Today's News: Our Take


Buoyed by Ken Jennings' record winning streak, Jeopardy averaged a 10.2 household rating for the week ending July 18 — its best showing in more than four years. read more

I'm back! Yeah, I know, you haven't...

I'm back! Yeah, I know, you haven't seen me chatting at the Watercooler in a little while. I missed y'all, but I was busy covering Hollywood parties during the Television Critics Assoc. press tour for my "Party Boy" column. No worries, I'm all yours again.

By the way, just between us, I read the hate mail you sent whenever my Tuesday-night substitutes skipped Nip/Tuck. And I grinned at every one. Not that my colleagues didn't do a faboo job pinch-hitting — some of 'em are just squeamish about the plastic-surgery scenes. They gross me out, too, but this is still my fave summer show. Famke Janssen rules as Ava, the sinister life coach. In just one episode, she won Julia's confidence, seduced her 17-year-old son and used Matt's paternity secret to blackmail Christian for free botox shots! Then, there was that final "morning after" scene, when Ava's nude son (who looks about Matt's age) surprised Matt at the brea read more


WKRP in Cincinnati alum Tim Reid is joining the cast of That '70s Show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedy vet will play a record producer who turns out to be the father of Danny Masterson's Steven character. Like, who didn't see that coming? read more


Another strong performance from Amazing Race led CBS to take the Nielsen crown among total viewers Tuesday night. Fox's alleged rip-off romp Trading Spouses also picked up steam in its second outing, averaging 9.1 million viewers. Of course, only 4.7 million of 'em stuck around until 9:30 to watch Andy Richter commit career suicide — proving, once and for all, that audiences are in fact responding to Quintuplets. And, like me, they hate it. read more


Ashlee Simpson's debut disc, Autobiography, entered Billboard's album chart at No. 1 with sales of 398,000. In a statement, MTV's newest reality star said the boffo bow was "beyond my wildest dreams... I'm so excited for what's happened and what's to come." I can't be sure, but I think what's to come is a catfight with your big sis. read more


The financial backers behind Restaurant star Rocco DiSpirito's troubled Manhattan eatery want to quit while they're behind. According to reports, China Grill Management is looking to sell Rocco's 22nd Street. There's just one problem: DiSpirito says he still owns 50 percent of the establishment. Another stumbling block: Mama is refusing to leave the kitchen until Oprah tries one of her meatballs. read more

Hardball Host Talks Election

Chris Matthews has never seen a political convention he didn't like. (Even though there hasn't been a surprise presidential candidate since 1952, when the Democrats picked Adlai Stevenson.) The motormouthed host of MSNBC's Hardball, who's anchoring the channel's coverage of the Democrats' gathering in Boston, recently told us why the floor fights and roll calls still matter.

TV Guide Online: What are the chances of any real drama when the Democrats meet to nominate Sen. John Kerry?
Chris Matthews:
I would like to think the Democrats will debate the Iraq war and take a position that is stark. Somebody is going to raise their hand and say, "Let's debate this. We want an antiwar plank." That could be hot.

TVGO: Any tips for Kerry's acceptance speech?
He has to make people feel good about voting for him. Nobody has a personal feel for the guy yet. He's got to tell a couple of jokes. He has to break the ice. Because people do read more

Comic Flirt's Last Chance

Although stand-up guy Corey Holcomb was eliminated from Last Comic Standing seven days ago, he'll have a chance to get back into the competition in tonight's wild-card episode (9 pm/ET on NBC). But for a real cliffhanger, TV Guide Online turns to the self-aggrandizing lady-killer's personal life: Will his significant other give him a chance to get back in her good graces after she sees this interview? Read on, and draw your own conclusions.

TV Guide Online: In your final head-to-head with Alonzo and John, you came down pretty hard on the fairer sex. Do you think maybe that cost you the female vote?
Corey Holcomb:
Nah, I don't think so. On The Apollo Comedy Hour, [the emcee] just walks over [to the contestants] and says, "Clap if you like this guy. Clap if you like that guy." I just think that system works better than [Comic's computerized] voting. It's not like the audience is voting if somebody comes back [after a commercial break] with a v read more


Are Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner an item? That's the hot tabloid rumor of the moment. Their reps, however, are denying it — which means the wedding's probably this weekend. read more


Simpsons creator Matt Groening hinted over the weekend at San Diego's Comic-Con convention that someone on the 'toon would be coming out of the closet this season — and may even get married! Groening wouldn't say who, but TV Guide Online has learned that Patty Bouvier and Edna Krabappel were recently spotted inquiring about a bridal registry at Home Depot. read more

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