Today's News: Our Take


THIS HAS TO HURT

NBC's Today show has cancelled Matt Lauer's trip to Cuba (planned for Friday) after it failed to secure an interview with Fidel Castro. Instead, Castro has decided to talk exclusively with ABC's Barbara Walters. That interview will air tomorrow night on 20/20. read more

ELVIS STILL KING

With sales of 336,660 copies, Elvis Presley's 30 #1 Hits held on to the No. 1 spot on Billboard's album chart for the second-consecutive week. The Rolling Stones' two-disc Forty Licks debuted in second place with 309,800 copies sold. Meanwhile, Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" remains the top-selling single for the third week. In other American Idol news, runner-up Justin Guarini has reportedly signed an album deal with the show's producer, Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings. Finally, Fox is confirming that Idol standout Tamyra Gray will appear in four episodes of Boston Public beginning in February. read more

SARA WON'T RUE THIS DAY

Popular alumna Sara Rue is happy today. Satisfied with its ratings, ABC has ordered a full season (22 episodes) of her new sitcom, Less Than Perfect, co-starring Andy Dick. read more

WEST WING CRISIS

Maybe it's time Heather Locklear paid The West Wing a visit. Despite its third-consecutive Emmy victory, NBC's White House drama is purging viewers faster than The Drew Carey Show. The latest sign that President Bartlett's approval rating is dropping: Wednesday's episode was trumped in the ratings by a program on — yikes! — ABC! Yes, among adults 18-49, ABC's match-making reality series The Bachelor beat WW by 31 percent. (WW prevailed among total viewers 15.7 million to 12.8 million, but still.) The WB's new drama Birds of Prey, meanwhile, had a rockin' debut. The show attracted 7.6 million viewers and helped the network finish second for the night among adults 18-34. read more

DALLAS REDUX

Who's shooting J.R. Ewing now? Twentieth Century Fox! The film studio is developing a big-screen adaptation of Dallas. "I like the idea of doing it for the 21st century, with a new cast," series creator Dave Jacobs tells Variety. "We've got a new take on it. Before, people would have been interested in who is screwing each other. Now it's the national crimes that are affecting everyone. The conflict is still about family conflicts, but the stakes are higher now. That's the thing that excites me about it." Just promise us you'll give Miss Ellie a decent wardrobe this time around! read more

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

Turns out, there are two Vincent D'Onofrios making a living in Hollywood — but only one of them is suing Madonna. Despite reports that D'Onofrio the actor (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) is suing the Material Girl over her new film Swept Away, it's actually D'Onofrio the producer who's crying foul. He claims he pitched Madonna the idea of doing a remake of the 1974 film of the same name. read more

SURVIVOR ALUM ATTACKED

Former Survivor: The Australian Outback contestant Kel Gleason — the beef jerky dude — was reportedly beaten with broken beer bottles by four bar patrons in Toronto. The incident occurred on Sept. 20 and left the former Army Intelligence officer with serious head injuries. read more

DENIED

Robert Blake better make himself comfortable in that jail cell of his: The onetime Baretta star was denied bail at a hearing Wednesday in Los Angeles. "There is proof of his guilt and the presumption is great, for bail purposes only," Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash said. "That does not mean I believe he committed this offense, or that I think he's guilty." Nash will reconsider the bail request after a preliminary hearing Dec. 11. Blake is awaiting trial on charges that he murdered his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. read more

Zooey Deschanel: Almost Famous


If Zooey Deschanel's life had taken a less successful turn — that is, if she hadn't scored roles in Almost Famous, The Good Girl, The New Guy and Big Trouble — the 22-year-old would be graduating from college this year. But after playing the stressed-out best friend of the really stressed out Katie Holmes in the Ivy-League thriller Abandon (in theaters Oct. 18), Deschanel says she's relieved not to have taken the conventional educational path.

"I did go to college for seven months," she proclaims to TV Guide Online. "It counts! I got my fill of dorm life and people knocking on my door telling me about ice-cream read more

Taye Diggs's Parallel Universe


Ever since he helped Angela Bassett get her groove back, Taye Diggs has been Hollywood's go-to African-American romantic lead. So, it was only a matter of time before the 30-year-old dreamboat (oh that voice, those teeth) started repeating himself.

Take his latest film, Brown Sugar. The flick bears a striking resemblance to his 1999 effort, The Wood. Not only are both helmed by director Rick Famuyiwa, but they also feature leading lady Sanaa Lathan and revolve around nuptials. What gives?

"I thought it was different," he says of read more

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