Today's News: Our Take


ANIMATED PERSONALITY

Charlie's Angels and Ally McBeal diva Lucy Liu has joined the cast of Game Over, a CGI-animated midseason comedy on UPN. She'll do the voice of Raquel Smashenburn, a secret agent and mother of two. The show's other celebrity voices currently include SNL's Rachel Dratch and Seinfeld's Patrick Warburton. read more

CRYSTAL CLEAR

Funnyman Billy Crystal plans to write two children's bedtime storybooks about grandparents and their grandkids. The first book, I Already Know I Love You, will be published by HarperCollins in April 2004. The Monsters, Inc. star says the birth of his first grandchild, Ella, inspired him to become a children's author. Aww... read more

BACK IN THE HOUSE

The WB has officially ordered 13 episodes of Aaron Spelling's newest family drama, Summerland, which is set to debut in summer 2004. Created by and starring Lori Loughlin (Full House), the show follows a single lady lawyer who inherits three kids to raise from her late sister. read more

AMAZING FINISH

Kelly and Jon's worst nightmare came true on last night's mega-suspenseful Amazing Race 4 finale: They got beat by two gay guys. In what had to be the most exciting sexual orientation showdown since Richard Hatch trumped his hetero rivals on the first season of Survivor, hottie gay marrieds Reichen and Chip prevailed over bickering straight couple Kelly and Jon. The pair walked away with a cool $1 million and bragging rights to being Amazing Race's first gay champions. Best friends David and Jeff, meanwhile, came in a distant (and rather sad) third. If you have questions for Reichen and Chip or Kelly and Jon, e-mail them to me via the link at the bottom of this column, and I will be sure to forward them on to my colleague Ethan Alter, who will be speaking to the quartet this weekend. And if you have questions for David and Jeff, please e-mail them to me via the link at the bottom of this column and I will be sure to read more

CLAY'S WAY

It's official! American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken's debut album will hit stores Oct. 14 — nearly a month before the Nov. 11 drop date of AI winner Ruben Studdard's CD. "It just don't make no sense for Clay to have his album chillin' when he could just do his thing," Studdard told The Associated Press, explaining that promotional duties have cut into his own time in the recording studio. "I just want to be able to do the best possible project I possibly can. I don't want to just come out with an American Idol souvenir album, you know what I'm saying?" read more

RINGS REDUX

New Line Cinema will release special expanded editions of the first two Lord of the Rings films in theaters worldwide two weeks before the Dec. 17 opening of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The studio wants to refresh moviegoers' memories before the final installment arrives. read more

SHORT CUTS

NBC is thisclose to ordering a second helping of The Restaurant, although the network may ditch Rocco DiSpirito and instead focus on a new eatery... With S.W.A.T. making a killing at the box office, Sony may bring the classic cop franchise back to the small screen next fall... USA Network has renewed The Dead Zone for a third season. read more

SEEING RED

Film producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is teaming with 24 scribe Evan Katz to develop an A-Team-like action series for NBC, Variety reports. The Red Team will revolve around a band of renegade military personnel who use government technology to help out the little guy. read more

VMA UPDATE

Beyonce Knowles and Metallica have been added to the performance lineup for next Thursday's 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. They join previously announced acts Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Good Charlotte, Coldplay and Christina Aguilera. read more

FIRE FALLOUT

Six months after a deadly nightclub fire killed 100 people, members of rock band Great White and the owners of The Station were fined nearly $100,000 Wednesday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The band plans to appeal. read more

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