Today's News: Our Take


REEBOK SIGNS SURVIVOR WINNER

The $1 million Survivor winner has signed a deal with Reebok to endorse its products, Mediaweek reports. The footwear company, a sponsor of the CBS reality series, says the unidentified winning contestant has committed to a one-year pact. Meanwhile, as the big finale nears, CBS apparently isn't taking any chances when it comes to concealing the identity of the $1 million winner. Network execs have issued a gag order to contestants, insisting they not speak to the press until after the two-hour conclusion on Wednesday night (8 pm/ET). The embargo apparently doesn't extend to Newsweek, which features an interview with loathed islander Richard Hatch. Asked why he paraded around in the buff, the 39-year-old back-stabber replied: "I'm often nude, and I was in the middle of the South China Sea in 110-degree weather. Why would I have clothes on?" read more

LOVE BIZARRE

NBC is making good on its threat to bring the European reality series Chains of Love to American TV. The network has committed to 16 episodes of the "relationship" show, in which four contestants are handcuffed to a member of the opposite sex for five days. Every 24 hours, one member of the quartet is released until the "dream date" is left. In addition, NBC has ordered a pilot of Sweet Revenge, another reality show in which "the perfect payback" is caught on tape. read more

I STILL STILL KNOW

With the franchise on life support, a second sequel to the slasher flick I Know What You Did Last Summer is in the works. Variety reports that Columbia has ordered a third installment, despite the fact that the first sequel — 1998's I Still Know What You Did Last Summer — showed little sign of life at the box office, grossing just $40 million. The new flick reportedly will feature different characters. In other words, no Jennifer Love Hewitt. The trade paper also reports that Richard Gere is a signature away from starring in Unfaithful, a thriller based on the French film La Femme Infidel. Gere would play a man who kills his wife's lover. read more

BUFFY'S OLYMPIC TRYOUT

The WB is aiming two of its biggest guns — a slayer and a witch — at NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics. According to Variety, the network will debut its Tuesday and Friday night lineups, which includes signature show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the recently acquired Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, opposite NBC's Olympic bonanza. On Sept. 22, the WB will kick off its new Friday night lineup of Sabrina (8 pm/ET), Darren Star's Beverly Hills, 90210 spoof Gross Pointe (8:30 pm/ET) and second-season drama Popular (9 pm/ET). And on Sept. 26, the last-place weblet will launch new seasons of Buffy and Angel. For the most part, the other networks are holding their fall premieres until early October, after the Olympics. The WB also has revised its Sunday night schedule, with The Jamie Foxx Show leading things off at 7 pm/ET. Eddie Murphy's animated series The PJ's, which was originally slated fo read more

HECHE HOSPITALIZED

Hours after announcing her split with Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Heche reportedly was admitted to University Medical Center in central California after walking into a residence in a confused state. According to Reuters, Heche's sport utility vehicle broke down outside of Fresno, CA, and she walked nearly a mile before banging on the door of a residence and making "strange statements" to the occupants. However, a spokesperson for the hospital tells TV Guide Online that "there's no one by that name that was admitted to or treated at University Medical Center in Fresno." Over the weekend, the world's most famous lesbian couple issued a joint statement confirming their separation. "Unfortunately, we have decided to end our relationship. It is an amicable parting, and we greatly value the 3½ years we have spent together. We hope everyone will respect our privacy through this difficult time." Heche, 31, directed DeGeneres, 43, in the Emmy-nominated HBO film If These Wall read more

EXCELLENT OPENING

Jennifer Lopez's stylish psychological thriller The Cell debuted at the top of the weekend's box office, grossing an estimated $17.2 million. Spike Lee's concert film, The Original Kings of Comedy — which played on 1,564 fewer screens than The Cell — opened in second place with an impressive $11.7 million haul. Space Cowboys held strong in third with $9.9 million, followed by The Replacements ($7.5 million) and What Lies Beneath ($7.1 million) in fourth and fifth. Japan's low-budget import Godzilla 2000, meanwhile, opened with $4.1 million, bad enough for 11th place. Also of note: Hollow Man is disappearing fast at the multiplex, tumbling to No. 7 during its third weekend of release; and Chicken Run became DreamWorks's third summer film to pass the $100 million mark, following Gladiator and What Lies Beneath. read more

TV/FILM TIDBITS

R&B star Sisqó has signed a deal with NBC to star in a sitcom pilot.... Daniel Radcliffe, a little-known 11-year-old British actor, has been cast as Harry Potter in the upcoming film version of the phenomenally successful children's book series.... Matthew McConaughey will play himself in an upcoming episode of HBO's hit comedy Sex in the City. — Michael Ausiello read more

Lopez's Fashion Emergency


With her revealing green Grammy gown now the stuff of legend, Jennifer Lopez will have a hard time topping herself at the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards (Sept. 7, 8 pm/ET). But despite the high expectations, the actress/pop star, whose video for "Waiting for Tonight" is up for two awards, admits that deciding what to wear to the ceremony is, at this point, a low priority.

"I don't do that type of thing until a couple days before," Lopez tells TV Guide Online. "It's like I start looking at things and I choose something or I choose a couple of things and then that day I choose what I'm going to wear." Regarding her headline-grabbing Versace number, she says "that took on a life of its own. I wasn't trying to top anything. I just don't think about [things] that way."

Well, Lopez's wardrobe once again is front-page news. In her new film, The Cell ? in which she plays a psychologist who hitches a ride inside the mind of a deranged serial killer (played by read more

Spike Lee: King of Controversy


Outspoken director Spike Lee has made some new enemies since The Hollywood Reporter last month published his controversial letter lambasting the exclusion of black characters in Mel Gibson's The Patriot.

"I've been getting a lot of hate mail lately," he confesses to TV Guide Online. Among those not amused with Lee's published rant is Patriot screenwriter Robert Rodat, who offered what Lee describes as "a weak rebuttal" in the Hollywood trade paper.

But Lee has already moved on to a new target, Paramount, which, in conjunction with MTV Films, is releasing his latest project, The Original Kings of Comedy. Lee and co-producer Walter Latham say they're disappointed with the lack of promotion and distribution for the comedy concert pic, which stars funnymen Steve Harvey, Cedric "The Entertainer", D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac.

"Paramount considers it a small picture and believes it should b read more

Lover Host No Loser


Prior to landing her gig as the host of the new TV game show Lover or Loser, Meredyth Hunt was busy building a reputation as one of the worst bartenders in Hollywood.

The relative newcomer to showbiz recalls one particular catering job in which she nearly torched a posh Malibu home. It all started when she was operating an outside bar and decided to place a votive candle on top of a pile of napkins to keep them from blowing all over the yard.

"I went away for a few minutes and came back and my bar was on fire," she recalls. "I didn't douse it with the vodka, thank God, but I got it put out and I figured after that I just wasn't a bartender at heart."

Lover or Loser, which debuts Aug. 21 on both USA Network (5:30 pm/ET) and in national syndication, will feature two single male contestants who are evaluated by a studio audience of 100 single women. The chosen "Lover" gets to go out on a date with one of the women. The daily show will also occasionally read more

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