Today's News: Our Take


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 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


DodgeBall slacker Vince Vaughn has pitched Warner Bros. a live-action adaptation of the Japanese cartoon series Speed Racer, Variety reports — and the studio bit. Vaughn will serve as an exec producer and play Racer X, the title character's protective bro. read more


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


Bill Clinton's memoir, My Life, sold more than 400,000 copies in the U.S. on its opening day Tuesday — a nonfiction record. Publisher Knopf quickly announced a second run of 725,000 copies, bringing the total number of copies in print to 2.25 million. read more


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 The winner will be profiled (with his clothes on) in the mag's October issue. read more


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

T.H.E.M. As a rule, I avoid magicians....

As a rule, I avoid magicians. Honestly, David Blaine is the devil to me. And this, from someone who's been saddled with the name Damian for 35 years! There's just something about people making things float and disappear that just reeks of evildoing. That said, the only thing unholy here is the title. Totally Hidden Extreme Magic. That's just too much. The magic bits themselves were awesome, especially the guy who literally coughed his head off in front of the cast of Passions. Who you'd think would be down with crazy stuff like that by now, right? What I'm down with is how the pranksters were all mercifully Copperfield-mullet and jazz-hand free. They'd just roll into a cafe, levitate a cup and hit it, leaving freaked-out spectators to wonder how they did it and what the hell "I'm one of T.H.E.M." meant. Not to mention why NBC shot this down as a series in favor of, say... most everything else. Except for Next Action Star. read more


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


HBO's Angels in America, Showtime's Queer as Folk and BET's Open Mic were among the winners at Cable Positive's third annual POP Awards, which recognizes outstanding HIV/AIDS-related programming. Brit spitfire Graham Norton, Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins and TV Guide's Michael Ausiello were among the presenters at last night's reception in New York. That's not a joke. Really, I was there. In fact, I hear The Smoking Gun plans to post my list of demands — three bottles of Diet Raspberry Snapple, two bags of Soy Crisps, 12 Q-tips (don't ask) — on its website. You'll see. read more

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