Today's News: Our Take


The reviews are in for Madonna's London stage debut — and they're not so great. The pop superstar plays a voracious art dealer in Up for Grabs, which had its official opening Thursday. "Madonna's acting, though it strengthens as the evening progresses, is a bit like her neat little trench coat: pale, wan and lacking in color," said The Times. "Mechanical Girl distorts the message of soft-centered satire," said The Independent. The Guardian concluded: "Madonna is not positively bad, just technically awkward." To be fair, the audience gave Madge a standing ovation — and at least one "critic" raved about her performance. "She was wonderful," said her good pal Sting. read more


Witchblade star Yancy Butler has entered alcohol rehab, forcing TNT to halt production of its signature drama. According to Variety, although producers plan to stick with Butler, they have put feelers out for a replacement. The show's second season will kick off as scheduled on June 16. read more


Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson is in talks to host her own daily talk show in the United States. "I can confirm she has been approached and that there are discussions going on now," her spokeswoman confirmed to The Associated Press. "She is considering it, but it is not a done deal." read more


DreamWorks has acquired exclusive film rights to the horror video game Fatal Frame from Japanese game publisher Tecmo, Variety reports... NBC has ordered six episodes of The Rerun Show, in which actors reenact classic moments from old TV shows. The series debuts later this summer. read more


Friends millionaire David Schwimmer was injured during a bar fight Tuesday night at the Thompson Hotel in Manhattan, the New York Daily News reports. Here's the lowdown: Schwimmer, 35, was with friends at a launch party for the Pet Shop Boys' new CD when he got caught in an argument between two women. A glass went flying across the bar, hitting Schwimmer in the forehead. He was taken to the hospital, where he received a few stitches. Despite British media reports, the actor's rep insists that he didn't "know either of the women. He just happened to be in the bar." read more

Frances O'Connor's Wilde Ride

Frances O'Connor has played her share of classic roles, from Maggie Pollitt in the London stage production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Gwendolen Fairfax in the latest film version of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (opening tomorrow). Yet, the 32-year-old actress admits she still gets nervous tackling well-known characters.

"I always feel at the start, 'Oh god, I've got to get this right,'" she tells TV Guide Online. "But as you work on it, you get drawn into it and you become interested in it creatively. [You begin to think], 'What can I do to make this interesting?'"

However, O'Connor says she doesn't over-analyze every part she plays. "There are some jobs that I like that are fun jobs, like [the upcoming read more


We Invented the Remix — the latest album from Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, co-starring collaborators like Mary J. Blige and Ashanti — topped the charts with 256,000 copies last week. Rapper Cam'ron's Come Home with Me sold 226,000 (No. 2) and Weezer's Maladroit moved 152,000 units (No. 3). And hey, Eminem: You say "nobody listens" to Moby's techno? Then why did the chrome-domed DJ's 18 sell 126,000 discs in its first week? Touché, baby. read more


Hard-rock foursome Alien Ant Farm were injured in Spain yesterday when their car rear-ended a truck, The Associated Press reports. Things look good for the band and other entourage members who were hospitalized, but their chauffeur was killed at the crash scene. read more

Joe Piscopo's No Wiseguy

More than 20 years after debuting his irreverent Sinatra impression on Saturday Night Live, Joe Piscopo is standing up to negative Italian-American stereotypes in showbiz — sort of. When friends and family nudged the Newark, N.J., native to protest HBO's The Sopranos, the network made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

"On a production, acting and writing level, I think The Sopranos is absolutely brilliant," Piscopo tells TV Guide Online. "But some of my friends [who are investors in my production company] asked me to go to HBO and demand a positive look at the Italian-American people."

Hence, he pitched them Bloomfield Avenue, which the cable net accepted. The miniseries — which he's co-writing and produci read more


Brawlin' British pop-star Adam Ant (n&#233 Stuart Goddard) has been released on bail until July, Reuters reports. At that time, he'll face trial for allegedly assaulting a man in a pub, menacing folks with a fake gun and smashing a window with, um, car-engine parts. Ant has denied guilt on all charges. read more

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