Today's News: Our Take


IDOL SHOWDOWN

American Idol champ Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken are going head-to-head again — this time on the album charts. RCA plans to release both of their upcoming as-yet-untitled albums on the same day, Aug. 19, Billboard.com reports. If single sales are any indication, Aiken will likely come out on top; his "Bridge Over Troubled Water" trumped Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" 393,000 copies to 287,000 copies. read more

SPIKED AGAIN

Egocentric filmmaker Spike Lee scored another victory over Spike TV. On Thursday, New York's State Supreme Court upheld an injunction preventing Viacom from renaming its TNN cable network Spike TV. The name change was slated to go into effect on June 16, but for now, the cabler remains TNN. Viacom vows it will appeal. read more

MAGICAL DAY

Aspiring wizards, start your broomsticks! Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the long-awaited fifth book in the kid wizard series, arrives in bookstores at midnight tonight amid very enthusiastic reviews. "It was worth the wait," raves The Associated Press, a sentiment shared by USA Today. "The book richly deserves the hype." Meanwhile, author J.K. Rowling is already hard at work on the sixth novel, Scholastic confirms. She hasn't been given a deadline, which means it will likely hit stores in early 2019. read more

NOT SO LUCKY

Oops, Britney Spears's star is fading. The singer failed to make this year's Forbes Top 100 Celebrity List after nabbing the top spot last year. Replacing her at No. 1 is Friends star Jennifer Aniston, who earned $35 million in 2002 and was plastered on more magazine covers than any other celeb. Rappers Eminem and Dr. Dre tied for the No. 2 spot. read more

ABOUT FACE

Fox is having second thoughts about Cedric the Entertainer Presents. The network confirms that it has stopped production on the sketch comedy — just one month after renewing it for a second season. Yet, and here's the confusing part, the show is still returning in the fall. According to the Los Angeles Times, viewers will see original episodes produced last season. The unaired installments will run through December, at which point the show will be put to rest. read more

BABY CROWE

Actress Kate Hudson, 24, and rocker-hubby Chris Robinson are expecting their first child early next year. Curiously, the baby announcement coincides with the release of Hudson's latest romantic comedy, Alex & Emma — which means her publicist is a freakin' genius! read more

THEY'VE ARRIVED!

The news isn't all bad for Britney. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce unveiled its annual list of Hollywood Walk of Fame inductees on Thursday — and Spears made the cut! Other celebs getting the star treatment in 2004: Kevin Costner, Halle Berry, Glenn Close, Anthony Hopkins, John Singleton, Ted Turner, Journey and wonder twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. read more

PLUM PARTS

Renée Zellweger has signed on to star in and produce Piece of My Heart, a big-screen biopic on late rocker Janis Joplin. Filming is expected to get underway in early 2004 after Zellweger wraps the sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary. In other casting news, Angelina Jolie is in talks to play Catherine the Great in Disney's upcoming historical epic Love and Honor. read more

GO LUTHER!

As a hospitalized Luther Vandross recovers from his stroke, sympathetic fans are busy pumping up his music sales. His new Dance with My Father album debuted at No. 1, selling more than 440,000 copies in its first week. This is the first No. 1 debut in the singer's entire career. read more

PAMELA SPEAKS!

The buzz in Hollywood is that the fairytale romance between Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock is on the, um, rocks. But during an interview with yours truly Wednesday, Anderson — who declined to answer any Rock-related questions — seemed to cast some doubt about those very rumors. "I feel like I'm in a great spot," she told TV Guide Online. "I'm getting along with all of the men in my life. I feel good. I feel like this is where I should be. When things are all in drama and turmoil you realize that you're not in the right place, but right now, I feel really good." read more

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