Today's News: Our Take


TIME CHECK

Fox's 24 kicked off its third season Tuesday night with 11.6 million viewers. Although the real-time drama was down slightly from last year, it still managed to lead the hour among adults 18-49 (tied with ABC's combo of According to Jim and Less Than Perfect). Ironically, the night's big winner was a lovable loser named Charlie Brown. ABC's telecast of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown attracted 13.2 million and scored the best kids rating for a broadcast program since Fox's finale of American Idol last May. Way to go, Chuck! read more

HE'S STILL THE MAN

Speaking of American Idol, Clay Aiken's debut album Measure of a Man held on to the top spot on Billboard's album chart despite suffering a 64 percent dip in sales. Measure sold 225,000 for a two-week total of 838,000. Rod Stewart's As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook Part II entered the chart at No. 2 with sales of 212,000 copies. read more

HEAVEN CAN'T WAIT

Director Ridley Scott has tapped Orlando Bloom to star in the Gladiator-esque epic Kingdom of Heaven, Variety reports. The Lord of the Rings star will play a peasant who becomes a knight, saves a kingdom and falls in love with a princess (big deal) in the film, which takes place during the 12th century. read more

SPLITSVILLE

It's official: The six-year union between British thesps Jude Law and Sadie Frost is over. London's High Court finalized the couple's divorce Wednesday. According to court papers, Frost blamed her hubby for exacerbating her postpartum depression following the birth of their third child in January. No further details were given. read more

PUBLIC PERFORMANCE

R.E.M. will perform an acoustic version of "Losing My Religion" during Boston Public's Christmas-themed episode Dec. 19. As part of the deal, producers agreed to play the group's new single "Bad Day" in the background of the episode. So, everyone wins. read more

NEW HOME

Macaulay Culkin has signed a talent holding deal with NBC that may find the Home Alone star headlining his own comedy series next fall. Additionally, the former child star has reportedly met with Conan O'Brien about collaborating on a Peacock project. read more

SURPRISE!

Ashton Kutcher better hope he's not getting Punk'd by A.C. Nielsen. The second season premiere of Kutcher's celeb prank-a-thon on Sunday drew 3.6 million viewers — its best ratings ever. (Was it just me, or did Missy Elliott quickly figure out she was getting punk'd?) read more

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

More trouble for Courtney Love. The actress-singer was charged Tuesday with illegally possessing the painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone. The charges stem from an incident earlier this month when Love was booked on two misdemeanor drug counts after she allegedly tried to break into her ex-boyfriend's Los Angeles home. The court is considering whether Love is eligible for a drug diversion program. read more

SHORT CUTS

Whitney Houston will release One Wish — The Holiday Album on Nov. 18... New episodes of Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy will begin airing Nov. 18. read more

DIDDY SPEAKS

Rap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is responding to allegations that he uses sweatshop labor to produce his Sean John clothing line. "If there is any proof of any wrongdoing, we will terminate our relationship with this factory immediately," Combs said. "I will not tolerate any violation of labor laws at any facility where Sean John is manufactured." read more

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