Today's News: Our Take


RUSH, RUSH TO SURGERY

Why was Paula Abdul's arm in a sling on last night's American Idol? The neutral judge had to have her right thumbnail removed after a manicure went awry. "They punctured me," she tells Entertainment Tonight. "I had surgery to remove the entire nail — the infection was too close to the bone. I almost lost my thumb!" Still, Abdul thought her manicurist was brilliant! read more

ANOTHER DAY

Fox has renewed 24, The O.C., Malcolm in the Middle and The Bernie Mac Show for next season. The network also picked up Mad TV for three additional seasons. (That '70s Show, King of the Hill and The Simpsons were renewed earlier this year.) Speaking of 24, last night's thrilling hour — featuring a knockout performance by Elisha Cuthbert — attracted 11 million viewers, matching the show's best ratings of the season. Translation: 24 is back, folks. read more

EATING DISORDER

Viewers are having some serious reservations about The Restaurant. The new season kicked off Monday night with just 6.7 million customers. Someone better give Mama a hug. In other ratings news, as expected, The Apprentice ranked as last week's top show among total viewers and adults 18-49. Someone better give Les Moonves a hug. read more

GAME ON

Steven Spielberg will produce and direct a feature film that focuses on the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, which was marred by the death of Israeli athletes at the hands of Palestinian extremists. According to Variety, Spielberg has tapped his Schindler's List star Ben Kingsley for a role. read more

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Will & Grace's Debra Messing and hubby Daniel Zelman have settled on a moniker for their newborn son, and it sounds a lot like a character from Days of Our Lives. The lil' tyke's name? Roman Walker Zelman. Friends and family will refer to him simply as John Black. read more

CABIN FEVER

To mark United Airlines' new partnership with Sony's new Connect Online Music Service, Sheryl Crow will perform a 40-minute set on board a United flight from Chicago to Los Angeles on May 4. Bob Guiney, meanwhile, is in talks to headline in coach. read more

BAUBLES FOR BEARS

Animal-rights crusader Kim Basinger sold her 3.7-carat diamond engagement ring from ex-husband Alec Baldwin at auction Tuesday for $59,750. The proceeds will benefit the Performing Animal Welfare Society, a California refuge for abused, retired and surplus elephants, lions, bears and other captive wildlife. So, who scored the winning bid? A Beverly Hills jewelry dealer, who predicted a fan would "pay crazy money for that." That's the spirit. read more

EMERGENCY!

ABC's Kingdom Hospital has claimed another victim: Susan Lyne has stepped down as the network's entertainment president. The move comes two weeks after Lloyd Braun exited his post as network chairman, four weeks after Kingdom Hospital was put on life support, six months after the arrival of It's All Relative and more than a year since Are You Hot? crashed and burned. So, who's minding the store now? Touchstone Television president Stephen McPherson, who, according to sources, never saw eye-to-eye with Lyne. "He was not an advocate of hers," one former network exec tells my colleague, Stephen Battaglio. "She was not going to work for him. They were not close." read more

DEEPER AND DEEPER IN DEBT

Madonna's Maverick Records label, home to Madge as well as Alanis Morissette and Michelle Branch, has lost $66 million since 1999, according to court documents filed by longtime partner Warner Music Group. Last month, Maverick sued Warner for $200 million, claiming breach of contract and fraud. read more

LACKING PASSION

It looks like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ won't play on the Big Four networks after all. According to The Associated Press, ABC has turned down an offer to air the graphic film, and CBS, NBC and Fox are expected to follow suit. As previously reported, Gibson is demanding that the film run in its entirety, meaning completely unedited, and be followed by 1990's Bird on a Wire. That joke just never gets old. read more

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