Today's News: Our Take


Here's further proof that it does in fact pay to be brutally honest: Simon Cowell — who had previously insisted his days as American Idol's evil judge were over — has inked a lucrative new pact with Fox that includes three more annual Idol contests. In addition, the deal — reportedly worth north of $10 million — gives the biting Brit a hefty pay raise and his very own production company at Fox. And to avoid ruffling feathers, rumor has it the network will grant Paula Abdul's demand for free two-hour parking with validation. read more


Here's further proof that it pays to sell out: According to documents obtained by, ABC will shell out $1 million to former bachelorette Trista Rehn and fianc&#233 Ryan Sutter for the rights to air their wedding this fall. In return, the couple agreed to give producers the final say on everything from the bride's dress to the flowers to... Ryan, get out while there's still time!!!! read more


Former Dawson's Creek star James Van Der Beek married longtime girlfriend, actress Heather McComb Saturday in Malibu, Calif. The private beachfront ceremony culminated in a spectacular fireworks display. read more


Big Brother 4 doesn't debut until tonight and already there's trouble. Producers have dumped 28-year-old contestant Brandon Showalter after he was caught trying to make contact with his girlfriend, the New York Post reports. He'll be replaced with an ex-flame of one of the show's other players, increasing the "X Factor" from four couples to five couples. read more

HOLY &*%#!

Ozzy Osbourne woke up snoozin' reporters on Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Hollywood, where he announced MTV's The Osbournes will make 20 new episodes. The reality freakshow's third season kicks off in early 2004. In other Osbourne news, Aimee still refuses to do the show, but will make her acting debut in MTV's modern adaptation of Emily Brönte's Wuthering Heights, airing Sept. 4. read more


Winona Ryder has made off with major roles in two new films. The recovering shoplifter will star opposite Sean Connery and Klaus Maria Brandauer in director Milos Forman's upcoming love triangle drama Embers. Ryder is also attached to play the title role in Robert Altman's World War II saga The Widow Claire. read more


In the end, Spike Lee did the right thing. The filmmaker has settled his court battle with Viacom, paving the way for TNN to call itself Spike TV. "As an artist and a filmmaker," Lee said in a statement, "I feel that protection of freedom of expression is a critical value and I am concerned that my efforts to stop Viacom from using the Spike TV name could have the unintended consequence of threatening the First Amendment rights of Viacom and others." read more


In yesterday's column, I asked you, my loyal readers, to help me come up with a third reason why Ashton Kutcher's decision to stick with That '70s Show should come as a surprise. Well, congrats to Cathy, who hit the nail on the head when she wrote, "It's highly unlikely Demi Moore would encourage re-upping on a TV show." Cath gets extra props for using the word "re-upping" in a sentence. read more


Former L.A. Law attorney Blair Underwood has signed on to appear in at least four episodes of Sex and the City. Although HBO is mum on which Sex character Underwood will be involved with, rumor has it he'll set his sights on Miranda. read more


On last night's painfully bloated and convoluted two-hour finale of For Love or Money, so-skeevy-he's-scary Rob Campos tried (and failed) to find the right words to dump Paige and pick Erin. Too bad Erin took the $1 million and ran — straight to a starring role on NBC's For Love or Money 2! And me? I ran straight to the kitchen and drove a fork into the palm of my hand as punishment for sitting through this godawful excuse for a TV show. read more

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