Today's News: Our Take


STERN PENALTY

Clear Channel Communications has dropped Howard Stern's radio show from its stations after the FCC fined the company $495,000 Thursday for a raunchy chat the shock jock conducted with Paris Hilton's ex-boy toy Rick Solomon in February. "It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S.," Stern responded in a statement. "It's hard to reconcile this with the 'land of the free' and the 'home of the brave.'" read more

LITTLE WILL

Will & Grace star Debra Messing gave birth to a baby boy Wednesday morning in Los Angeles. The little guy reportedly weighed in at 5 lbs, 14 oz. This is the first child for Messing and hubby Daniel Zelman. As reported last week, the 36-year-old actress had to be written out of the final three episodes of Will & Grace after doctors ordered her to stay off her feet. read more

IT DOESN'T ADD UP, FOLKS

It appears Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth's concussion may have led to some short-term memory loss. On Thursday's Oprah Winfrey Show, the Apprentice's Queen of Mean claimed that she fingered Ereka Vetrini as the alleged N-bomb dropper only after her reality rival went on The View and defended herself against the accusation. Up until that point, Omarosa told Winfrey, "I never said who [did it]." Not true. In one of her first post-firing interviews, Omarosa told me point blank: "Ereka used the N-word with me on the show." We immediately contacted Ereka for a comment and she vehemently denied ever using the offensive term. When Apprentice producers also told us that a check of the show's tapes found no such exchange, TV Guide Online decided at that time not to include Omarosa's uncorroborated charges in our read more

HE WAS ROBBED

Despite a promise of protection from Boston Rob, Lex van den Berghe, the 40-year-old graduate of Survivor: Africa, was ousted from Survivor: All Stars last night. As always, if you have questions for Lex, send them to me via the link at the bottom of this page and I will forward them on to my colleague, Angel Cohn. read more

WHO'S YOUR DADDY?

In other baby news, Billy Bob Thornton and girlfriend Connie Angland are expecting a child in October, the actor's rep confirms. Angelina's ex already has three children from two previous marriages. So, who's this Angland lady? Well, she doesn't work in showbiz so, really, who cares. read more

THE END OF THE AFFAIR

On last night's penultimate episode of The Apprentice, during which Omarosa's amnesia worsened, Donald Trump presented lovebirds Amy Henry and Nick Warnock with his and hers pink slips. That leaves Kwame Jackson and Bill Rancic to duke it out on next week's two-hour finale. Meanwhile, during a joint appearance on the Today show this morning, Amy and Nick confirmed that they "briefly dated" after the show, but added that they are no longer together. And what about rumors that Amy's now with Bill? For the answer to that question, look for my Q&A with Amy — as well as Nick — early next week. read more

FriendsOf course "The One with...

Friends Of course "The One with the Prom Video" is the No. 1 fan-voted episode. Not only does it give us and Phoebe's adorable marine-life-based fate analogy ("He's her lobster!"), more importantly, we are introduced to Fat Monica and Pre-Rhinoplasty ("I had a deviated septum") Rachel, who are preserved on tape getting ready for their prom. When Monica tries to explain her larger-than-life screen presence by asserting that the camera adds 10 pounds, Chandler (who actually should have seen her like this before, given other flashback episodes in which he is present) responds, "So how many cameras are actually on you?" Which is damn funny stuff — until I realize the other side of the coin: If this is true, then these three women are 10 pounds thinner in real life than they already are on TV. A sobering thought when you consider how skinny Courteney Cox looks; but somehow an even sadder one when you compare Jennifer Aniston's once curvy physi read more

CAUSING A COMMOTION

Madonna is stirring up some Irish ire for scheduling her first ever concert in Ireland on a Sunday! You see, the country's huge Roman Catholic population views Sunday as the Lord's Day. But the owner of Slane Castle, where the August 29 gig will be held, insists it was "the only date and day feasible." The last time the Castle hosted a major concert on a Sunday — in 1984 when Bob Dylan performed — it sparked riots. read more

ER Star Turns Gladiator


When we think Spartacus, we naturally think of Kirk Douglas in Stanley Kubrick's 1963 epic tale of studly slaves rebelling against Rome. We don't think of TV star Goran Visnjic — or anyone else in that role, to be fair. Even so, USA Network will risk a Spartacus remake-cum-miniseries starring the ER actor on April 18 and 19. Please tell us he won't clown up that immortal line: "I am Spartacus!"

"We don't have that part of the original movie in our film. I have to tell you that," Visnjic laughs. "We take it as an homage to the [Kubrick] film not to do it. Because it's so famous, we were a little bit afraid of doing it, so we're not touching that."

Just as in the original Spartacus, look for lots of grappling gladiators. "As a kid, you love to play with swords," Visnjic says. "Once you finish training and you come into a real arena to fight another actor with a metal weapon, it gets scarier than you thoug read more

Trump's Hatchet Man Cuts Up


As the end of The Apprentice draws near, Donald Trump's cool-headed confidant, George Ross, is letting off some steam. But it isn't the boss man who's got him hot under the starched collar, it's the coquettish competitors whose get-rich-quick strategy involved short skirts and batting eyelashes.

"Yes, Donald does like women," his trusty sidekick confirms. "He likes beautiful women. He's surrounded himself with beautiful women all his life. He's got a modeling agency, he's got the Miss Universe pageant... okay.

"But," he hastens to add, "if you translate that from being surrounded by beautiful women to being susceptible to flirting, you're making a huge mistake. That's like making one plus one equal seven."

Thus, Ross isn't surprised that the femmes fatales who behaved in the boardroom as they might in the bedroom have been given the boot. "I think the women overplayed that part; that's bad thinking," he says. "A smart businessman read more

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