Today's News: Our Take


BIG TIME

It was man versus machine at the box office over the weekend, and the heap of metal won. Sci-fi remake The Time Machine opened at No. 1 with $22.5 million, dethroning last week's champ, We Were Soldiers. Although Mel Gibson and his troops slipped to No. 2, Soldiers's $14.5 million gross was down only 29 percent from last weekend. In other debut news, urban comedy All About the Benjamins bowed at No. 3 with $10.1 million. Rounding out the top five: 40 Days and 40 Nights (No. 4 with $7.1 million) and John Q (No. 5 with $6 million). read more

CENTRAL PARK

Well, there's no mystery here: The cast of Gosford Park, Robert Altman's acclaimed ensemble whodunit, can act. Gosford won the top prize — best cast of a film — at Sunday's eighth annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Halle Berry was named best actress for Monster's Ball, beating out frontrunner Sissy Spacek, and Russell Crowe took home best actor honors for A Beautiful Mind. (No, he didn't read that darn poem.) Other winners: Sir read more

A BEAUTIFUL SIGN?

Ron Howard won the Directors Guild of America's highest honor Saturday for his work on A Beautiful Mind. Although the DGA prize is a good harbinger of Oscar glory, it's no sure thing — but Opie knows that. In 1996, Howard won the DGA Award for Apollo 13, but didn't even get nominated for the Oscar. On the small screen, DGA victors included Todd Holland for Malcolm in the Middle and Alan Ball for Six Feet Under. read more

FINAL TALLY

For those keeping score, it's Laura Ingalls, 2, and Rhoda Morgenstern, 0. Former Little House on the Prairie child star Melissa Gilbert trounced onetime Rhoda star Valerie Harper in a rerun of last November's voided Screen Actors Guild presidential election. According to results made public Saturday, Gilbert won 57 percent of the vote to Harper's 34. At last night's world premiere of Ice Age at New York's Radio City Music Hall, star Ray Romano, on hearing of Gilbert's triumph, joked to TV Guide Online: "Tell her I won't take any more non-union work." read more

THE PLOT THICKENS...

More fallout over the David Letterman-Ted Koppel fracas: ABC Newswoman Diane Sawyer — who has made no public statement about her network's attempt to land Dave — has pulled out of a planned appearance on Tuesday's Late Show, the New York Daily News reports. Sawyer was going to promote her upcoming interview with Rosie O'Donnell. read more

ANGER ISSUES

In the Bedroom Oscar nominee Marisa Tomei is in talks to join Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in the big-screen comedy Anger Management. Tomei would play the girlfriend of Sandler's character, a quiet man sentenced to an anger-management program run by Nicholson. read more

LUMP SUM

A federal judge has awarded ex-Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith $88 million dollars in her legal battle against the family of her late, 90-year-old hubby, J. Howard Marshall, over his estate. "This is a complete victory for my client," Smith's attorney Philip Boesch said. "This shows me that even if you have an army of lawyers and unlimited funds you don't always win." read more

Ugly Stepsister Pretty Wonderful


Once upon a time, rising starlet Azura Skye received a phone call from her agent that she easily could have mistaken for a chat with her fairy godmother. "She said I'd been offered the lead in the Cinderella story — no audition or anything!" the 19-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "It was a huge deal... very flattering."

Then, the enchanting actress was informed that ABC's Wonderful World of Disney retelling (premiering Sunday night at 7 pm/ET) would be based on the Gregory Maguire novel Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. "At that point, it dawned on me that they didn't want me to play Cinderella, they wanted me for the ugly stepsister," she recalls, aghast. "They didn't even need to see me, they just knew I was her.

"I was like, 'Oh my God!'" she continues. "But I read the script, and it wasn't nearly as insulting as it sounds."

On the contrary, the girl-p read more

SHORT CUTS

ABC has axed its low-rated John McEnroe quizzer The Chair... Paramount Pictures is developing an update of the 1962 Frank Sinatra classic The Manchurian Candidate. Sinatra's daughter, Tina, is producing... Fox is planning a new Muppet series featuring mainstays Kermit and Miss Piggy as well some fresh faces. — Michael Ausiello with Janet Weeks read more

HE STILL LOVES KELLY

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Ian Ziering has filed for divorce from his wife of five years, ex-Playboy Playmate Nikki Ziering. read more

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