Today's News: Our Take


TAKE A BOW

Tonight at 8 pm, the lights will be dimmed in Broadway theaters in honor of Katharine Hepburn's passing. On the TV front, Turner Classic Movies plans its own Hepburn tribute on July 10. Starting at 6 am, TCM will air 24 hours' worth of the late, great actress's films, including Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter and The Philadelphia Story. For our tribute to Hepburn, click here. read more

LEGALLY BARRED

What's the first rule of PR 101? When hosting a movie premiere, do not — I repeat, do not — prevent the media from mingling with the film's stars. At last night's Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde world premiere after-party at Christies in New York, security guards barred hundreds of guests — including yours truly — from entering a room populated by Reese Witherspoon and Co. (They claimed the room was filled to capacity. Lies!!) I did manage to get co-star Sally Field to comment on a possible ER return this season. "I don't think so," she said, pausing thoughtfully. "I loved it, but... I don't think so." Sounds like Norma Rae didn't really, really love it. read more

Scoop! Ruben/Clay Rematch Scratched


The latest showdown between American Idol champ Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken has been called off. RCA is reversing an earlier decision to release the duo's debut albums simultaneously on Aug. 19. "They're not going to come out on the same day," an RCA spokesperson tells TV Guide Online. "They're going to be spaced apart."

The about-face represents a change of strategy at the record company, which was attempting to capitalize on the controversy surrounding Idol's photo finish in May by once again pitting the superstar crooners against each other — this time in record stores. As RCA Music Group's Director of Sales Karen Lieberman recently said, "We saw the releases as a way for consumers to vote with their money." (Geez, so much for subtlety.)

The first rematch was held last month on the singles charts, when Aiken's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" outsold Studdard's "Flyin read more

Will The Sopranos Go For Seven?


Now that Sopranos kingpin David Chase has agreed to produce a sixth season of the HBO series (Season Five debuts in early 2004), mob mentality has set in: Greedy fans are already buzzing about the possibility of — holy cannoli! — a seventh season with James Gandolfini and Co. Will it happen?

"Definitely not," insists Robert Iler (A.J. Soprano), who learned of the Season Six pact at a "family" sit-down held on the set in early June. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who plays mouthy Meadow Soprano, elaborates: "David told us that he thought he'd be able to finish in five seasons, but he couldn't. So he's doing the extra 10 episodes in the sixth to finish up all the plotlines." While read more

SHORT CUTS

The Fox Movie Channel has opted not to air a summer-long Charlie Chan film festival after the Asian-American community complained that the movies are racially offensive... Low ratings have forced CBS to pull the plug on sitcoms Baby Bob and Charlie Lawrence. read more

FAREWELL, BUDDY

Veteran funnyman Buddy Hackett, the rubbery-faced entertainer who for more than a half century was a main attraction at nightclubs, on Broadway, on TV and in movies such as The Music Man, The Love Bug and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, has died at the age of 78. According to The Associated Press, Hackett died at his Southern California beach house either late Sunday or early Monday. The cause of his death was not immediately known, although Hackett had diabetes. In recent years, Hackett — who was best known to younger audiences as the voice of Scuttle in Disney's The Little Mermaid — made guest appearances on Just Shoot Me, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and The Late Late Show with read more

BE NICE TO THE VALET

Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight was arrested Friday for allegedly punching a parking attendant outside a Los Angeles nightclub on June 21. In addition to being just plain rude, the alleged assault is a possible parole violation. The rap mogul was reportedly bent out of shape because his car wasn't ready fast enough. If Mr. Suge is reading this, here's a hot tip: If you're ever in the Big Apple, do not — I repeat, do not — try and retrieve your car from a parking garage immediately after the Broadway shows let out. You'll be waiting forever. read more

SLATER ALL ALONE

Christian Slater has been tapped to star as supernatural detective Edward Carnby in the video game-turned-feature film Alone in the Dark, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The flick is due out next year in conjunction with a new video game from Atari. In other movie news, Meg Ryan is attached to star in Wedlock, a film about husband and wife divorce lawyers who enlist an unconventional marriage counselor to help repair their troubled union. read more

PEACE PLAN

RCA has called off the latest showdown between American Idol champ Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken. The record company is reversing an earlier decision to release the duo's debut albums simultaneously on Aug. 19. "They're not going to come out on the same day," an RCA spokesperson tells TV Guide Online. "They're going to be spaced apart." For more on this story, click here. read more

LITTLE FEET

Six Feet Under star Rachel Griffiths (Brenda) and her hubby, artist Andrew Taylor, are expecting their first child, Access Hollywood reports. The Aussie couple married last New Year's Eve. There's no word if the pregnancy will be written into SFU, but given what a raging nympho Brenda is, it would hardly be a stretch. read more

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