Today's News: Our Take


JUSTIN AND MTV 'N SYNC

Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay and Beyonce Knowles were the big winners at last night's 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Elliott's "Work It" was named video of the year and best Hip-Hop Video, while Timberlake, Coldplay and Knowles won three moon men apiece. For the real winners and losers at Thursday's 20th anniversary VMA telecast, click here. And for red carpet scoop, click here. read more

GYPSIES, TRAMPS AND THIEVES, KEEP OUT!

Cher has finally settled her four-year legal tussle with the city of Malibu, Calif. A while back, the diva erected an anti-stalker wall around the tennis court on her estate, but at 10 feet high, it's 3 feet higher than local law allows. Now, Malibu has agreed to let Cher keep her wall, in exchange for a $125,000 donation to music and arts programs in the Santa Monica/Malibu School District. See? Money can buy happiness. read more

RATINGS ROUND-UP

Fox's The O.C. hit yet another Nielsen high Tuesday night. In its fourth outing, the prime-time sudser attracted 8.6 million viewers — up from 8 million the week before. As a result, Fox has ordered six additional scripts of the show. In other Tuesday ratings news, Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy notched a best-yet 3.1 million viewers, and ESPN's new football drama Playmakers scored 2.6 million viewers in its debut — an improvement over the network's typical prime-time audience. read more

SEND IN THE CLONES

Buoyed by the hit single "Frontin," The Neptunes Present ... the Clones entered Billboard's album chart at No. 1 with 249,262 copies sold. Jessica Simpson's In the Skin, meanwhile, debuted at No. 10 with sales of 64,000 units. read more

DON'T GO FISH

Director Tim Burton's highly anticipated next film Big Fish has been delayed to give Sony execs time to market it properly. Originally scheduled for release on Nov. 26, the pic will now open in select cities on Dec. 18 before going wide on Jan. 23. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews is relocating from New Jersey to California to cover the ongoing recall election madness. From Sept. 1 through the election on Oct. 7, the show will broadcast live from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. In the meantime, go read that spicy story about Arnold — now! This column will be here when you get back. read more

BLURRING THE LINE

The CIA is making a play for Alias spybabe Jennifer Garner. According to Reuters, the government agency has approached the actress about appearing in an official recruitment video geared to university graduate students. Chase Brandon, a film industry liaison for the CIA, says, "We feel that Miss Garner, both in character as agent Sydney Bristow and as herself, embodies the intelligence, enthusiasm and dedication that we're looking for." Plus, she's hot! read more

Thirteen Starlet's Life of Scandal


Move over Matt and Ben. A newer newbie has written herself into a plum part in a critically acclaimed film. And talk about a modern-day Cinderella story...

Once upon a time, 13-year-old Nikki Reed was busy living out her misspent youth with a vengeance. Then, Daddy's ex-girlfriend — production designer Catherine Hardwicke — encouraged her to put her wild child experiences down on paper. Together, they co-wrote the script for Fox Searchlight's Thirteen. Hardwicke got behind the camera to direct, and though she'd never acted before, Reed landed a huge co-starring role.

Hollywood's prodigy du jour insists she never actually expected Thirteen to be made. "We wrote it so that we could improve my acting. Cather read more

Race Losers Speak Out!


Chip and Reichen may receive all the glory (and the million-dollar prize), but finishing The Amazing Race within the top three is a reward in and of itself. Of course, Jon and Kelly and David and Jeff may disagree with that statement. Here, the four also-rans enjoy their moment in the TV Guide Online spotlight.

TV Guide Online: Are you all happy with the way your teams were portrayed on the show?
Kelly:
It was dead on!

TVGO: It didn't bother you or Jon that you were kind of the villains of the series?
Jon:
I don't necessarily think we were villains; I think we were the comic relief. David and Jeff and Chip and Reichen aren't funny at all. (Laughs).
Kelly: You know what it was? Jon and I were ourselves and that got us in a lot of trouble. We crack on people we like and we crack on people we don't like. You can't click with everybody, but we clicked with 99 percent of the te read more

Whoopi on Making Whoopi Edgy


If political correctness is your bag, NBC's Whoopi ain't your sitcom. Whoopi Goldberg holds little sacred in her self-titled comedy (debuting Sept. 9 at 8 pm/ET). She chain-smokes her way through the pilot — starting in the opening scene — then takes potshots at everything from Dubya to hysterical terror alerts to white people who aspire to be ghetto-fabulous. "What you're going to get," the Oscar winner says, "is what people aren't saying out loud."

On the show, Goldberg plays Mavis Rae, a has-been singer running a Manhattan hotel. The colorful cast includes comic Omid Djalili, who plays Nasim, her loveable, if neurotic, Iranian handyman. The duo has a lot of wacky chats about (mis)perceptions of Americans of Middle Eastern descent. And they're not afraid to work words like "towelhead" into the conversation. Can you say "Yikes!", kids?

"The bottom line is, people who look a certain way are afraid of how people are goi read more

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