Today's News: Our Take


SPIKE RETURNS

Here's something I never thought I'd write: You have to watch The Mountain! Actually, just the Nov. 3 episode. That's when Buffy/Angel grad James Marsters guest-stars as the father of the Penn Badgley character. According to a WB rep, there's "a chance" Marsters could recur — which would mean you'd have to watch more than one episode of The Mountain. Scary but true. read more

THIS IS GETTING UGLY

CBS's Without a Trace is taking aim at Fox's apocalyptic plastic-surgery pageant, The Swan. In an episode airing Oct. 28, Showgirls refugee Elizabeth Berkley will play an ugly-duckling reality-show contestant who vanishes following her transformation. "We're [going to explore] what drives women to do this," says Trace creator Hank Steinberg. "We're also taking a little shot at reality TV." For her part, Berkley didn't have to sit through hours of makeup to get unpretty for her pre-op scenes. "We actually cast a completely different actress to play her before [going under the knife]," says Steinberg. Next, Trace makes Swan host Amanda Byram disappear! (We hope.) read more

PHEW!

Britney Spears formalized her marriage to dancer Kevin Federline on Thursday. "All the proper paperwork was dealt with," her rep tells Reuters. "It's all legal." But just as Brit was solidifying one relationship, she was ending another. After nine years together, the "Toxic" pop star and longtime manager Larry Rudolph have parted ways. In a statement, Rudolph said, "Britney and I simply realized that we have done all we can do together." And if you don't believe him, rent Crossroads and fast-forward to the scene where Brit recites the lyrics to "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" to Mount. read more

LIFE STINKS

Not everything ABC touches turns to gold this season. Case in point: Thursday's premiere of the sex-obsessed teen drama Life as We Know It attracted an anemic 4.2 million viewers. How bad is that exactly? It got beat by UPN's WWE Smackdown. I'd say that's pretty bad. read more

GAG ORDER

Survivor's hunky FBI agent Brady Finta — who got the boot on Thursday's episode — won't be making the typical media rounds like all the other castaways. According to the New York Post, Finta's FBI bosses disapproved of his Survivor stint and have forbidden him from speaking to the press — including TV Guide Online. All we were gonna ask him was if he ever met Mulder and Scully. read more

OUT ON TOP

Ellen DeGeneres' coming out more than seven years ago had the most positive impact on society's perceptions and attitudes toward lesbian and gay people, according to a just-released survey conducted by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. The survey also asked gay folk which celebs — regardless of their sexual orientation — they would most like to see "come out." Gay men picked Colin Farrell, while lesbians chose Hillary Rodham Clinton. Bisexuals, meanwhile, couldn't decide. read more

CASTING ALERT

Sex and the City alum Kristin Davis will guest-star on the Nov. 4 Will & Grace as Nadine, the best friend of Will's beau, Vince (Bobby Cannavale). In other casting news, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked) has landed a major recurring role on The West Wing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She'll play the White House's new media consultant. read more

AILING

Melissa Etheridge has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has scrapped her upcoming tour to undergo treatment. In a statement, the 43-year-old rocker — who just inked a sitcom deal with ABC — said the cancer was "caught early" and she is "looking forward to a quick and full recovery." read more

BUSTED

Brandon Boyd, the 28-year-old lead singer of Incubus, was arrested Wednesday for carrying a switchblade in his bag while trying to board a plane at New York's LaGuardia Airport. Boyd was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and allowed to proceed to Raleigh, N.C., for a concert. "I totally forgot it was at the bottom of my bag," he later said, "and when the security person pulled it out, I thought, 'Oh, no.'" Ah, kids today.... read more

JUST DESSERTS

Martha Stewart (aka Prisoner No. 55170-054) began serving her five-month sentence at West Virginia's "Camp Cupcake" Friday morning. According to a prison rep, the domestic diva was subjected to a strip search on arrival and had to squat and cough hard to check for hidden contraband. All they found was a pinch of rosemary, a dash of thyme and dollop of cr&#232me fra&#238che. read more

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