Today's News: Our Take


NEXT STOP, OSCAR?

Peter Jackson inched closer to Oscar glory this weekend when the Directors Guild of America honored the filmmaker with its top prize for Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Only six times in the past 56 years has the the DGA victor not gone on to win the best director Oscar. In other kudos news, Finding Nemo picked up nine Annie Awards, which recognize the best in animation. Included in the film's haul: An acting win for Ellen DeGeneres, who voiced the absent-minded Dory. read more

GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL!

Diana Ross was convicted Monday of DUI and ordered to spend two days in jail before March 9. She was also sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation. Arizona police arrested the 59-year-old R&B diva back in 2002 after she was caught driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit. She pleaded no contest to a charge of drunk driving. read more

WHERE WAS JANET?

You've heard of Boobygate. Now, get ready for Grammygate! The plot behind Janet Jackson's Grammy no-show thickened Sunday when CBS released a statement saying that the singer-stripper and her Super Bowl boy-toy were both invited to attend last night's Grammy Awards — under one condition. "Ms. Jackson and Mr. Timberlake were invited to participate in the show as long as they agreed to apologize on the air for what happened during the halftime Show," the network said. "Ms. Jackson declined the invitation. Mr. Timberlake accepted." But to ensure that Janet's presence was felt, Justin talked his mom into showing up virtually topless. read more

A CUT ABOVE

In case you missed Queen Latifah's shameless box office reports during last night's Grammys, Barbershop 2: Back in Business opened at No. 1 over the weekend. The ensemble comedy grossed $25.1 million — that's $4 million better than the first Barbershop took in two years ago. The hockey flick Miracle also scored with a strong $19.4 million opening. And buoyed by Charlize Theron's Oscar-nominated performance, Monster entered the top 10 for the first time. The dark drama earned $3.5 million, tying at No. 6 with Mystic River. read more

BACK TO BUSINESS

NBC has ordered a second season of Donald Trump's The Apprentice. However, the network is still mum on whether the surprise reality hit will stay in its plum Thursday time slot next fall. "We haven't decided where we're gonna put it," says an NBC rep. "We're not prepared to announce that yet." read more

IT'S NOBODY'S FAULT

Andy Roddick's much-hyped TV debut is facing sudden death. As reported in the new issue of TV Guide magazine, the tennis ace has backed out of The Tour, the upcoming reality show that was to shadow him this summer as he dealt with fame, fortune and significant other Mandy Moore. "Andy wanted to focus all of his energy on being the No. 1 player in the world," says Tour creator Craig H. Shepherd, who has tapped another "well-known American" sports stud — James Blake — to hold court in his place. Although The Tour has yet to find a home, Shepherd says several major networks have expressed interest. read more

NEW LEASE ON LIFE

Fox has given the go-ahead for a second edition of The Simple Life, to debut in May. This time around, Paris and Nicole will embark on a cross-country trip in a Winnebago. "[They'll] travel from town to town and go from family to family," says Fox reality exec Mike Darnell. "The show can be a different experience in every episode." But just to be safe, word is Paris plans to exercise the "If my RV's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'" option in her contract. read more

BATMAN RETURNS

The WB is giving its Batman franchise the Smallville treatment. This fall, Kids WB will launch The Batman, a new animated series about the Dark Knight's early years. The new 'toon — which will feature a twentysomething Caped Crusader — promises to "go back to the comic-book origins of this character," says Kids WB vice president John Hardman. For a First Look at the 'toon, pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale now). Well, what are you waiting for? Be on your way. read more

Sunday E!'s Live From the Red...

Sunday

E!'s Live From the Red Carpet
Apparently, it takes a village to prep Joan Rivers for her award show ramblings. And a harem of blonds to get Hugh Hefner down this year's oddly green carpet. Mr. Playboy had eight dates for the night. Eight! And one of them had the nerve to get snappy when Joan asked how they decided who would wear which dress. "We do have minds of our own," the bimbette said. Uh-huh. Yeah. Right.

Premios Furia
I turned from Joan putting her foot in her mouth by asking Bootsy Collins why he was wearing the same outfit again this year just in time to see Lupillo Rivera walk down the red carpet with a full marching band behind him. Banda music kills me. Each group always seems to have a dozen guys wearing the same thing. And the accordion player always gets the biggest applause. Talk about a cultural divide. Later in this 10th anniversary broadcast, Mr. Rivera came on stage to lip-synch " read more

Tammy Faye's Surreal Deal

For 35 years, she was the first lady of Christian TV. But in 1989, Tammy Faye Bakker fell from grace when her husband, James, was jailed for misappropriating $158 million from his ministry. But that's the past. It's Tammy Faye Messner now. (She married millionaire church builder Roe Messner in 1993.) And she can be found in the place where has-beens look for celebrity salvation, WB's Surreal Life. For its second season, the reality show put a Baywatch babe, a fallen rap star, a porn star, a Real World grad and CHiPs' Erik Estrada in the same house with the matronly minister and dared them all to make like family.

TV Guide Online: How does a televangelist end up living with a porn star?
Messner:
The producers begged. [Laughs] And we weren't told who was going to be there. I'd alread read more

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