Today's News: Our Take


GET YOUR GAME FACE ON

ESPN is developing an American Idol-esque reality series in which aspiring sportscasters will compete for a one-year gig as a SportsCenter anchor. Contestants on Dream Job will compete in four categories: play-by-play, sideline reporting, one-on-one interviews and SportsCenter highlight voice-overs. read more

HE'S IN THE MONEY

Who says military pay stinks? Not JAG star David James Elliott, who just signed on for another two seasons of his hit CBS drama in a deal worth a reported $13 million. According to Variety, Elliott will pocket $300,000 per episode under the terms of the new pact, up from $200,000. In the new issue of TV Guide magazine, on sale Monday, CBS president Les Moonves said he was holding off on renewing the Navy saga for an eighth season until Elliot's deal was in place. Not that he ever had any doubts. "You can bet big money it will be back," he said, adding, "With David." read more

The Scoop on That '70s Movie


The '70s are remembered for many things: crazy fashions, political scandals, psychedelic rock 'n' roll and, oh yeah, great movies. From The French Connection to Star Wars, Dog Day Afternoon to Apocalypse Now, it was an era overflowing with classic films made by and starring larger-than-life personalities. They (and their movies) are the subjects of IFC's new documentary A Decade Under the Influence, which opens theatrically in select cities today.

Co-directed by Richard LaGravenese and the late Ted Demme, who previously collaborated on 1994's cult Christmas comedy, The Ref, Influence features memorable clips from a myriad of '70s films and new interviews with such screen legends as Francis Ford Coppola, Julie Christie and Robert Towne. "There were some people we couldn't get who I wish we had gotten," LaGravenese confesses to TV Guide Online. "Warren Beatty, Spielberg, read more

NOTHING COMPARES TO RETIREMENT

Sinead O'Connor announced on Thursday that she's quitting the music business in July to "pursue a different career." In a message posted on a fansite, the Irish singer says she wants to seek a normal life out of the spotlight. We hear actor-turned-cobbler Daniel Day-Lewis is looking for an assistant. read more

O.J. UPDATE

O.J. Simpson is denying reports that he will star in his own reality series, although he says he would consider becoming a news commentator during Robert Blake's murder trial. And if that doesn't pan out, he's going to get very angry. read more

OOPSIE

The closed captioning on a recent edition of ABC's World News Tonight erroneously reported that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan — who's currently being treated for an enlarged prostate — was hospitalized for an "enlarged prostitute." Interest rates remained flat on the news. read more

PLAY IT AGAIN

Former Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon is reprising his most famous role: that of second banana. In next week's TV Guide magazine, columnist Michael Ausiello — hey, that's me! — reports that Jimmy Kimmel has tapped McMahon to guest-cohost his ABC talk show the week of May 19. read more

Eloise Star a Real Dr. Dolittle


Don't misunderstand Sofia Vassilieva. The 10-year-old is pleased as punch that, come Sunday evening at 7 ET, avid readers like herself will be glued to their TVs to watch her play the title role in ABC's Wonderful World of Disney adaptation of Eloise at the Plaza, Kay Thompson's beloved book about a matchmaking moppet and her lovelorn nanny (Julie Andrews). But right now, the proud owner of one dog, one cat, "approximately" 27 snails and two worms has a slightly more pressing concern.

"I don't know where my slug is at the moment," she informs TV Guide Online, covering her worry with an infectious laugh. "I had a slug this morning. I think he's somewhere around my backyard."

Ah, such is the life of this rising starlet, a prodigious linguist (she's fluent in both French and Russian) who is quick to reveal that adventure follows her almost as closely as it does Eloise. Even activities that might make us yawn can make her gasp and read more

IS SHE OR ISN'T SHE?

Rumors are swirling that Friends star Courteney Cox, 38, is expecting her first child with hubby David Arquette, 31. The New York Daily News reports that the actress could already be three months along. read more

Matt Dillon Sees Ghosts


Back in 1983, The Outsiders made Matt Dillon a star. Now it's 20 years later, and the movie's recent DVD release has him nostalgic about his bad-boy turn as Dallas Winston. Well, maybe Dillon's wistful smile is less about the role than the recollection of his self-important youth. Like many young Hollywood hotties, he bristled at the word "hunk."

"When I was younger, I remember I didn't like that," the 39-year-old Dillon tells TV Guide Online. "I felt it would undermine what I was doing as an actor and trivialize it. That's the feeling I had. But now, it doesn't really bother me if people are attracted to me in films. It could be a whole lot worse. Beats a sharp stick in the eye!"

So why don't we see more of him sans shirt in his new indie film, City of Ghosts (opening today)? "I think I look pretty good in the movie," grins the brown-eyed idol. "Maybe we'll have more shirtless scenes in another picture."

City of Ghosts &# read more

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