal government memo" obtained by TheSmokingGun.com, a confidential investigation by Los Angeles police and child welfare officials concluded earlier this year that allegations that Jacko sexually abused a cancer-stricken boy were "unfounded." According to the memo, the boy allegedly told investigators that Jacko had not sexually abused them. However, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon says his office was aware of the investigation and it did not affect his decision to pursue charges. read more

ANGELS SOARS

The first installment of the much-hyped HBO miniseries Angels in America attracted 4.2 million viewers Sunday, making it the network's highest-rated movie this year. For Max Robins' take on this, click here — but please, finish my column first. read more

THE WRITE STUFF

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Carson Kressley is motoring over to the publishing biz with a book on men's fashion, due out next fall. The untitled how-to guide will feature Kressley's "inimitable trademark wit and fashion wisdom." In related news, fellow Queer guy Jai Rodriguez is rumored to be in talks to pen a book about how to make a career out of doing nothing. read more

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer...

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
This TV special pops up every Christmas, and I never miss a chance to visit the Island of Misfit Toys! Everybody roots for Rudolph, of course, but I relate most to Hermey the dentist elf. Hermey has fabulous hair and he's prettier and smarter than most of the other boy elves at school. So he doesn't fit in, 'cause he's different. Come out, come out, wherever you are, Hermey...

I Want a Dog, Charlie Brown
I knew Lucy had a little brother called Linus, but who's Rerun? Never heard of him. Anyway, I like the kid. But I'm concerned about him and all these other prematurely balding children. Is there a nuclear power plant in Charlie Brown's neighborhood or what?

Whoopi
Hey! Courtney's "black acting" Caucasian girlfriend lost those braids in her hair. Now, she has a glamorous Gwyneth 'do. I approve. However, that's about all I like this week on Whoopi. I'm feeling preached read more

Will Firefly: The Movie Take Flight?


It looks like that big-screen Firefly movie has been temporarily grounded. In September it was announced that Joss Whedon had struck a deal with Universal to turn his short-lived Fox series into a feature film, with shooting expected to begin in early '04. But in an interview with TV Guide Online, the acclaimed Buffy auteur hints that the much-talked-about venture has not in fact been cleared for takeoff.

"I have interest, I have hope, but I have no news," says Whedon. "I can't really talk about it. When there is news, I will [tell you]. But if I start talking about it before there is [anything definitive to say], it lessens the chance that [it will get made]." (Calls to Universal were not returned.) This much Whedon can say: Any Firefly flick would be accessible to fan read more

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