Today's News: Our Take


AVON LADDY

It's beauty tool time for Tim Allen. The Home Improvement alum has inked a deal to headline In the Pink, a big-screen comedy about a corporate playboy who loses his cushy job and turns to selling Mary Kay cosmetics. It's based on the book The Rise and Fall of Ted Turner. I kid. read more

INSIDE JOB

Online sportsbook BoDog.com has dropped betting on CBS's Survivor after discovering that at least two of the network's employees were wagering — and winning — on the show. The players in question correctly picked who would be the final two contestants in both the fourth and fifth editions of the reality show. read more

SHOWSTOPPER

Dozens of fans walked out of a Pearl Jam concert in Denver Tuesday night after lead singer and anti-war activist Eddie Vedder impaled a mask of President Bush on a microphone stand. Despite the stunt, Vedder told the audience, "We support the troops." He then climbed into his stretch limo and counted all of his money. read more

Seven Silly Questions for Cookie Monster

Sesame Street launches its 34th season Monday on PBS (check local listings), and with all that's going on in the world, it's not a moment too soon. Once again, producers have recruited some big names as upcoming guests, including First Lady Laura Bush, Natalie Portman, Wayne Brady, Diane Sawyer, Nick and Aaron Carter, and Sheryl Crow. But for our money, the real star on this block remains a certain dessert-obsessed rascal named Cookie Monster. So, in honor of the show's return, we asked Cookie if he would feast on our Seven Silly Questions. And to our delight, he threw us a few crumbs — and then some.

TV Guide Online: What's your favorite kind of cookie?
Cookie Monster:
Oh, that tough question! Me love all cookie! Chocolate chip, oatmeal, pecan sandy. Me equal-op read more

Soap Diva Works Herself Into a Lather


Louise Shaffer had spent years playing the basket cases and bitches that made soap opera fans tune in tomorrow, but she never really understood the power of a cliffhanger until she was faced with one of her own. Shortly after Random House purchased her glorious Southern gothic, The Three Miss Margarets (in bookstores now), the actress-turned-author found herself on pins and needles, desperate to find out what happens next. Would critics like it? Would readers buy it? And what would she do if they didn't?

"I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop," she admits to TV Guide Online. "But I'm trying not to. This whole process has been so blessed so far that I find myself feeling almost — I'm afraid to say it — confident. And that really scares the hell out of me. If I think things will work out, the universe is sure to strike me with permanent writer's block."

Of course, Shaffer is just being dramatic, worrying so. After all, i read more

HE'S BACK

Things may be looking up for Saddam Hussein and his regime: Embattled war correspondent Peter Arnett is once again broadcasting from Iraq! Just days after being fired by NBC for granting an unauthorized interview to state-run Iraqi TV (during which he handed Saddam a powerful propaganda weapon), Arnett began filing on-air reports for Belgian TV network VTN. Arnett is also reporting for London tabloid The Daily Mirror. read more

NEWS COMMUNITY MOURNS

NBC newsman David Bloom, who was one of 600 journalists embedded with U.S. and British forces in Iraq, died over the weekend while covering the war. He was 39. Bloom's death was not combat-related; he died after suffering a blood clot. On Sunday's weekend edition of Today, where Bloom served as co-anchor opposite Soledad O'Brien, a solemn Matt Lauer and Katie Couric joined O'Brien in paying tribute to their fallen colleague. "He was a dedicated, tenacious and talented reporter," said O'Brien. "He died doing what he loved, and doing what he did best." Bloom is survived by his wife, Melanie, and three daughters. read more

I'LL HAVE A LARGE POPCORN AND A MASK

Exhibitors in Hong Kong are reporting that movie attendance has fallen off 30-50 percent since the outbreak of SARS two weeks ago. For those in the dark, SARS is more commonly known as Swept Away. read more

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FAUX FOOTBALL?

ESPN is launching an hour-long drama series set in the world of professional football. The show — titled Playmakers — is being produced and written by Alias exec John Eisendrath. It debuts Aug. 26. read more

NO KIDDING!

Believe it or not, one of the first people Nicole Kidman called after winning her Oscar last month was ex-hubby Tom Cruise. "It was so important for me to talk to [our son] Connor and yes, to Tom," she tells People. "We have very different lives now, but as I've said to Tom, I will be there for him for the rest of his life." Or as long as she keeps winning more awards than him. read more

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