Mandi Bierly

Fame Lives Forever!

Fame costs. The contestant application for Fame — NBC's newest reality show — even warns against possible exposure to "injury and death." So we're guessing a few aspiring singer/dancers are about to start paying!

"Well, you know, I might maim them a little bit in rehearsal. I'm known to be tough," jokes Debbie Allen, who auditioned hundreds of performers for the 10-week series (debuting tonight at 8 pm/ET.) She'll now coach her 24 hand-picked semi-finalists as they face viewers and celebrity judges — including Britney Spears and 'N Sync manager Johnny Wright, who'll usher the winner into a recording studio after the talent search is over.

Just what should the next J.Lo or Justin Timberlake do to woo their cr read more

Meet Niles's New Flame

Good morning kisses from Ewan McGregor and sisterly advice from Renée Zellweger. After facing her initial fear of a visit from the "acting police," you could say filming the over-the-top, '60s sex romp Down with Love was easy for Sarah Paulson.

But landing her role — a book editor whose latest find (Zellweger) encourages women to behave like men — definitely wasn't. Because the movie was shot during summer months, when sitcom actors are on hiatus, entire casts of TV shows went in to read for her part. "Anybody that's on any popular show was there," Paulson says. "It just seemed like the most implausible notion that I would get this job, because the list of names was ridiculous."

And then there's read more

Frasier Star in Love

With all signs pointing to Frasier ending after next season, David Hyde Pierce is more careful than ever when it comes to picking movie roles. His rules of thumb: If a character is too Niles Crane, he's not interested. And if a friend offers advice, he's not listening. "You know what the most frequent suggestion is?" he asks. "'You really should play a psychotic serial killer.'"

Luckily, the man who's portrayed the younger Dr. Crane for 10 years understands something they don't. "I can't just leap into something completely different and expect people to buy it," Pierce says. "I have to make that transition gradually, which is what I've been trying to do."

His current role in Down With Love should help. Pierce plays a magazine editor whose star writer (read more

Ewan McGregor's Nude Attitude

If there's one thing Ewan McGregor will never be accused of, it's coyness. Asked if he's ever been like his playboy character in the retro sex comedy Down With Love — i.e. deceiving a woman in order to seduce her — he says: "I'm a man. I've never drugged anyone for a f---. I can quite seriously say that. [But] I've confused them emotionally."

That, however, was a long time ago, so don't expect the married father of two to remember any details. Instead, he offers a few candid quips on Love (which co-stars Ren&#233e Zellweger and opens Friday) and his big-screen future (more nudity is likely, but Porno isn't).

On Down With Love, which pays homage to the '60s films of read more

Renée Zellweger's Ewan Obsession

Renée Zellweger may consider herself somewhat "cinematically ignorant," but it sounds to us like there's at least one actor whose oeuvre she's mastered. "For seven years, I've been going, 'Where's Ewan McGregor? What's Ewan McGregor doing? Is he making this? Is there a girl? What kind of girl? Can we make that happen?" she says, with a laugh. "We've been acquaintances for a long time, but I've been his fan for even longer."

Thank goodness Down with Love, an homage to the comedies of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, finally came along — if only for her agent's sake. Zellweger stars as Barbara Novak, an author whose 1962 titular best seller encourages career-minded women to say "no" to lo read more

Daily Show Newsie Gets Literary

Even a senior news analyst, such as The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert, can be confused by recent world events. Like, for instance, NBC deciding not to pick up the pilot he co-wrote with Jon Stewart for its fall schedule. "They said, 'We love it, this is exactly what we want — and we're not gonna make it,'" Colbert says. "So it was an entirely pleasurable experience... except for the part about not making it." At least his other recent collaboration, the novel Wigfield (Hyperion), had a happier ending. Co-written with his Strangers with Candy cohorts Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, Wigfield follows a self-important, first-time author searching for a story in the book's titular town. The satirical tale unfolds through interviews with 20 inspired characters, which the trio currently brings to life in an adapted stage show on their book tour. Here, Colbert plays the quirky role of himself.

TV Guide Online: The book's "au read more

Seven Silly Questions for Penis Puppeteer

No matter where in the world thirtysomething Aussies Simon Morley and David Friend take their stage show Puppetry of the Penis, the reaction is the same: "Shock and awe," Morley says. "I don't think anyone's quite ready to see three-story high male genitalia." Perhaps that's why we waited until they released a performance DVD (now in stores) to witness the "ancient art of genital origami" — a craft born in Morley's home, perfected in pubs, and now selling out theaters. Considering Morley can turn his twig and berries into the Hamburger, we figure our Seven Silly Questions are a piece of cake!

TV Guide Online: For future reference, what's the proper amount of drinks to have in my system before seeing your show live?
Simon Morley:
Too many. (Laughing) Too many is nice and safe.

TVGO: Have you ever missed a show due to, er, injury?
No, and I've done about 3,500 now. If there's one thing a man knows how to do f read more

Meet The Gong Show's New Emcee

This is what you call a good week for comedian Jeffrey Ross. Yesterday, he wrapped the pilot for the WB's new Gong Show. "Everywhere I go, my mechanic is a contortionist, and my doorman wants to do his Dustin Hoffman impression," he cracks. "This is what made Chuck Barris move to France!" And tonight, he plays a cocky comic who drops dead on CSI (9 pm/ET): "I've died many times onstage," he says, "but never where I actually had to go head first into the floor." Lucky for us, Ross lived to face another heckler.
TV Guide Online: Gilbert Gottfried and Bobcat Goldthwait also guest star on tonight's CSI. Why were you the most qualified to play the corpse?
Jeffrey Ross:
They didn't have to use makeup for me. (Laughing) To be honest with you, I had nightmares because I played a headliner in Vegas, and they used my real headshot. I kind of saw my own death for the whole week of filming.

TVGO: But lying on a morgue table read more

Seven Silly Questions for SNL's Jeff Richards

When Jeff Richards got the call to audition for Saturday Night Live, he was shaken. Literally. The comic had just been in a car accident driving from Los Angeles to San Diego for another standup gig. "I was surprised I didn't crash again," he admits. These days, however, life for the man behind Drunk Girl (an overly intoxicated co-ed) and Baby K (an 18-month-old rapper), is looking far less bumpy. Even our Seven Silly Questions couldn't slow him down.

TV Guide Online: Our offices are literally two blocks apart. Why are we doing this interview over the phone?
Jeff Richards:
That's a question? Oh, 'cause that's how you're asking me out, in a really weird way...

TVGO: You got me. You grew up in California and went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. That's a tough school to get into. You must be pretty smart, eh?
read more

South Park Comments on War

Less than two months after 9/11, South Park gave us an episode titled "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants." Now, the toon takes on the U.S.-Iraqi war. To help plot tonight's 100th episode — airing 10 pm/ET on Comedy Central — co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone called in heavy reinforcements. Namely, their idol-turned-fan Norman Lear.

The 80-year-old's passion for inspiring youth to civic activism fueled what Parker modestly refers to as a "very somewhat special episode" of the series. Tune in, and you'll find everyone's favorite fourth graders joining in anti-war protests because they believe in, well, cutting class. Their pro-war teacher Mr. Garrison strikes read more

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