Today's News: Our Take


American Idol host Ryan Seacrest is officially the busiest guy in showbiz. Seacrest — whose daytime talk show launches next month — will replace radio icon Casey Kasem as host of American Top 40 beginning Jan. 10. Kasem, meanwhile, isn't going into retirement just yet. He'll continue hosting American Top 20 for adult contemporary stations around the country. read more

60 Minutes II Wow. Now I know...

60 Minutes II
Wow. Now I know why this little franchise has been around for, like, 100 years. It's a newspaper for lazy people. And just as unsettling. That piece on the cancers afflicting employees at IBM broke my heart. So many lives could have been spared if only the bigwigs had heeded the warnings about the chemicals they used. It's sickening and I am with every one of the civil-action participants. You sue their asses off, people. It won't undo the damage — but it might stop any more from being inflicted.

Billboard Music Awards
These things are so not about the awards, especially since this big old pat-on-the-back-fest is based on record sales anyway. No, they're about fashion and freaks. And we got a load of both when Celine Dion showed up to present 50 Cent with Artist of the Year. Honey, get help! You're starting to look like '70s porn icon Seka, OK? Sting receiving the Century Award all but read more


It's the end of an era in kiddie porn. Abercrombie & Fitch announced Tuesday that it would retire its controversial quarterly catalog, which regularly draws protests for its R-rated layouts featuring young men and women engaged in foreplay with assorted fleece. In a statement, the company said "it is time for new thinking," adding that it "looks forward to unveiling an innovative and exciting campaign in the spring" that will generate no interest whatsoever. read more


Dawson's Creek babe Katie Holmes is in talks to play the female lead in Warner Bros.' new Batman flick, which stars Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader. Holmes would play Batman's love interest, Rachel. read more


Survivor guru Mark Burnett is developing a reality series for Fox that will focus on the relaunch of Las Vegas' famed downtown Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. The show is slated to debut this summer. read more

Colin Firth Plays Dress Up

In the new film Girl With a Pearl Earring (opening Dec. 12), Colin Firth wears '60s-style fashions — the 1660s, that is — for his role as Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. You may recall that in Love Actually, he looked shabby chic — here, he's just plain shabby! Apart from wardrobe, though, he says there's very little difference between making modern films and period pieces.

"I don't pay much attention to what the period is," the 43-year-old British actor says. "I find that a story is a story, and that the when of when it's set is a convention that's been provided just to tell a story in a particular way."

In fact, Firth is not even sure what defines a film as a period piece — much to his mother's dismay. "I don't know when 'period' starts," he admits. "I did a read more

Johnny Depp's Secret Admirer

Since it stands to reason that the PYTs of Fox's The O.C. top most of America's most-wanted boy- and girlfriends lists, you'd think that the cast could get anyone and everyone they fancy. But it ain't necessarily so, Rachel Bilson sadly informs TV Guide Online. "My crushes are kind of like out of reach... unless you can tell Johnny Depp to forget the girlfriend and the kid!"

Consider the Pirates of the Caribbean star's booty officially called, Rachel! In the meantime, the 22-year-old cutie can content herself with the knowledge that, wish though she may to be meeting Gilbert Grape, she already has a beau of her own. "I am involved at the moment," she confides. "And he's not in [show] business, which is a blessing."

"He thinks [my job is] kind of cool," she adds, amused. read more

Sean Astin: Happy Hobbit

Sean Astin is a drifter who chats with God in Jeremiah, his post-apocalyptic Showtime series co-starring Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. It's perfect casting for the actor/director who, after all, had already spent years toiling in the New Zealand fields of the Lord — the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that is! In fact, the filming took so long, Astin — who plays Frodo's hobbit aide-de-camp Samwise Gamgee — says he had his own "spiritual epiphanies." (As any self-respecting fan knows, the final chapter of the fantasy series, The Return of the King, opens Dec. 17.)

Given his post-Rings weight loss of 40 pounds, Astin hopes for more leading roles. Still, he calls his tubby hobbit "the single best supporting read more


Adam Sandler is producing a comedy series for the WB described as a modern-day Laverne & Shirley with an Absolutely Fabulous sensibility to it. It would star Chicago-based comics Dana Goodman and Julia Wolov, whose raunchy act at the 2002 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen caught Sandler's eye. read more


Former Party of Fiver Neve Campbell is poised to play silent-film star-turned-elusive actress Louise Brooks in an upcoming big screen biopic. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress purchased Peter Nickowitz and Bill Oliver's screenplay Lulu as an acting vehicle for herself. There's just one problem with this: If Julia can't speak, who's gonna tell Bailey that Owen's hurt next time he falls off the wagon? This is gonna bug me all day. read more

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