Today's News: Our Take


CHARGED

Record producer Phil Spector was formally charged Thursday with murder in the shooting death of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson last February. Spector is currently free on $1 million bail. read more

FAREWELL

Gene Anthony Ray, best known for playing street-smart teen Leroy in the 1980 movie Fame and the subsequent TV series, died Friday of complications from a recent stroke. He was 41. In related news, actress Kellie Waymire, who guest-starred on Six Feet Under and Friends, and had a recurring role as Elizabeth Cutler on Star Trek: Enterprise, died last week of natural causes. She was 36. read more

RUSH TO JUDGEMENT

Authorities in Palm Beach are reportedly investigating whether Rush Limbaugh illegally funneled money to buy prescription painkillers. On his radio show, the right-winger denied the allegations. "I was not laundering money," he said. "I was withdrawing money, for crying out loud." Limbaugh returned to the airwaves Monday after a five-week stint in rehab. read more

SIMPLE CASTING

David Spade has signed on to do a multiple-episode arc on ABC's 8 Simple Rules. He'll play a relative of the grieving Hennessys. read more

ONE-STOP MAKEOVERS

One of the miracle workers featured on Extreme Makeover is opening a chain of plastic surgery centers that will offer the same services as the ABC hit. Plastic surgeon Garth Fisher will lend his name to The Advanced Aesthetics Institute, which will offer everything from hair and wardrobe consultations to complete surgical overhauls, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ugly people should make tracks to Palm Beach, Fla., where the first center is set to open this week. read more

DOES SHOWTIME WANT IT?

In light of Jacko's latest child abuse scandal, CBS has decided to postpone its Michael Jackson Number Ones special, which was scheduled to air next Wednesday. "Given the gravity of the charges against Mr. Jackson, we believe it would be inappropriate at this time to broadcast an entertainment special," the network said in a statement. News programs on Jackson, however, are fair game. The major networks are busy prepping specials on the singer's latest troubles. First up: NBC's Dateline, which will devote its entire Friday show to the baby-danglin' Gloved One. read more

SAD NEWS

Word is out that actor Jonathan Brandis was discovered dead in his Los Angeles apartment on Nov. 12. The 27-year-old actor was beloved among Gen-Xers for his roles in Neverending Story 2 and NBC's mid-90s series, seaQuest DSV. Coroners pointed to suicide as the possible cause of death, although more testing will occur before a final ruling. Fans last saw Brandis — looking very handsome and grown up — in his recent indie film, The Year That Trembled. read more

SHORT CUTS

The head of the Motion Picture Association of America said Wednesday that he believes the public could be watching newly-released movies on the Internet by 2005... The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna that crashed in the Bahamas in 2001, killing actress-singer Aaliyah and eight other people, had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his body, an autopsy found... Jessica Lynch's authorized biography I Am a Soldier, Too has debuted atop the New York Times' nonfiction bestseller list. read more

THE KISS OFF

Roughly 18.5 million viewers watched Bob Guiney pick Estella over Kelly Jo on Wednesday's Bachelor finale, making it the night's top-rated show. The serial kisser wisely chose not to propose to the 28-year-old baby-voiced Californian. He instead asked Est to wear the ring on her right hand, saying, "It represents my promise to you to see where we can go." Given Bob's tonsil-hockey addiction, I'm guessing they'll be going their separate ways shortly after tonight's After the Final Rose wrapup show. read more

Ed I think it's time to check...

Ed
I think it's time to check into the Betty Ford Clinic for TV fans addicted to cute. Because no matter how much I gripe about the down-home dorkiness of Stuckeyville, I have to admit it: I am powerless over Ed and Carol. Love 'em! Presenting Carol her 25 favorite things, then popping the question, I'm sorry. It just doesn't get any sweeter and more prime-time adorable than that. And while it was a hoot to see Burt Reynolds as Mike's strap of a dad, even better was the feuding twosome's barb-fueled reconciliation. Who knew "You're impotent" and "Sorry I burned down your house" could make for such a heartwarming Thanksgiving?

It's All Relative
Hmmm. A bit of a misfire here, with Liz and Bobby trying to trick their folks into throwing them an engagement party. Granted, it made for some great back-and-forth bickering between the O'Neils and Liz's dads, but there has to be a better way to ruffle their feathers than showing twentysomet read more

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