Today's News: Our Take


American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken has topped the list of the Ten Best-Mannered People of 2003, as chosen by the National League of Junior Cotillions. Oprah Winfrey came in second, followed by Gen. Tommy Franks, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and injured surfer Bethany Hamilton. read more


In a surprise move, the traditionally indie-skewing New York Film Critics Circle chose a veritable blockbuster — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King — as the top film of 2003. (The pic sneaks into 2,000 theaters at midnight tonight before officially opening tomorrow.) Bill Murray was named best actor for Lost in Translation and Hope Davis won best actress for American Splendor and The Secret Lives of Dentists. Meanwhile, the New York Film Critics Online and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle singled out Lost in Translation as the year's best movie. read more


Leonard A. Mueller, a senior executive of Inter-Con Security Systems, has been appointed traffic and security chief for the 76th Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 29. Can you tell it's a slow news day? read more


Supermodel Heidi Klum and her Italian boyfriend Flavio Briatore are expecting their first child in the spring, reports the New York Daily News. read more


Ozzy Osbourne is once again breathing on his own, but wife Sharon tells Britain's ITV television that it would be "probably about six months" before her husband is back to his old cussing self following last week's quad bike accident. "But he will be back, he's not going anywhere," she added. "He'll be ordering everybody around, don't worry." read more


Late Night with Conan O'Brien is heading to Toronto in mid-February to shoot a week's worth of episodes. Local officials are hoping the exposure will revive tourism, which has slumped in the wake of the SARS outbreak. read more


A judge gave convicted shoplifter Winona Ryder high marks for abiding by the rules of her probation at a hearing Monday in Los Angeles. If she keeps it up, there's talk her felony convictions could be reduced to misdemeanors. Ryder's next progress report hearing is slated for May 26. read more


Robin Williams entertained American and Australian troops at the Baghdad International Airport on Tuesday during a U.S. military show that also featured actress Shannon Tweed, wrestler Kurt Angle and stock car driver Mike Wallace. "I'm looking at a group of heavily armed people here," Williams joked. "I'm telling myself, 'If you're not funny, it's a problem.'" read more


Roughly 25.4 million people watched Sunday's Survivor: Pearl Islands finale, making it the show's most-watched climax since Survivor: Marquesas in May 2002.... The WB has picked up freshman variety show Steve Harvey's Big Time for a full season.... Luther Vandross, who continues to recover from his stroke, is hoping to attend the Feb. 8 Grammys; the singer is up for five awards. read more

Antiques Roadshow Starting tonight,...

Antiques Roadshow
Starting tonight, the "your junk might be a treasure" show sets up shop in Indianapolis — my hometown — for the next three weeks. Hoosiers in the house!

Fear Factor
You know you're a Fear Factor junkie when...
1. You can watch a guy wash down reindeer testicles with rancid egg nog and, instead of gagging, you think, "God, he's cute."
2. Pain-in-the-butt host Joe Rogan says, "I never cease to be amazed by what you freaks will eat." And you agree. Delightfully.
3. You see the set-up for the $50,000 underwater elimination stunt and recognize it from the Super Bowl Playboy Playmate episode.

Look at Maya looking out for ex-husband Darnell. (How sweet!) And look at Joan going all caroling Nazi. (How annoying.)

Half & Half
No she didn't! After Dee Dee's ex announced — right before Christmas dinner — t read more

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