Today's News: Our Take


Erika Christensen's Perfect Life


In The Perfect Score — now in theaters — Erika Christensen stars as Anna, a high schooler under pressure from her folks to get top marks on the SAT, get admitted to Brown, and live out their fantasy of a perfect life. Happily, the budding actress — best known for her work in Traffic and Swimfan — can't relate much to that whole hassle.

Unlike Anna's demanding 'rents, Christensen's mom and dad sound downright cool, especially when it comes to her chosen career. "When I was 5, they put me in acting," she tells TV Guide Online. "They didn't know that I wanted to do it and they became paranoid that they were being those 'pushy parents.' So they just stopped. Then, when I was about 12, I realized that I did want to [act], and they gave me a little trial period. I did really well and started making money, and they figured, 'Alright, this is a good deal. We can do this.'

"I am fortunate enough to have been raised withou read more

SPLIT DECISION

David Gest claims the National Enquirer ended his marriage to Liza Minnelli. In a Dateline interview airing Friday, Gest says his estranged wife pulled the plug on the union after the tabloid published an article that portrayed her as a raging alcoholic and him as a devoted husband. Gest says his ex was convinced he planted the item. read more

Apprentice's Latest Loser Speaks

He may not have been the most memorable contestant on The Apprentice, but fourth ouster Bowie Hogg has a personality as big as his home state of Texas. Here, he sounds off on his fellow competitors, rationalizes his expulsion, describes his dream woman and answers the show's $1 million question: What happens to the rejects after they get in that cab?

TV Guide Online: Other than a certain legendary rock star, Bowie is a rather unusual name. Is there a story behind it? Bowie Hogg: I was the youngest of four boys — my three older brothers have totally normal names — and I guess with the fourth one they couldn't decide on a name. My birth sticker from the hospital says "Boy Hogg," and they couldn't decide. For two weeks I had no name! And then my brother Jim was playing peek-a-boo as a joke and it stuck.

TVGO: You called Sam a "cancer" in the group. Don't you think that was a bit harsh? Hogg: No, I don't. He and I are actu read more

A Better Show Than Friends?


Maybe you've heard: The NBC juggernaut Friends is coming to an end this year. But we bet you haven't been told why you needn't despair: There's another sitcom all ready to take its place, at least according to Topher Grace, adorable dork Eric Foreman on Fox's That '70s Show.

"I don't think [our period laugher] will replace Friends," the scrawny leading man says, tongue in cheek. "I think it will far, far surpass Friends as the best show ever in the history of the universe. But I don't want to set myself up for a downfall."

Truth be told, we wouldn't be surprised if Grace's smart-ass prediction turned out to be on the money. That '70s Show is on a roll this season, and, with its principals all lined up to continue, it's bound keep on rockin'. For his part, the Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! star still considers himself the luckiest geek alive to have landed the series in the first place.

"I was cast out read more

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Maria Shriver has quit her job at NBC News to focus on her duties as first lady of California. In a statement, Arnold Schwarzenegger's prettier half — who has been on extended leave from the network ever since her hubby announced he was running for governor — said she reached the decision "after much soul-searching... I am proud of the work I have done at NBC News, and I look forward to going back there sometime in the future." read more

AILING

Luther Vandross is too ill to attend Sunday's Grammy Awards, where he's up for five awards including song of the year for "Dance With My Father." Vandross, 52, suffered a severe stroke last April and remains in a wheelchair. read more

THAT'S THE WAY THE LAW GOES

Janet Jackson admits she acted like a boob during Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show. In a statement released Monday night, the Nasty songstress admitted her breast-baring duet with Justin Timberlake was an escapade gone awry. "The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my halftime show performance was made after final rehearsals. MTV was completely unaware of it," she said. "It was not my intention that it go as far as it did. I apologize to anyone offended — including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL." Jackson's camp claims a red lace bra was supposed to remain when Timberlake tore off the black leather bustier. FCC chief Michael Powell, meanwhile, is investigating whether CBS violated any decency laws. (Fines could reach into the millions.) And CBS, which is launching its own probe into breast-gate, is threatening to ban Janet and Justin from Sun read more

FREE PORN

CBS estimates that more than 89 million people saw Janet Jackson flush her career down the toilet Sunday night, making it the most-watched Super Bowl since 1998. But only 33.3 million stuck around for the premiere of Survivor: All Stars. That's off 27 percent from the 45.4 million who watched the post-Bowl debut of Survivor: Australian Outback in 2001. read more

LIFE POST-FRASIER

Departing Frasier star Kelsey Grammer has signed on to headline a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol for NBC. Slated to air in November, the telepic will be based on the Madison Square Garden stage production of the Dickens classic. read more

THE BATTLE HAS BEGUN

Sci Fi Channel is moving forward with plans to turn its recent Battlestar Galactica miniseries into a full-fledged weekly series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network plans to shoot six new episodes to air in late 2004. read more

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