Today's News: Our Take


ONE-TWO PUNCH

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken will release his first book on Nov. 16, the same day his holiday CD hits stores. Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life is being described as an inspirational memoir that explores Aiken's journey from special-education teacher to pop star to cheese lover. read more

UNDIESGATE UPDATE

Michael Moore shot back at Republicans Wednesday after they suggested the Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker should be prosecuted for offering skivvies and Ramen noodles to college students in exchange for their vote. "It's ironic that Republicans have no problem with allowing assault weapons out on our streets," Moore said, "yet they don't want to put clean underwear in the hands of our slacker youth." In related news, Fahrenheit 9/11 sold about 2 million DVD/VHS copies during its first day in stores Tuesday, setting a new record for a documentary release. read more

CASE CLOSED

A judge dropped rape charges against actor-comic Anthony Anderson (Barbershop, All About the Andersons) on Wednesday, saying testimony by his accuser was "absolutely the most suspicious" he's ever heard. The 25-year-old woman was working as an extra on the film Hustle & Flow when she accused Anderson and assistant director Wayne Witherspoon of attacking her in a trailer. read more

TUCK EVERLASTING

A record 5.2 million viewers watched Ava pull a Crying Game on Tuesday's sensational second-season Nip/Tuck finale. It was the show's largest audience to date and FX's most-watched episode of an original series ever, besting the 2002 series premiere of The Shield, which snagged 4.8 million viewers. Nip/Tuck's blockbuster finish is all the more impressive considering it had to compete with the highest-rated vice-presidential debate since 1992. The Cheney/Edwards fisticuffs drew a combined 44 million viewers. read more

SHORT CUTS

Johnny Depp has signed on to star in Warner Bros.' feature adaptation of Gregory David Roberts' novel Shantaram, Variety reports... Fox will release Simpsons Christmas 2, a DVD featuring four holiday-themed Simpsons episodes, on Nov. 2... MTV and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are embarking on a Battle for Ozzfest, a 12-episode reality series in which eight rock bands will compete to perform at Ozzfest's 10th-anniversary tour, Variety reports. The competition kicks off Oct. 25... For the last time, paging Morgan Spurlock. Will you please pick up the courtesy phone underneath the golden arches.... read more

Lost OK, feeling a little ripped...

Lost
OK, feeling a little ripped off here. What the hell's with not telling us what Kate's crime was? Come on! We sat through an hour of her outback flashbacks and that poor federal marshal laying around gasping like Debra Winger in Terms and we get nada? Uh-uh. Nope. Not cool. Now, what was cool was that eerie final shot of Terry O'Quinn. Obviously, he's hiding something juicy. Nobody should like backgammon that much. Oh, and Sawyer, the hot one sweating his way across a tropical island in two shirts? You know that dude is peddling some rank funk. Get a bath, bud. If the ratings hold up, you're gonna be here a long time.

America's Next Top Model
8:06 Tyra Mail arrives. It's makeover time!
8:07 Cover Girl plug No. 1. Eva and Jennipher weep about getting their hair chopped. House crybaby Ann looks on in jealousy.
8:13 Norelle gets her read more

Question: Does Jay Leno, or ...

Question: Does Jay Leno, or NBC, have a Plan B should something happen to Conan O'Brien before 2009? I mean, what if Conan gets sick or, god forbid, passes away? — Ana Maria

Ausiello: Carson Daly, is that you? Anyway, if anything should, god forbid, happen to Conan before 2009, my guess is that NBC's Plan B would be to finally give the gig to David Letterman, whose CBS contract expires in 2007. But that's just a hunch.

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Question: What happened to ...

Question: What happened to Bob Goen from Entertainment Tonight? Did he quit or was he fired? — Louise Riley

Ausiello: Depends who you ask. Officially, an ET rep says Goen wanted to "pursue other opportunities." However, last July at the TCA press tour, exec producer Linda Bell Blue told reporters that "it was time to make a change." My take? Blue and Co. were looking to pair Mary Hart with someone younger and prettier, i.e., Mark Steines.

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Question: To say the Lord ...

Question: To say the Lord betrayed Nicole and Brandon on The Amazing Race was uncalled for. I do not see you bashing any other religion. — Amanda

Ausiello: Is Star Wars a religion? Because I bash those icky prequels all the time.

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Question: I don't know why ...

Question: I don't know why everyone is giving [CBS's new John Goodman comedy] Center of the Universe such bad reviews. From the commercials I've seen, I'm looking forward to watching it. — Brenda

Ausiello: Take it from someone who's seen the entire pilot — and (just barely) lived to tell the tale: It's awful with a capital A-W. If I've learned anything during my 32 years obsessing over TV, it's that a decent promo campaign does not a good show make. Consider yourself warned. Again.

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