Today's News: Our Take


COMEBACK

After a two-year hiatus, hippie jam band Phish is going back on tour. The Vermont musicians — best known for hit songs like "Down with Disease" — took a break after wrapping their last tour in October 2000. But on New Year's Eve, Phish will play Madison Square Garden. Then on Jan. 2, they'll do a three-day engagement in Hampton, Va. More concert dates are expected to be announced later on. read more

ON THE MEND

Actor Jason Priestley underwent surgery Wednesday on his broken back and feet, three days after crashing his race car into a wall at Kentucky Speedway. Doctors expect the 32-year-old former Beverly Hills, 90210 star to make a full recovery. read more

24 HOURS OF 24

Miss any episodes of Fox's critical hit 24 this year? The show's low ratings suggest you probably did, so set your VCRs for this golden opportunity: Starting at midnight on Sept. 1, FX will rerun the drama's entire first season — that's a solid 24 hours of 24. The marathon ends at midnight on Sept. 2, which is Labor Day. (And if you miss that, you can always buy the first season on DVD, to be released Sept. 17.) read more

ANNA NICOLE DRAMA

Reality TV's Anna Nicole Smith has ex-boyfriend trouble: According to The Associated Press, Mark Hatten — whom Smith broke up with in June 2000 — has been charged with battery, assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats and stalking. Hatten allegedly made threatening phone calls to the ex-Playboy pinup and assaulted her neighbor. The 34-year-old, who claims he's innocent, has a pretrial hearing on Aug. 23. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison. read more

JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER

CBS announced the identities of the 16 castaways participating in Survivor: Thailand this morning, and exec producer Mark Burnett is calling the group the best-looking yet. (We're inclined to believe him.) Among the future inductees into the Reality Has-Been Hall of Fame: a 29-year-old female firefighter, a 53-year-old first-grade teacher, an abs-olutely stunning 25-year-old dental student, a 40-year-old pastor and a 30-year-old NYC police officer named Ken (pictured, left) — who we're pegging as the Colby of the bunch. Also keep an eye out for 27-year-old Texas babe Penny, who could be the next Colleen Haskell. To view pics of all 16 contestants, click here. Survivor: Thailand premieres Thursday, Sept. 19. read more

BRUCE STILL BOSS

Bruce Springsteen held on to the top spot on Billboard's album chart for the second consecutive week. The Rising sold 239,000 copies — a 54 percent sales drop from last week's record-setting debut. New to the top 10: Scarface's The Fix (No. 4 with 160,000 copies) and Trick Daddy's Thug Holiday (No. 6 with 130,000 copies). read more

SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT?

Note to Sheryl Crow: Fire your agents. The Grammy winner has agreed to perform an exclusive mini-concert for the houseguests on Big Brother 3 on Wednesday, Aug. 21. As a result, CBS is expanding the episode to two hours. read more

LEO'S GREAT

Leonardo DiCaprio is in talks to play the title role in director Baz Luhrmann's upcoming big-budget Alexander the Great epic, Variety reports. Production is slated to start in early 2003, around the same time that Oliver Stone begins directing Colin Farrell in his own Alexander pic. This could get ugly, folks. read more

R.I.P., Dawson's Creek?


We're always thanking God for small favors, so how about we give him props for a really big one: Chances are, this will be the final season of Dawson's Creek. Hallelujah!

"People are saying it's the last year," series star James Van Der Beek confirms to TV Guide Online. "It's been a great run. I'm grateful. Six years? I'll take it."

Personally, we would have been happy had Dawson and Co. paddled their way off the TV landscape following graduation day at Capeside High, but that's just us. On second thought, maybe it's not. "It's kind of nice to see light at the end of the tunnel," admits Van Der Beek, who has been holed up with Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and read more

Meet the Marks Secrets Revealed


As the fake son on Meet the Marks, Patrick Cavanaugh stirs up mucho mischief on this sitcom/hidden-camera show hybrid. Set in a seemingly normal house — which is loaded with secret spy cams — the actor's Fox series lures unsuspecting visitors into practical jokes staged by the Marks, a faux family of pranksters.

These days, with Candid Camera rip-offs like NBC's Spy TV and WB's Jamie Kennedy Experiment flooding the airwaves, aren't folks less naïve about getting pranked? "We've done about 25 or so marks and we've maybe had three people catch on, which is good for us," Cavanaugh tells TV Guide Online. "We very rarely have had someone say, 'Okay, I'm on a TV show. What's going on?'"

In one funny gambit, an Italian tutor came over to study with the "teenage" Patrick. "I'm 24, but I play 17 on TV," he laughs. "Hey, you can't beat that. It's read more

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