Today's News: Our Take


MORE MONEY FOR MATT

Today co-host Matt Lauer has signed a new three-year contract with NBC worth $8 million annually — roughly double what he had been making. For the complete story, click here. read more

ONE-HIT WONDERS

William Shatner, have you no shame? The Star Trek ham will host VH1's weeklong special, 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, airing May 6-10 from 10-11 pm/ET. The list of pop hits from long-since-pooped stars includes the infectious, irritating "Macarena" by Los Del Rios (No. 1), Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" (No. 7), Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science" (No. 20) and Tag Team's "Whoomp! There It Is" (No. 97). read more

Getty Heir Misses Pasadena


Balthazar Getty, who's mainly acted in movies — such as Lord of the Flies, Lost Highway and Deuces Wild (opening Friday) — took a gamble on TV last year. Too bad his stint on producer Diane Keaton's short-lived nighttime soap, Pasadena, didn't pay off as well as he'd hoped.

"I wish [the Fox network] would have handled it better," Getty admits to TV Guide Online. "They blew a lot of smoke up our ass. They [still] haven't cancelled it."

Shelved indefinitely after just five airings, the spicy sudser had promise it'll never have the chance to realize. Most of Pasadena's cast — in read more

Debra Messing: Will Without Grace?


Accompanied by enough fanfare to make Just Jack blush, NBC recently announced that it had renewed its Must-See Thursday-night smash Will & Grace for a staggering three more years — through its seventh season. What the Peacock Network failed to mention, however, is that the $300-million pact doesn't extend to all of the sitcom's stars.

"It's a completely separate deal [from our individual contracts]," Debra Messing confirms to TV Guide Online. "I haven't talked to anybody else in the cast about it, but I'm signed on for two more years, and the show's been picked up for three."

Messing admits that she has yet to decide what she'll do when her contract expires in 2004. "I take it year to year. I have two more years left, and that's a long time," she says. "I feel that, up until this point, the show's writing has been consistent and fun read more

NO BAIL, STILL JAILED

A judge denied Robert Blake's dramatic courtroom plea to be released on bail on Wednesday. Blake insisted on being freed so he can clear his name. "I've been silent while this town, my country and the police have said whatever they want about me," the 68-year-old actor declared. "Now, it's my turn to fight back. I have to fight for my life and I can't do that from inside a concrete cell." But the court won't consider setting bail until after prosecutors make their case against the murder suspect at a preliminary hearing — which could be several months away. read more

DIAPER IN THE DARK

Icelandic singer Björk — who played a tragic single mom in Lars Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark — expects her second child in September. The baby's father is her American beau, Matthew Barney. Hopefully, she'll select her maternity wear with care since that Oscar swan-dress scandal! read more

SAVING SELA?

Die-hard fans of Once and Again won't give up on supercouple Sela Ward and Billy Campbell. A group of drama devotees has raised over $20,000 in fan donations to erect a billboard in L.A.'s West Hollywood as well as buy ads in the Tinseltown trade papers — all in hopes of moving ABC to renew the show for a fourth season. read more

PROOF POSITIVE

Cher will kick off "Living Proof &#150 The Farewell Tour" on June 14 in Toronto. The 50-city tour includes stopovers in New York, Seattle and Las Vegas, and will conclude Sept. 15 in Minneapolis. And if that wasn't enough to excite gay men everywhere, pop icon Cyndi Lauper will appear as a special guest! read more

NO BUTTS ABOUT IT

Oops, she got caught! Today's New York Post features a photo of pop tart Britney Spears doing something she said she doesn't believe in — smoking! Um, Justin, your ex is self-destructing... read more

SHORT CUTS

In honor of the Sept. 11 tragedy's one-year anniversary, the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards will air one week early this year, on Aug. 29 at 8 pm/ET. Jack Black and Sarah Michelle Gellar will co-host... Angel's David Boreanaz and his wife, actress Jaime Bergman, welcomed a baby boy, Jaden Rayne, into the world early Wednesday, Entertainment Tonight reports. read more

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