Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Oprah Winfrey will celebrate her 50th birthday today with a star-studded bash on The Oprah Winfrey Show... A Cirque du Soleil production featuring the music of the Beatles will likely replace Siegfried & Roy's closed show at the Mirage casino in Las Vegas... Sci Fi Channel has greenlit Anonymous Rex, a two-hour movie based on Eric Garcia's series of books about dinosaurs who disguise themselves as humans. Rumor has it Joan Rivers is a shoo-in to star. read more

I FEEL BUSTED

The Godfather of Soul is back in trouble with the law. James Brown was arrested on Wednesday and charged with criminal domestic violence and suspicion of not owning any hair products. The 70-year-old singer allegedly pushed his wife, Tomi Rae Brown, to the floor during an argument in their South Carolina home. He was released from jail today after a brief hearing, during which he denied hurting his wife. Brown served more than two years in prison in the late '80s on drug and assault charges and was convicted of a drug-related offense in 1998. read more

REALITY RATINGS

American Idol continued to steamroll the competition Tuesday night, attracting nearly 30 million viewers and hitting a new high among young adults. Even more impressive, Idol outdrew ABC, CBS and NBC combined at 8 pm. UPN also had cause to celebrate as the latest episode of America's Next Top Model pulled in more than 7 million viewers and ranked as the network's third-highest-rated telecast ever among bitchy anorexic women 18-34. read more

American Idol Oh, thank god. The...

American Idol
Oh, thank god. The Hawaiian auditions bring the badness to an end. Seriously, I get that Fox trots out the really awful singers early on to keep us entertained, but enough is enough! Ukuleles, yodelers, a Winnie the Pooh costume! Come on. I thought I was watching the talent-show tryouts at the David Lynch High School for Tone-Deaf Medical Anomalies. Though I was grateful for another week without having to figure out how to text-message my votes in. I haven't had feeling in my thumbs since Kelly Clarkson.

Smallville
So Clark and Lana both try to off Chloe out of the blue? No big mystery there. They've obviously grown as annoyed with her as I have. All that flippy hair and meddling, it's enough to push even the Man of Steel past his limits. Granted, it can't be that easy, so instead of their homicidal urges making perfect sense, we get the super exes being brainwashed by e-mails. Just wait until they discov read more

SPOT REMOVER

CBS is defending its decision to reject a Super Bowl ad that would have criticized President Bush's handling of the U.S. deficit after a group of congressmen called the move an affront to free speech. The network says it has a policy against "advocacy advertising," which is designed to prevent groups from exerting undue influence on controversial issues that have "a significant impact on society or its institutions." In other words, ads that are boring. read more

RESTRAINING ORDER

R. Kelly better steer clear of accused child molester Michael Jackson at the Grammy Awards. For some unknown reason, a judge has ordered the embattled R&B star, who is awaiting trial on child porn charges, to stay away from the embattled King of Pop at next month's kudosfest — where Kelly is nominated for two awards. Jacko, however, is not up for any awards and is not expected to attend. Huh? read more

'70s Show Star Quitting?


Topher Grace, 25, is best known for playing retro boy Eric Forman on the long-running Fox hitcom, That '70s Show. Over the past few years, though, he's been earning street cred with small parts in movies like Mona Lisa Smile and Traffic. Now, he's a lead in the current comedy, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!. Does the actor's big screen success mean his TV run will soon end?

"As long as you forgo having a social life, [doing both] is a piece of cake," Grace tells TV Guide Online. "It'll calm down, eventually. [Right now], I think it is so wonderful workwise, because I have this home base with '70s, where I have been working since I was a teenager.

"That was my first audition," he continues. "I was pulled out of a high school play for that show. And very few actors have this home base in Hollywood and then are able to go try something different and come back. It has been a wonderful kind of graduate school for acting. But nex read more

Apprentice Villain Fires Back

As he proved during his brief but memorable stint on NBC's The Apprentice, Sam Solovey is a small guy with a larger-than-life personality. In fact, the 27-year-old Internet entrepreneur is such a big presence that he required two — count 'em, two — TV Guide Online interviews. So, as a follow-up to his pre-pink slip chat, we rang up with the nutty obsessor just hours after he proposed to his girlfriend live on the Today show to grill him some more.
TV Guide Online: Which was more nerve-racking: facing The Donald in the Board Room or proposing on national TV?
Sam Solovey:
It's funny. When other people are most uncomfortable, that's when I'm comfortable. I'm an intense person, so going into the Board Room was an exhausting process, but I was never nervous. And I wasn't even nervous this morning because I enjoy those opportunities for the challenge. I love that kind of scary moment. It's a thrill t read more

Ted Danson Ends Becker


Last summer, Becker was brought back from the dead with an eleventh-hour renewal for a sixth season. But don't expect it to happen again, even though CBS hasn't officially canned the series. "They never really cancel things," says star Ted Danson. "They just let them disappear. I think canceling is bad juju, so [series] just don't show up again."

The Becker finale airs tonight at 9:30 pm/ET, and the episode title is "DNR" — as in "Do Not Resuscitate." He admits it's a not-so-subtle message to the network that the Becker set is closed for good. In it, grumpy Dr. Becker finds happiness. "But," Danson says, "he's morose over the fact that he's happy. I love that."

Danson's grateful for the chance to end the show "with some degree of grace," even though the cast and crew knew, going into Season 6, that they "weren't the flavor of the week" and would be gone by mid-season. As for shooting the wrap-up, he says it was "very sweet. read more

SOLID BOW

The debut of Dennis Miller's new CNBC talk show notched decent ratings Monday. The premiere, which featured a guest appearance by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, attracted 746,000 viewers — more than four times what the cable network had been averaging at 9 pm. read more

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