Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Lifetime has renewed The Division for a fourth season... No surprise here: Last Wednesday's American Idol finale was the week's most-watched show with 38 million viewers. read more

BABY BEATLE

Former Beatle Paul McCartney, 60, and wife Heather Mills, 34, are expecting their first child later this year. In a statement, the couple said "we are delighted with this happy news." McCartney has three adult children from his marriage to Linda McCartney, who died in 1998 from breast cancer. read more

FILM SHORTS

John Travolta is in talks with MGM to reprise his role as Chili Palmer in Be Cool, a sequel to Get Shorty, Variety reports... Newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard, the daughter of Ron Howard, has been tapped to replace Kirsten Dunst in M. Night Shyamalan's next thriller, The Woods. Dunst opted to star in Cameron Crowe's next film instead. read more

THE MIDDLE EARTH SHUFFLE

Finally, we're about to get an answer to the centuries-old question: Can Hobbits do the Shipoopi? The Lord of the Rings is being adapted into a $13 million London musical. Slated to open in spring 2005, the project will feature a cast of 50, lavish sets, a full orchestra and, if it's anything like the movies, a running time that will feel like eternity. read more

PAGING WILLARD SCOTT...

A number of celebrations will be taking place around the country today to commemorate the 100th birthday of Bob Hope. Among the events planned: the Museum of Broadcast Communications will hold a Bob Hope career retrospective in Chicago; Los Angeles officials will designate the famous Hollywood and Vine intersection as Bob Hope Square; and at least 35 states are declaring today Bob Hope Day. And what about the man of honor himself? Hope will observe the special day surrounded by friends and family at his home in Toluca Lake, Calif. read more

FAMILY BUSINESS

Fox's late, low-rated animated sitcom Family Guy is finally getting some respect — on DVD! According to Variety, nearly 400,000 copies of the show's three-disc DVD collection have sold since being released last month. read more

BLAME BRUCE

Wanna ring God up on your cell? You're not alone. Hordes of moviegoers/pranksters/imbeciles have been dialing a number featured in Bruce Almighty that provides Jim Carrey with a direct link to God (aka Morgan Freeman). Most movies use a fake 555 prefix, but Bruce uses 776 — an exchange that is valid in many parts of the country. Among the folks sharing God's digits: A woman in Pinellas Park, Fla., who reportedly is receiving 20 crank calls on her cell phone per hour. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending: She's threatening to sue Universal. read more

TAKE THIS JOB AND...

Looks like Emmy is losing her fearless leader. Bryce Zabel — chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences since fall 2001 — is opting not to run for re-election. Zabel took over just as the Sept. 11 attacks forced CBS to postpone the Emmys twice, and he's been a busy guy ever since. "I've done my duty, and I'm ready to move on," he told Variety. "I feel like I've had two terms jammed into one." read more

LUCKY NUMBER

Staind's new CD 14 Shades of Grey debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart with 220,950 units sold. Last week's top seller, Marilyn Manson's Golden Age of Grotesque, dropped a staggering 20 spots to No. 21 with sales of 45,000 copies. For the record, that's more than just disappointing — that's humiliating. read more

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

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular