Today's News: Our Take


ABC, CBS and NBC have agreed to limit prime-time coverage of the Republican and Democratic conventions to just an hour per night. Of course, Fox couldn't go along with that plan, because when your schedule includes gems like North Shore, even 60 minutes could be too much time to spare. read more


Twenty-three people were arrested in Sicily yesterday near the set of Ocean's Twelve, and, against all odds, Courtney Love was not one of them. Rather, the individuals carted off were members of an Italian crime family suspected of seeking "protection money" from producers of the sequel to George Clooney and Brad Pitt's Ocean's Eleven remake. Of course, they could have just wanted Catherine Zeta-Jones's autograph really, really bad. read more


Yesterday, Actors' Equity and the League of American Theaters and Producers revealed details of the new contract that will keep the lights of Broadway turned on for the next four years. In addition to a three-percent raise for Great White Way performers, the pact ushers in an "experimental touring program," which, as close as we can figure, means that folks working on hit road shows will get paid more than those working on flops. Ingenious, no? read more


Guests at Academy Award winner Ingmar Bergman's 86th birthday party yesterday could have saved themselves a whole lot of grief by buying the living legend a retirement gift at the same time. The Fanny and Alexander director announced he was giving up the theater — and, in fact, considered a 2002 production of Ibsen's Ghost to be his last. Gee, thanks for telling us so promptly, dude! read more


Next time Quentin Tarantino has a love scene to write, chances are he'll have to look no further for help than the other side of his bed. The Kill Bill auteur and unlikely babe magnet has a new girlfriend — Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola. Says the power couple's publicist: They "enjoy each other's company." Uh-huh. Right. Call us when their Oscars start sharing shelf space. read more


As if the world doesn't have enough pretty idiots in it! Low-wattage pop tart Jessica Simpson and hubba-hubba hubby Nick Lachey are thisclose to starting a family, they tell Us Weekly. They might even adopt a child from an underprivileged country, which, by Simpson's definition, means Chino, Calif. read more


The late Tony Randall's will became public this week, revealing that the Odd Couple star left slightly more than $1 million to wife Heather and their two kids. He also bequeathed $50,000 apiece to the Actors Fund and Manhattan's Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. read more


Sadly, no, that's not who this item is about. But another Denver billionaire, Philip Anschutz, has made a deal with 20th Century Fox to bankroll five movies, four of them based on kids' books. Again sadly, not one is going to be How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head. read more


Eat your heart out, Kurt Loder! In music news, a rapper with the highly unlikely name of Lloyd Banks held onto the top spot on this week's U.S. album chart (no doubt causing 50 Cent to consider rechristening himself Marvin Smith). Elsewhere in the Top 40, soulful chanteuse Angie Stone's Stone Love disc made the week's highest debut, at No. 14. Not bad, considering how many of us are just finding out who she is. read more


Hoping to convince us that eating its healthy sandwiches will keep our kids from answering to the name Porky, Subway unveiled a new ad campaign yesterday starring its, ahem, biggest diet success story, former spokesman Jared Fogle. Of course, now the company's Madison Avenue braintrust has to worry that we'll equate Subway with not only a loss of weight but also a loss of cool. read more

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