Today's News: Our Take


Growing Pains papa Alan Thicke won't be showing that smile of his again anytime soon. The actor lost five teeth and received 30 stitches after he was struck by a puck while practicing for a celebrity hockey game Tuesday in Burbank, Calif. Alias hunk Michael Vartan was also on the rink at the time, but sources assure us that he's still beautiful. read more


Embattled Dixie Chick Natalie Maines is addressing the controversy surrounding comments she made at a March 10 concert in which she told a London audience that, "We're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." She says she spoke out against Bush and war in Iraq out of frustration. "I'm not truly embarrassed that, you know, President Bush is from my state," Maines says in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer for Primetime Thursday (airing tonight at 10 pm/ET). "It was the wrong wording with genuine emotion and questions and concern behind it. ... Am I sorry that I asked questions and that I just don't follow? No." Am I sick to death of this story? Yes. read more


ABC Family has ordered 13 episodes of The Domestic Goddess Hour, a food-centric reality show starring Roseanne. According to Variety, the series is a spinoff of her upcoming untitled ABC reality series, which debuts in July. read more


Justin Timberlake and actor Seann William Scott (Bulletproof Monk) have been tapped to co-host the MTV Movie Awards, airing June 5... The wife of CBS President Leslie Moonves has filed for divorce after 24 years of marriage. Nancy Moonves cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split... The WB has picked up Grounded for Life for a fourth season... The man who invented the sitcom laugh track, Charlie Douglass, died earlier this month of pneumonia. He was 93. read more


NBC has fired what could be a fatal bullet into Just Shoot Me. Following a deadly ratings performance Tuesday, the network has pulled the aging sitcom from its schedule and is holding 13 unaired episodes until summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Now, exec producer Steve Levitan is firing back, claiming Peacock President Jeff Zucker broke his word. "Jeff Zucker promised our cast that [NBC] would not pull us and they would be airing these episodes. Now it's clear to me his word meant nothing." This story does, however, have a happy ending: Just Shoot Me is no longer on the air. read more


Luther Vandross is showing signs of recovery. The Grammy-winning singer — who suffered a stroke last Wednesday — has been "extremely responsive over the course of the last day," a hospital rep tells The Associated Press. read more

Will Hollywood Hijack a Hairspray Star?

If you've caught the exuberant Broadway adaptation of Hairspray, you'll know what we mean when we say that Kerry Butler damn near steals the show. As heroine Tracy Turnblad's dim-witted but bright-eyed best friend Penny Pingleton, the Brooklyn native pulls no punch lines and turns even secondary stage business into physical comedy of the first order. What's more, Penny's climactic transformation from lovelorn square to lustful "checkerboard chick" takes away theater-goers' breath along with the powerhouse singer's own. So what the heck is the veteran leading lady from Beauty and the Beast and Les Miserables doing in a supporting role?

"I actually prefer being in the ensemble," she tells TV Guide Online. "It makes life easier. When you're the lead, you have to be perfect. With Penny, I can do whatever I want, and [the audience] won't care — unless it's really bad!" The ingenue doesn't even mind that Penny shuffles along with two lef read more

Meet The Gong Show's New Emcee

This is what you call a good week for comedian Jeffrey Ross. Yesterday, he wrapped the pilot for the WB's new Gong Show. "Everywhere I go, my mechanic is a contortionist, and my doorman wants to do his Dustin Hoffman impression," he cracks. "This is what made Chuck Barris move to France!" And tonight, he plays a cocky comic who drops dead on CSI (9 pm/ET): "I've died many times onstage," he says, "but never where I actually had to go head first into the floor." Lucky for us, Ross lived to face another heckler.
TV Guide Online: Gilbert Gottfried and Bobcat Goldthwait also guest star on tonight's CSI. Why were you the most qualified to play the corpse?
Jeffrey Ross:
They didn't have to use makeup for me. (Laughing) To be honest with you, I had nightmares because I played a headliner in Vegas, and they used my real headshot. I kind of saw my own death for the whole week of filming.

TVGO: But lying on a morgue table read more


Carmen Rasmusen's performance of "Love Will Lead You Back" led a majority of American Idol's 21.5 million call-in-voters to send the 18-year-old back to pop's minor leagues. As expected, Rasmusen became the latest AI finalist to get the hook on Fox's talent competition last night. Rounding out the bottom three were Trenyce and Joshua Gracin. And just a reminder: If you have any burning questions for Ms. Rasmusen, send them to me via the link at the bottom of this column. Extra consideration will be given to those folks who say hello to my Aunt Joan in their e-mail. read more


Barry Manilow will be presented with the Society of Singers' 12th annual ELLA Award Monday in Beverly Hills, Calif. That's great, but who on Earth is this Mandy chick? read more

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