Today's News: Our Take


LIVE WITH CONDOLEEZZA

ABC, CBS and NBC will cut into regular programming Thursday beginning at 9 am/ET for live coverage of Condoleezza Rice's highly anticipated testimony before the Sept. 11 commission. Rice's appearance could last nearly three hours, so that means Regis and Kelly, the ladies of The View, Ellen DeGeneres and Bob Barker will likely have the day off. Everyone else should report to work as usual but plan on getting nothing done between 9 am and noon. read more

Frasier Quote of the Night: "Maybe...

Frasier
Quote of the Night:
"Maybe it's just as well. I'm lactose intolerant." — Jennifer Tilly's exit line to Kelsey Grammer at the conclusion of their unsuccessful date.

I love that wacky Jen Tilly (and her silly voice) in anything she does. Especially liked her better than Laura Linney, whose character has fortunately called it quits with Frasier, too. Didn't like them together. Oscar nominee or no, I catch Linney "acting" too often, so that it feels too much like you're watching a really earnest thespian practicing her craft in a play. It doesn't feel real. Then again, I'm watching a sitcom, so what the heck do I expect?

American Idol
Random thoughts on this week's Elton John-themed AI performance episode:

1. There are two guys in Hollywood who can pull off stylish scruff well: George Michael and me. Ryan Seacrest, on the other hand, n read more

END QUOTE

"Rufus went over and p----d on the TV." — My brother David on his yellow Lab's reaction to Camile Velasco's ghastly cover of Elton John's "Yellow Brick Road" on last night's American Idol. read more

SCRUBBING UP

Once & Again grad Shane West will join the cast of ER next season as a medical intern. In other casting news, Scottish thesp Alec Newman (Children of Dune) has been tapped to play Barnabas Collins in the WB's Dark Shadows remake. read more

MISS MATCH

Miss USA Susie Castillo — who is no relation to Santa Barbara's Cruz Castillo — became engaged to longtime boyfriend Matthew Leslie on Monday's On-Air with Ryan Seacrest. Leslie shocked Castillo when he got down on bended knee during the show and presented her with a diamond-and-pink-sapphire ring. "Everybody started screaming," Castillo told The Associated Press. "All the 51 Miss USA delegates were right behind us. They were crying. I was shaking." read more

SPICY STUFF

Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) is insisting that her marriage to soccer stud David Beckham will survive despite allegations that he had an affair with his personal assistant. Over the weekend, a British tabloid published sexually explicit text messages allegedly sent between Beckham and Rebecca Loos. "We have been through a lot worse than this," Victoria told The Sun, apparently referring to 1997's Spice World, "and we're definitely going to get through this." read more

Bachelor QB Off the Bench


If what he says is true, and he has only seen a handful of episodes of ABC's The Bachelor, then New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer is, scarily, a natural to succeed kissing bandit Bob Guiney in the reality-TV "rose bowl" (starting tomorrow at 9 pm/ET). "There are a couple of hot-tub scenes," the muscle-bound 25-year-old readily admits. "I'll probably get a couple [of phone calls about them from my mother... but] I'm not going to ask for her opinion, I'll tell you that!"

Luckily, the affable hunk, who lists a nice rump among the qualities he most admires in a woman, didn't need Mom's input on his selection of a mate. This go-round, a close friend of his is pulling a Jennifer Garner in the ladies' house. "As soon as the idea came up [to employ a spy], I jumped all over it. I thought it was a great idea," he says. "I think it really, really helped me with some of the tougher decisions."

Isn't that romant read more

JOY RIDE

A Tennessee trucker responsible for transporting crew and equipment for Britney Spears' concert tour led cops on a high-speed chase through New Hampshire Monday after he was clocked going 78 mph in a 65-mph zone. After a 10-mile pursuit, Rusty Nail, er, David Raines was pulled over, arrested and ordered to appear in court later that day for an arraignment — an order he apparently ignored. He was probably out looking for his beloved Candy Cane. read more

Survivor's Jerri Sounds Off

Survivor's Most Valuable Villainess, Jerri Manthey, entered All-Stars a changed woman — and it showed. Save for a few anti-Colby outbursts, the 33-year-old Surreal Life grad was a shockingly low-key version of the cunning predator she "played" on Australian Outback. But in the end, the good-girl routine brought her no closer to landing the $1-million grand prize. (There's a lesson in there somewhere... ) Anyway, TV Guide Online caught up with Jerri following her ouster Thursday night and grilled her about Colby, that startling 'tude makeover and her new role as musician.

TV Guide Online: Was the softer Jerri just a game plan?
Jerri Manthey:
It definitely was part of my strategy to keep my mouth shut. Basically, it was coming from the way I was perceived [on Outback] and the harsh feedback I got from the public. But because of that experience, a lot of things in my life changed. I was kind of a controlling person an read more

Jessica's Sis Gets Real


Brace yourselves: Another Simpson is about to get the MTV-reality treatment. As previously reported, Jessica's 19-year-old actress sis, Ashlee — who plays Cecilia on WB's 7th Heaven — has landed a six-episode series that will chronicle the writing and recording of her as-yet-untitled debut rock album.

Premiering in June, Ashlee was pitched to MTV by manager dad Joe Simpson, who saw it as an opportunity for the actress-singer to break out of her famous older sister's shadow. "I knew people were going to say she got her record deal just because she's Jessica's sister," he says. "I wanted people to see Ashlee's the real deal."

While the cable network bit, Ashlee herself proved a tougher sell. "I was sort of anti-reality because my sister has her show," the younger Simpson admits. "But it's cool because it's the first time people will really get to see the real me."

read more

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