Today's News: Our Take

Friends Oh my God, how cool is...

Oh my God, how cool is this? On the eve of the big goodbye, NBC throws me a bone and runs a repeat on my night. I'm so excited... and not in the Pointer Sisters kinda way. Sadly, my glee is slightly tempered by the fact that this wasn't a very good episode. I mean, Phoebe's impersonations to keep Joey from realizing his agent was dead and Ross bribing the Ralph Lauren guy into rehiring Rachel would have been high-larious, like, four seasons ago, but now that most of them are tickling 40 (and showing it, sorry), it all came off as tragically co-dependent. Of course, I'll probably need Matthew Perry's leftover Vicodin and Dr. Phil on speed-dial to get through the finale without collapsing into a tear-drenched mess, so really, who am I to judge?

American Idol
OK, we're over swing night. Yes, it was a monster car wreck. As was poor Diana DeGarmo's dress. So let's all move on and focus o read more


MTV has picked up The Assistant, a reality show from Andy Dick that's basically a spoof of NBC's The Apprentice. According to Variety, the eight-episode series will find contestants facing off in a series of wacky challenges for a gig at a Hollywood production company and a new car. read more


This summer's 48-city American Idol tour featuring the top 10 finalists will kick off July 14 in Salt Lake City and conclude Sept. 26 in San Jose, Calif. Tickets go on sale later this month. Meanwhile, that noise you hear is Camile Velasco taking 'round-the-clock singing lessons. read more


German supermodel Heidi Klum gave birth to a baby girl Tuesday in New York. Little Leni — whose papa is some dude named Flavio Briatore — tipped the scales at eight pounds, three more than her mom. read more


A federal judge rejected Martha Stewart's bid for a new trial today. U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum ruled that the domestic diva received a fair trial the first time around, despite the fact that one of the jurors lied about his arrest record. Stewart, who was found guilty of obstructing justice, will be sentenced on June 17. read more

Is Beckinsale the New Buffy?

Vampire action-thrillers are Kate Beckinsale's nasty new niche. Last year, she vamped it up as a spooky heroine in Underworld. Next, she plays a vampire slayer opposite Hugh Jackman in Van Helsing (opening Friday). Has she gone all Buffy on us? The 30-year-old Brit denies it, insisting she doesn't even like all those fanged fiends she's been hanging with.

"I was so surprised to do any vampire movies at all, because I'm not into them," Beckinsale admits. "When I first got sent the script for Underworld, I didn't even want to read it."

So what motivated her return to this gory genre for Van Helsing? (Besides a bloody-good paycheck, we mean.) "When I got the script for [Van Helsing], even though it had vampires and werewolves in it, my character was so different," she enthuses. "First of all, I'm not a vampire myself. [My character's] a gypsy and passionate and human. It just seemed like a different role."

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Oprah Winfrey has landed an exclusive interview with R&B legend Luther Vandross, his first since suffering a near-fatal stroke. The chat will air on Thursday's Oprah. read more

Dick Van Dyke Looks Back

Now happily retired, 78-year-old Dick Van Dyke says he had the time of his life working on The Dick Van Dyke Show. To the undoubted delight of TV-nostalgia fans, the surviving cast of his self-titled '60s sitcom reunites in The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited (May 11 at 9 pm/ET on CBS). Here, he recalls his fondest memories of the landmark comedy, which still lives on in TV Land reruns.

TV Guide Online: How did the reunion show go?
Dick Van Dyke:
It was like a high-school reunion. We all said they should have taped the rehearsals, because it was hysterical. [Rose Marie's] hearing aid kept going out, people forgot their lines and we were all just rolling on the floor, laughing at each other.

TVGO: You weren't that well-known, having hosted a game show and done Broadway. How'd you get a sitcom named after you?
Van Dyke:
We couldn't come up with a name. They tried Double Trouble because it's about a guy whose work li read more


Donald Trump is penning a new advice book that will be released in conjunction with the second season of The Apprentice this fall. Trump says Think like a Billionaire will tell readers "everything they need to be successful in life in fewer than 300 pages." Here's the Cliffs Notes version: Don't hire Omarosa. read more


Showtime has renewed Queer as Folk for a fifth season... Disney's Elton John-scored pop musical Aida will end its Broadway run on Sept. 5 after four-and-a-half years and 1852 performances... Ratings for last Friday's controversial Nightline telecast, in which Ted Koppel read the names of 721 American soldiers killed during the Iraq war, were up 22 percent from the previous Friday. read more

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