Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Paula Yates, the British TV personality and ex-wife of rocker Bob Geldof, was found dead in her London home on Sunday. A cause of death was not released. Yates, 40, had left Geldof for late INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence, who hanged himself in 1997... Access Hollywood is reporting that Jack Nicholson and Lara Flynn Boyle have ended their year-long romance... Lady wrestler Nicole Bass was arrested in New York City last night for biting a police officer during a brawl... The Sunday Times of London reported that Helen Fielding, the British author behind Bridget Jones' Diary, has no interest in writing more novels about the popular character. — Michael Ausiello read more

The Boss Bias


Former Who's the Boss? child star Danny Pintauro admits that when it comes to finding work in Hollywood, being openly gay is the least of his problems. The now 24-year-old actor reveals that he's paid a bigger price for his eight years on the hit ABC sitcom.

"There have been more consequences with being Jonathan Bower than there have been for being gay," Pintauro says in the new issue of The Advocate. "Casting directors still think of me as that kid on Who's the Boss? I'll hear that 100 times before I'll here 'You're too gay' or 'You're too out.'"

Well, Pintauro — who three years ago was forced out of the closet by The National Enquirer — is taking great pains to show people that he's much more than Judith Light's TV offspring. Later this month, he'll reprise his off-off-Broadway role of a teen male hustler for a mini-tour of the play The Velocity of Gary (Not His Real Name).

"If I'm going to have an a read more

MORE TV EXPOSURE FOR MORROW

Former Northern Exposure leading man Rob Morrow may be headed back to series TV. The Hollywood Reporter says that the actor is slated to star as a big-city cop who returns to his small town roots in the CBS drama, Bradford. The project is being developed by playwright David Mamet, Tom Fontana (Homicide) and Rod Holcomb. The trade paper reports that the show could debut as early as midseason. read more

NO DEPLOYMENT

Semper Fi, the highly-touted military drama from Steven Spielberg, reportedly has been discharged by NBC. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the hour-long series — which the network had green-lit for midseason — now is being shopped to Fox and CBS by Spielberg's DreamWorks Television division. If no one bites, NBC will repackage the two-hour pilot as a movie-of-the-week. Semper Fi stars Scott Bairstow (Party of Five) and Steve Burton (General Hospital). read more

BAD B.O.

You know the box office is in a sorry state when the weekend's top film grosses a meager $5.7 million. Well, that's just what the Keanu Reeves serial killer flick, The Watcher, did in its second week at No. 1. It was the lowest first place finish since January, 1997. But the news wasn't all doom and gloom. The Cameron Crowe rock biopic, Almost Famous, pulled in $2.3 million in just 131 theaters, for a staggering $17,557 per-screen average. By contrast, The Watcher's per-screen average was $2,077. The Jamie Foxx action thriller Bait debuted at No. 2 with $5.5 million, followed by Bring It On ($5.1 million), Nurse Betty ($4.7 million) and What Lies Beneath ($2.6 million). Duets, the karaoke romance starring Gwyneth Paltrow, opened at No. 9 with $2 million. Playing on just 581 screens, the film averaged a so-so $3,442 per site. read more

HECHE IS "GREAT"

Denzel Washington is lending some credence to the theory that Anne Heche's bizarre episode last month may have been brought on by sunstroke. But the Oscar winner — who has been in Toronto filming John Q with Heche — says that Ellen DeGeneres's former girlfriend was in fighting form when she showed up for work just days after wandering to a stranger's home in Central California talking about God and spaceships. "She was great," Washington says of his co-star. "This was right on the heels of all that stuff. She seemed all right to me. She was [sun]burned, though. I guess she really was wandering around in the woods or whatever. She had real bad burns on her shoulders and arms and stuff." Heche's August 19 spell, which landed her in the hospital, coincided with the end of her three-and-a-half year romance with DeGeneres. At the time, sources said that her behavior was consistent with an ectasy overdose. read more

MORE CAR TROUBLE FOR PERRY

Matthew Perry was involved in yet another fender-bender — although this time the Friends star was not behind the wheel. The New York Daily News reports that a limo carrying Perry was rear-ended by a Jaguar last week in West Hollywood. No one was hurt, but the Jag reportedly sustained $5,000 in damage. According to the Daily News, Perry's chauffeur told the driver that he had a celebrity in the backseat and thus would not be sticking around for the fuzz to arrive. (However, all the necessary paperwork was exchanged.) Last May, Perry smashed his Porsche into a porch in the Hollywood Hills. read more

UPN COMMITS ROAD RAGE

UPN isn't going down without a fight. Variety reports that the struggling network has ordered the reality series Road Rage, which finds contestants facing off in demolition derby vehicles. "If we're trying to get in touch with the inner boy and reach our target audience, there's nothing better than cars smacking into each other," said UPN president/CEO Dean Valentine. "It marries demolition derby with great storytelling. Car freaks will particularly enjoy the show." Or, just freaks. read more

Downey Breaks His Silence


Troubled actor Robert Downey, Jr. says he's been drug-free, flat broke, and looking to make amends with his family since his release last month from a California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison.

"I so appreciate the simple things now," the 35-year-old Oscar nominee tells Details in his first post-prison interview. "When I got out, I stayed in this middle-class house with a boat and a muscle car. I had a little room. It was the kind of place where I used to say, 'Okay, I can rough it here for two days.' Now it was like, 'Wow! I've got my own bathroom! The toilet has a lid and it isn't made of metal!"

Previously accustomed to tooling around L.A. in high-priced sports cars, Downey now finds himself making $300-a-month payments on his Chevy Monte Carlo SS. "I'd never bought an American car before," he says. "This might sound a bit pathetic, but I like America a lot more than I ever did before."

Downey, who's looking to pay off his financial de read more

Goodman Comes Home


Former Roseanne star John Goodman says his decision to return to the sitcom world this fall has nothing to do with any sort of master career plan.

"I don't know how to say this without making myself sound like an idiot, but I don't plan anything," says the star of the new Fox comedy Normal, Ohio (Wednesdays, 8:30pm/ET). "Whatever comes up, comes up."

Goodman says he decided to take the lead role of William "Butch" Gamble in Normal because "it was just the right place, right piece, right time." It also helped that he had worked with series creators and former Saturday Night Live writers Bonnie and Terry Turner while guest-hosting the late-night skit show.

"I like doing series TV," he adds. "It's a great place to show up for work every week and you get to work in front of an audience."

In his latest sitcom incarnation, Goodman plays a gay Midwesterner whose family isn't exactly thrilled with his lifestyle. But don't expect read more

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