Today's News: Our Take


CHECKING IN

The Motels are back. Or at least lead singer Martha Davis is. Last night at the Knitting Factory in New York City, the 1980s siren, whose hits include "Only the Lonely," "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Take the L," introduced her crackerjack new band, announced plans to release a CD in early 2004 and performed an album's worth of soul-stirring punk-pop. On the downside: no mint on our pillow when we got home. read more

SEX SCOOP

For the real story behind Sex and the City's decision to cast 55-year-old ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov as Carrie's new love interest, read my interview with exec producer-star Sarah Jessica Parker in today's Insider. And don't let her snippy response to the Mr. Big (Chris Noth) question mislead you into thinking the 38-year-old Square Pegs grad is a diva. Parker left a rather sweet (and very Carrie-esque) message on my voice mail later that evening to make sure I got everything I needed and to thank me for the interview. She said a bunch of other stuff too, but that's between her, me and everyone who crowded around my desk Fri read more

WHERE TO BEGIN...

The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy crew have lined up their next style challenged hetero: Jay Leno. The Fab Five (or Four if you exclude that random "culture" expert) will work their makeover magic on Leno, the Tonight Show band and the show's set on the Aug. 14 and 15 episodes of NBC's late-night show, USA Today reports. Meanwhile, NBC will air another half-hour edition of Queer Eye on Aug. 14 following Will & Grace. read more

COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION

Kobe Bryant got what appeared to be a hero's welcome at Saturday's taping of the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, where the embattled basketball player was named favorite male athlete. Fox will broadcast the ceremony Wednesday, the same day Bryant is due in court for a preliminary hearing on charges that he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old hotel worker. read more

Skin Star Defends Porn


When TV vet Ron Silver (Rhoda, Veronica's Closet) last graced the small screen, he was Emmy-nominated as Bartlet's campaign strategist on The West Wing. His next career move: Playing a porn mogul in Skin, a spicy new fall Fox drama. Why take this shady flesh-peddler role?

"You may want to ask my first wife's lawyer," he quips, then launches into a serious defense of the adult film business. "This guy is providing a service. It's an $8-10 billion-a-year industry. It's legal. He's not being hypocritical, like many people in public life are, about the role of sexuality in our lives and how we approach it."

Despite his trashy line of work, Silver's alter ego, Larry Goldman, sees himself as a family man. This sparks the show's main c read more

Sarah Jessica Defends Baryshnikov Casting

We must confess: Sex and the City's decision to cast 55-year-old dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov as Carrie's new artist-boyfriend caught us way off guard. When exec producer Michael Patrick King told TV Guide Online he snagged a "big name" for the plum part, we were thinking Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Sean Penn... you know, movie stars. Not a freakin' ballet dancer. That said, given that it was Carrie's portrayer, the delightful read more

MYSTERY SOLVED

Who was Carly Simon thinking about when she wrote "You're So Vain"? Mick Jagger? Warren Beatty? Cat Stevens? The Fab Five? Well, the 58-year-old singer is ready to spill the beans — to the highest bidder, that is. According to People, Simon plans to auction off the answer to raise money for Martha's Vineyard Community Services. Naturally, there's a catch: The winner has to sign an agreement never to tell anyone. read more

MAKING SOME NOISE

The exec producer behind CSI wants to break into the reality scene. As reported in the current issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale now), Anthony Zuiker is developing a hip-hop version of American Idol titled Ruckus. "It incorporates DJ, MC rap, breakdancing and graffiti," he says. "I'm running around town pitching it right now." CBS officially passed on the project, but Eye network prez Les Moonves wants to keep Ruckus in the Viacom family. Says the exec: "I'm thinking about it for [sister network] UPN." read more

GEE... WHAT A SURPRISE

They said it wouldn't last... more than a weekend at the box office — and they were right! The Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck caper Gigli had a disastrous debut, gobbling up a paltry $3.8 million during its first three days of release. The critically-savaged pic landed with a thud at No. 7, tying with Finding Nemo. American Wedding, the final chapter of the American Pie trilogy, opened at No. 1 with a decent $34.3 million, followed by Spy Kids 3-D (No. 2 with $20.1 million), Pirates of the Caribbean (No. 3 with $19.1 million), Seabiscuit (No. 4 wit read more

MONEY TROUBLE

Troubled cannibal Mike Tyson has bitten off more than he can chew financially. The former heavyweight champ, who was once estimated to be worth $300 million, filed for bankruptcy on Friday to bring "order to his financial affairs," his attorney says. Tyson is currently facing assault and disorderly conduct charges stemming from a scuffle in a Brooklyn hotel in June. He also has a $100 million lawsuit pending against boxing promoter Don King; Tyson claims King cheated him out of millions. read more

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