Today's News: Our Take


SPEAKING OF EXTRA...

Last week's massive blackout forced stations in the Northeast to preempt Thursday's edition of Extra featuring an exclusive interview with TV Guide columnist Michael Ausiello discussing the crisis on Everybody Loves Raymond. However, according to Holly Fazio, an exec at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the segment aired in its entirety on the West Coast. "You looked great on Extra," Fazio told Ausiello in an e-mail obtained by TV Guide Online. "You really know your stuff!" read more

STRIPPER SUIT

The Canadian stripper whom the National Enquirer said had sexual relations with Ben Affleck is suing the tabloid, claiming it falsely reported that she got gigli with the actor. Antonella Santini seeks unspecified damages. The Enquirer is standing by its story. read more

RECOVERING

Hall of Fame jockey-turned-Seabiscuit star Gary Stevens remains hospitalized in fair condition after falling off his horse during a race Saturday in Illinois. Stevens — whose left shoulder was stepped on — fell off Storming Home a few strides past the finish line. read more

THEY'RE GAME

The Game Show Network is already lining up candidates to participate in its Who Wants to Be Governor of California? The Debating Game special. Actor Gary Coleman and porn star Mary Carey have signed on to appear in the Oct. 1 broadcast, leaving just three slots open. read more

A NEW LOWE

Actor Rob Lowe has agreed to help gather celebrity support for Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign. Why is the former West Wing thesp, who is a liberal, endorsing a Republican? "[Schwarzenegger is] motivating and energizing people in this state that haven't been interested in politics in many, many years," Lowe tells Extra. "I know that when I'm on a set, I want to know who the director is. I don't want to have to guess. That's what Arnold will bring to this state. He's a leader." read more

SLASH AND CASH

The threat of rolling blackouts in the Northeast — and a few remaining Gigli showings — wasn't enough to scare moviegoers away from theaters this weekend. The celeb deathmatch spooker Freddy vs. Jason made a killing at the box office, opening at No. 1 with $36.4 million. Last weekend's top flick, S.W.A.T., slipped to second with $18.6 million, followed by the new Kevin Costner Western Open Range (No. 3 with with $14.1 million), Freaky Friday (No. 4 with $13.1 million) and Uptown Girls (No. 5 with $11.2 million). The top 12 movies brought in $132.1 million, up 33 percent from the same weekend in 2002. read more

Hilary Duff Breaks Her Silence

As evidenced by her sexy "So Yesterday" video, actress-turned-pop star Hilary Duff is so ready to put Lizzie McGuire behind her. But the 15-year-old — who this spring parted ways with Lizzie when talks with Disney broke down — doesn't think her edgy new image will alienate her core tween-girl fan base. "It's not, like, crazy," she says of the video for the single, which is currently No. 2 on the charts. "I'm not taking my clothes off or anything." Fair enough. But still, it's safe to say a new, more grown-up day has dawned for Duff. In addition to her first solo album Metamorphosis (due Aug. 26), the Texas native has two movies in the works (Cinderella Man and Cheaper by the Dozen), is planning a series of music specials for the WB and is about to launch an ambitious fashion and merchandise line. Lucky for us, she took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to chat about t read more

POLITICAL FRENZY

Jay Leno has invited all 135 candidates running for California governor — including Arnold, Gary, that blonde porn star and a number of other D-listers — to appear on NBC's Tonight Show on Sept. 22. "We have 300 seats," Leno says, "we'll let everybody in." Just to be safe, NBC may want to hire extra security that night to guard the petty cash drawer. read more

All-American Boy's Big Date


How big a stud is American Dreams co-star Jamie Elman? Although the quick-witted Canuck doesn't wind up with leading lady Charisma Carpenter in the ABC Family romantic comedy See Jane Date (premiering Saturday at 8 pm/ET), he tells TV Guide Online, "I'm one of the few guys who ends up with any girl. Let's put it that way."

Considering that the TV movie's rogues' gallery of bachelors includes Antonio Sabato Jr., Evan Marriott and Less Than Perfect funnyman Zachary Levi, that's really sayin' something. Even more im read more

Threat Matrix Promises PC Terrorists


As the success of 24 has proven, America is ready to see TV tackle terrorism. But the creators of ABC's new drama Threat Matrix (debuting Sept. 18 at 8 pm/ET) are walking on eggshells nontheless. Exec producer Daniel Voll says one of his top concerns is making sure the show portrays Muslims in a fair way; and that means there will be good guys and bad guys of every color and creed.

"We just have a feeling that the world of terrorism is an equal-opportunity employer," Voll says. "We're tracking down everything from SARS to following stories out of Iraq, to being on college campuses. And sometimes we'll end up finding that the perpetrators will be kids in Nebraska. So we don't go into this with a formal definition of what we think a terrorist looks like."

Case in point: Producers cast Arab-American actor read more

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