Today's News: Our Take


NO SHOW

Jessica Simpson scrapped a second concert Wednesday in New Hampshire due to a kidney infection. She's expected to resume her tour Friday in Detroit. Meanwhile, Simpson has now sworn off kidney pie, too. read more

WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?

FX's plastic-surgery soap Nip/Tuck kicked off its second season Tuesday with 3.8 million viewers, its most-watched episode ever. TBS's Outback Jack, meanwhile, got off to a decent start with 2.1 million viewers. read more

CRAZY BEAUTIFUL

At New York's Madison Square Garden last night, Madonna dedicated a performance of "Crazy for You" to all those fans who stuck by her "through thick and thin over the last 20 years." Now, I'm not Esther's biggest booster, but I have to give props where props are due: The 45-year-old mother of two looked great, was in perfect voice and gave the audience exactly what it wanted: classics such as "Vogue," "Like a Prayer," "Material Girl," "Holiday," "Into the Groove" and "Music." Es wraps up the Big Apple leg of her Re-Invention Tour tonight. read more

THE BOYS ARE BACK

The Beastie Boys' first CD in six years debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart — but it did half the business of the group's previous offering. To the 5 Boroughs sold 360,000 copies in its first week in stores, compared to 682,000 for 1998's Hello Nasty. Elsewhere, the self-titled debut album from American Idol's country-singin' Marine, Josh Gracin, entered the chart at No. 11 with 57,000 copies sold. read more

SHOT IN THE DARK

A&E is producing a four-hour, $20-million miniseries inspired by last summer's crippling blackout across the Northeast that left millions of people with no cell-phone service and major body odor, Variety reports. read more

SHORT CUTS

Brooke Shields is developing her own talk show, Television Week reports... SoapNet — which for some unknown reason still hasn't acquired Santa Barbara — has snagged the rights to the short-lived '80s sudser Paper Dolls, starring Morgan Fairchild. All 13 episodes will begin airing July 17. read more

THE EYE HAS IT

Mark Burnett's rock riff on American Idol has found a home at CBS. The Eye network has won a bidding war for Rock Star, a reality show in which aspiring rockers compete to become the new lead singer of INXS. The show debuts in summer 2005. read more

YOU'LL BE MARVELOUS!

Billy Crystal will make his Broadway debut this November in 700 Sundays, an autobiographical one-man show. In the play, Crystal will portray numerous characters who have influenced his life. read more

HOT NEWS

Playgirl magazine is looking for America's sexiest anchorman, and CNN's Bill Hemmer, MSNBC's Lester Holt, Fox News Channel's Shepard Smith and — no joke — 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney are among the 18 finalists. To cast your vote, head to Playgirlmag.com. The winner will be profiled (with his clothes on) in the mag's October issue. read more

LUCK OF THE IRISH

Colin Farrell's much-buzzed-about full-frontal nude scene in the upcoming indie drama A Home at the End of the World (July 23) has been cut from the final film after producers felt it was, um, too distracting. Apparently, test audiences cheered the full monty shot, disrupting what was supposed to be an emotional scene. "None of us are prudish, Colin Farrell least of all," producer John Hart tells the New York Post. "But when we saw that it was pulling people out of the movie — why would we want to do that?" The Irish stud's peeper-obsessed fans need not worry: I hear the money shot will be restored for the IMAX 3-D version. read more

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