Today's News: Our Take


WAYLON JENNINGS DIES

Country music's legendary bad boy Waylon Jennings died Wednesday at his Arizona home after a long battle with diabetes. He was 64. Jennings — who recorded some 60 albums over the course of his four-decade-long career — was best known for his hits "Good-Hearted Woman" and "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," both duets with his fave partner Willie Nelson. He also narrated the '80s TV classic The Dukes of Hazzard and sang the theme song. read more

DIRECT TO SPICE CHANNEL?

Sharon Stone, watch your back — big-screen sweetheart Meg Ryan is moving in on your territory. The romantic comedy goddess is in negotiations to star in the low-budget erotic thriller In the Cut, Variety reports. The pic — to be directed by The Piano's Jane Campion — revolves around a New York writing teacher (Ryan) who becomes sexually involved with a detective investigating a series of brutal murders in her neighborhood. Oscar nominee Nicole Kidman will serve as one of the executive producers. read more

ALLY'S NEW FRIEND

Well, we know he's not doing this for the extra cash: Friends millionaire Matthew Perry will appear in a special two-hour episode of Fox's Ally McBeal on April 15. Perry will play "a cocky, successful and opinionated attorney who wreaks havoc on Ally's personal and professional life," Fox says. That same episode, Christina Ricci will kick off a four-episode arc as a brilliant, young legal prot&#233g&#233. read more

J.LO ON TOP

It was a slow week at the nation's record stores as Jennifer Lopez's remix collection J to Tha L-O! debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart after selling only 156,000 copies. Barry Manilow's new greatest hits disc, Ultimate Manilow, bowed at No. 3 — his highest chart debut ever. Back to J.Lo, the singer-actress has been named as a presenter at the 74th Academy Awards on March 24. read more

URBAN RENEWAL

ABC has picked up NYPD Blue for a 10th season, a network rep confirms. Steven Bochco's resurgent cop drama has more than held its own this season in its new ultra-competitive 9 pm Tuesday timeslot. read more

SUPERMAN LIVES!

Charlie's Angels helmer McG is jumpstarting Warner Bros.'s Superman franchise, signing on to direct the Man of Steel's next big-screen adventure. Acclaimed TV writer-producer J.J. Abrams (Felicity, Alias) will write the script. read more

FIGHTING SPIRIT

Perhaps buoyed by the surprise success of Snow Dogs, Cuba Gooding Jr. is eyeing another big-screen comedy. According to Variety, Gooding is in talks to star in Fighting Temptations, the story of an urban hip-hop artist who returns to his Southern hometown and is forced to start a gospel choir. In related news, Disney is already planning a Snow Dogs sequel. (For the love of God — not to mention Oscar winners everywhere — don't do it Cuba!) — Michael Ausiello read more

RESTING IN PEACE

The mystery surrounding where singer George Harrison spent his final days has finally been settled, reports Reuters. Los Angeles officials revealed yesterday that the former Beatle died in a Hollywood Hills mansion leased by bandmate Paul McCartney. The location of Harrison's death last fall was concealed by his family, who misled authorities in an attempt to dissuade obtrusive fans. read more

Beautiful Mind's Oscar Gaffe!


Jennifer Connelly learned a valuable lesson Tuesday about how not to behave while watching the announcement of the Oscar nominations. Connelly and the rest of the twittering Beautiful bunch — in Germany promoting the film at the Berlin Film Festival — were huddled in front of a TV when the unthinkable occurred.

"Two minutes before it came on, I had the bright idea to raise the volume and wound up inadvertently turning the TV off," Connelly explained to Today host Matt Lauer. "We [turned] it back on and it was on the wrong channel. Then we're sort of scrambling around trying to figure out which channel was CNN, and we got something in German."

The gang eventually got control of the remote just in time to learn of their eight nom read more

Nicole Kidman: Oscar Can-Candidate


Unlike the cast of A Beautiful Mind, Nicole Kidman did not take a work break to watch the announcement of the Oscar nominations on Tuesday. The actress — in Sweden filming Lars Von Trier's historical drama Dogville — learned of her first-ever Academy Award nomination for Moulin Rouge from a member of the film's crew.

"[He] held up a little sign behind the camera right after we'd finished a really intense scene," recalls the two-time Golden Globe winner, adding, "I am just so, so thrilled!"

Oscar pundits expressed surprise that Kidman's lead actress nomination came for her fancy footwork in Moulin Rouge and not her haunting, memorable performance in the creepy gho read more

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