Today's News: Our Take


FREE RUBEN

American Idol champ Ruben Studdard is apparently throwing his weight behind a new cause: higher taxes. The Velvet Teddy Bear will perform two free concerts in his native Alabama on Sept. 2 and 5 to help promote Republican Gov. Bob Riley's tax increase proposals. In related news, AI runner-up Clay Aiken will perform his hit single "This Is the Night" at the Sept. 20 Miss America pageant. read more

NOT SO FAR FROM HEAVEN

Oscar-nominated actress Julianne Moore and her longtime beau, film director Bart Fruendlich, tied the knot Saturday night in New York City, E! reports. read more

BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BE AN ACTOR

Rocker Dave Matthews is in talks to make his feature film debut in the Wayne Wang-directed dramedy Because of Winn-Dixie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Dave Matthews Band frontman would play a drifter who is befriended by a 10-year-old girl. read more

THE EYES HAVE IT

Former Fastlane scribe John McNamara has inked a deal with ABC to produce a drama pilot that revolves around a 21st century detective agency. Titled Eyes, the potential series is being described by Variety as a corporate thriller about a risk management firm that operates along the fringes of the law in order to affect the outcome of a host of civil and criminal matters. I'm lost already. read more

THIS IS GETTING UGLY

The salary dispute between Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett and CBS is now officially out of control. The Emmy winner failed to show up for work today, forcing producers to write his character Robert out of the show's second episode. Garrett — who is refusing to report to the set until he gets a raise — had already been written out of the show's season premiere. "Brad isn't in the second episode, which is in production as scheduled," CBS spokesman Chris Ender tells TV Guide Online. Translation: Les Moonves is on the warpath! read more

LOVE AND LIES

Courtney Love's mother Linda Carroll is denying reports that her rock-star offspring is Marlon Brando's granddaughter. Last week, a London tabloid reported that Carroll's upcoming memoir claimed Brando was Love's grandfather by virtue of a brief liaison with Carroll's mother, novelist Paula Fox. "First of all, it's crazy, it's not true," Carroll told the Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette-Times. "Second of all, my book doesn't say that." Third of all, why the heck is she writing a book? read more

BATTLE WON?

In other box office news, the players behind HBO's latest Project Greenlight saga have something new to bicker about this morning: whether or not their film had a successful opening weekend. The Battle of Shaker Heights grossed $52,000 in five theaters in Los Angeles and New York over the weekend. That puts the movie's per-screen-average at $10,400 — a decent tally but well below Miramax's initial $20,000 per-venue mandate. Regardless, the indie is slated to expand to eight other cities next week. In the meantime, smarmy producer Chris Moore will continue to talk smack about amateur directors Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle — but not to their faces, of course. read more

COLD CASTING

Actor Danny Pino, best known for his portrayal of Desi Arnaz in CBS's recent Lucy telepic, has joined the cast of CBS's upcoming homicide drama Cold Case. Pino will play the partner of series star Kathryn Morris. He'll debut in the show's sixth episode. read more

JUST DESSERTS

Singer Bobby Brown was arrested Friday on a probation violation while he was enjoying a romantic dinner with wife Whitney Houston at an Atlanta-area restaurant. Police reportedly received an anonymous tip that the couple were dining at the Atlantic Seafood Co. in Alpharetta, Ga. It's a good thing the duo didn't go with their first choice: Red Lobster. read more

Jake Robo-Nerd Suffers for His Part


Tackling the lead in UPN's Jake 2.0 (airing Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET beginning Sept. 10) would make most actors wish they possessed the title character's technologically enhanced super-brains and brawn. But former Popular pushover Christopher Gorham needs only his own adrenaline to keep up with the physically demanding role of a government drone who, through a freak accident, is transformed into a top-secret agent.

"I really thrive in this environment," the wannabe action hero says happily. "I don't feel like there's a lot of pressure on me [to carry the series], because I have this great team behind me that's creating this show, [so] I just kind of have to show up and do my job."

Gorham sure makes it sound easy. But in fact, despite his status as an almost-famous Hollywood climber, he was hesitant to accept the steady gig. The hold-up? The makers of Jake initially wanted to shoot in Toronto, where their chosen one had jus read more

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