Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

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

BOOK SMART

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

BABY CHICKS

Dixie Chick Martie Maguire and her hubby, Gareth, are the parents of twin girls. Eva Ruth and Kathleen Emilie were born April 27. read more

HEAD SCRATCHER

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is suing Ohio Discount Merchandise Inc., claiming that the bobblehead company unlawfully used his image on a line of the wobbly plastic toys. The company's owners argue that the governator is a public figure and can no longer control his image. read more

GOOD GET

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

MOORE OR LESS

Walt Disney is reportedly blocking Miramax from distributing Michael Moore's controversial anti-Dubya documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. In a message posted on his website, Moore said the whole ordeal "has been a lesson in just how difficult it is in this country to create a piece of art that might upset those in charge." A Miramax rep responds: "We're discussing the issue with Disney. We're looking at all of our options and look forward to resolving this amicably." read more

STILL IN PRACTICE

David E. Kelley is taking a year off — sort of. The überproducer — who is pitching ABC two Practice spinoffs for fall — tells TV Guide Online that he'll be "stepping back from the day-to-day running of [my shows], but I'll still be here supervising and, obviously, developing. A year off [is] overstated. I wish, but no such luck!" read more

WILL IT BE FAIR AND BALANCED?

Al Gore has purchased the 24-hour Newsworld International channel from Vivendi Universal Entertainment. The former VP says he plans to turn it into a cable news network for young adults. "This is not going to be a liberal network, a Democratic network or a political network," Gore said at a news conference. "[It'll be] an independent voice in this industry." Rumored first guests include Barbra Streisand, Michael Moore and Janeane Garofalo. read more

FX GOES TO WAR

NYPD Blue creator Steven Bochco is developing a one-hour drama series for FX that explores the lives of military men and women, Variety reports. The untitled project marks Bochco's first series deal with a basic cable channel. read more

JPL RETURNS!

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

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