Today's News: Our Take


Carmen Electra is in talks to join the cast of Warner Bros.'s upcoming big-screen adaptation of Starsky and Hutch, starring Ben Stiller as Starsky and Owen Wilson as Hutch. Electra would play Hutch's girlfriend. read more


Steven Spielberg has topped Premiere magazine's 2003 list of the 100 most influential people in Hollywood. Among the celebs landing at the top of the heap: Tom Hanks (13), Tom Cruise (14), Mel Gibson (15), Julia Roberts (16) and Reese Witherspoon (32). And just in case you were wondering, yours truly held firm at 145,789. read more


Tonight's Jeopardy features a category devoted to classic TV Guide covers. Apparently, producers rejected my first suggestion: classic TV Guide Online columnists. read more


HBO will do anything to keep its Emmy streak alive. The pay cabler has hired Bryce Zabel, the top exec at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (organizer of the Emmy Awards), to pen a drama series pilot set in the world of military intelligence. read more


At Monday's Country Music Television 2003 Flameworthy Video Music Awards (say that three times fast), Toby Keith's controversial anthem "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)" picked up awards for video of the year, cocky video (huh?) and best male video. Keith dedicated his big victory to "Mr. Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks, and all the people over there [in Iraq] putting it down for us tonight." Somewhere, Michael Moore is foaming at the mouth. read more


Here's your chance to own a piece of Hollywood history: Winona Ryder wants to auction off for charity the $5,500 worth of already-way-overpriced merchandise she stole from Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001. Ryder's attorney made the offer at Monday's progress report hearing in Beverly Hills, during which Judge Elden Fox praised the 31-year-old actress for completing her community service ahead of schedule. Fox postponed a decision on the whole charity auction idea. read more

Karen Black's Open House

Although she's headlined both blockbusters and indies, Karen Black has had a frightful time convincing thrill seekers that she's more than just the scream queen from Trilogy of Terror and It's Alive III. So, naturally, when she received an invitation to play a Midwestern madwoman in shock-'n'-roller Rob Zombie's screenwriting and directing debut, House of 1000 Corpses, there was little chance that she'd drop dead from excitement. "I didn't even read the script very well," she admits to TV Guide Online. "I didn't think I wanted to do it.

"But," she continues, "then Rob saw me looking beautiful at the Oscars and said, 'Oh... I'll make your character a nymphomaniac.' I said, 'Well, that's quite a challenge... an Okie nymphomaniac.' So I had to do it!"

Unfortunately, the forme read more


ER hunk Goran Visnjic has been tapped to play the title role in USA Network's four-hour, $20 million miniseries remake of Spartacus. Visnjic succeeds Kirk Douglas, who headlined Stanley Kubrick's 1960 original. There's no word on who will play the Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier roles, but we hear Elton John and Eminem have expressed interest. read more


NBC News correspondent David Bloom, who died Sunday of a blood clot while covering the war in Iraq, apparently ignored doctors' advice to seek medical attention just days before his death. According to Business Week reporter Frederik Balfour, who was traveling with Bloom, the 39-year-old weekend Today co-anchor complained of cramps behind his knee last week. After describing his symptoms via phone to doctors overseas, Bloom was told he may be suffering from deep venous thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots develop in veins deep within the body. The physicians advised him to seek medical attention, but Bloom "ignored their advice, swallowed some aspirin and kept on working," says Balfour. NBC could not confirm the report. For more on Bloom, click here. read more


Penelope Cruz is suing Australian magazine New Idea after it published a story that contained "false and defamatory statements" about her relationship with Tom Cruise. It's not clear what the story alleged, and to be honest, I really don't feel like looking into it. read more

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