Today's News: Our Take


ANGELS CENSORED

NBC performed a little nip/tuck on a scene from tonight's unauthorized Charlie's Angels telepic after Farrah Fawcett's ex-manager complained. Jay Bernstein reportedly threatened legal action if the closing scene — which featured a paunchy, Hawaiian-shirted version of Bernstein on Hollywood Boulevard, hustling a blond in his search for the next Farrah — was not removed. NBC insists the sequence was cut for artistic reasons. The new ending will update viewers on what happened to Farrah, Kate and Jaclyn, which just seems cruel. read more

DEAD ALIVE ON USA

In what's being billed as a "first-time-ever motion picture and television event," USA Network will air the first 10 minutes of the upcoming R-rated Dawn of the Dead remake sometime between 10 and 10:30 pm/ET on March 15. You can see the rest of the film four days later when it debuts in theaters. read more

SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ grossed another $51.4 million over the weekend to remain atop the box office for a second-consecutive week. The film — which dropped only 38 percent from its record debut last weekend — has taken in $212 million in just 12 days. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's Starsky & Hutch update opened in second place with a strong $29 million, while Viggo Mortensen's Hidalgo bowed at No. 3 with nearly $20 million. Meanwhile, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, buoyed by its Oscar sweep, returned to the top 10 at No. 7 with $3.2 million — $368.3 million to date. read more

CSI WANTS YOU!

CBS is courting big-screen vet Gary Sinise to headline CSI: New York, the latest spin-off of the network's killer forensics franchise. As reported in the new issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale today), the Oscar-nominated Forrest Gump costar has yet to sign a deal, but "he had a great couple of meetings with [show runner] Anthony Zuiker," confirms a source within Sinise's camp, who adds that although the actor has some reservations about committing to a long-term TV gig, "he likes [the prospect] of being able to spend more time with his kids while they are growing up." Another aspect of the gig that probably doesn't suck much: The cash. read more

NO LAUGHING MATTER

Last Comic Standing judge Drew Carey is accusing NBC of being "crooked and dishonest" in selecting the reality show's next batch of contestants. During last month's Vegas-based semifinals round, Carey claims the input of the judges in selecting the final 10 comics was discounted in favor of Peacock execs and the show's producers — a fact NBC won't deny. "The casting decisions were made by NBC and NBC Studios in consultation with talent scouts and we appreciate their valuable input," NBC said in a statement. "Now that the 10 participants have been selected, the program will begin." read more

HER GOOSE IS COOKED

Viacom has stuck a fork in Martha Stewart's syndicated series, Martha Stewart Living, in the wake of the domestic diva's conviction Friday for obstruction of justice. read more

BUSTED

Singer David Crosby was arrested on marijuana and gun possession charges early Saturday in New York City after an ounce of pot, a 45-caliber handgun and a knife were found in his Times Square hotel room. He was released on $3,500 bail and is due in court on May 19. He faces up to seven years on the gun charge if convicted. So, if you're a lesbian looking to get artificially inseminated by the 62-year-old musician, hurry up. read more

BUFFY SPEAKS!

Former Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar has not ruled out making a guest appearance on Angel's upcoming series finale. "I go back and forth on the idea, especially because Angel had such a hard time, in my opinion, getting out from Buffy's shadow," she tells SCI FI Wire. "And it never got to stand on its own. And I would hate for it to go out being about Buffy." One key factor sure to impact her decision: Gellar, currently in Tokyo shooting the horror film The Grudge, might not be home in time for Angel's last stand. What's more, the erstwhile Chosen One claims no one has approached her — which sounds a little shady considering what Joss Whedon told me last month. read more

HE SIGNED, HE SIGNED

In a major victory for crappy singers everywhere, American Idol misfit William Hung has officially signed a record deal with Fuse Music Network and Koch Records. The 21-year-old Hong Kong native's debut CD, featuring his signature tune "She Bangs" as well as a cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man," is due in stores on April 6. The disc will also include a 40-minute DVD with behind-the-scenes footage from his studio recording sessions and fan questions and answers. "He may not be the next American Idol," says Fuse president Marc Juris, "but he is definitely a star and inspiration to everyone who sings in the shower." read more

IMAGE IS EVERYTHING

Ailing R&B singer Luther Vandross was the big winner at Saturday's NAACP Image Awards, picking up four trophies including best male artist, best music video, best song and best album for Dance with My Father. Vandross, who is still recovering from a stroke, did not attend the ceremony. Other winners included The Fighting Temptations for best movie, The Bernie Mac Show for best TV comedy and Ruben Studdard for best new artist. read more

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