Today's News: Our Take


DREAMS SCOOP

Jessica Simpson's sister, Ashlee, is eyeing a guest-star gig on NBC's American Dreams this fall. "She's a good friend of mine," series star Brittany Snow tells TV Guide Online. "I don't know who she'll play yet. It's up to her. I think she'd make a great Janis Joplin because she's got that raspy voice." Snow adds that Usher and Kelly Clarkson are in talks to reprise their respective roles as Marvin Gaye and Brenda Lee. And speaking of American Idols, Fantasia Barrino is also considering filling read more

PAID IN FULL

Singer Marc Anthony has offered to pay a Puerto Rico nightclub $20,000 for unpaid bills to settle a lawsuit. Mr. J.Lo rang up the expenses during a private party after the 2002 Miss Universe pageant with his then-wife, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres. Anthony had initially declined to pay the outstanding charges due to personal problems. read more

THE SHOW WILL GO ON

Actor's Equity and Broadway producers reached a tentative agreement on Monday regarding future performances on the Great White Way. The four-year production contract, which is expected to be finalized today, will improve salary and health-care benefits for performers on Broadway and on the road. read more

DREAMS SCOOP

Jessica Simpson's sister, Ashlee, is eyeing a guest-star gig on NBC's American Dreams this fall. "She's a good friend of mine," series star Brittany Snow tells TV Guide Online. "I don't know who she'll play yet. It's up to her. I think she'd make a great Janis Joplin because she's got that raspy voice." Snow adds that Usher and Kelly Clarkson are in talks to reprise their respective roles as Marvin Gaye and Brenda Lee. And speaking of American Idols, Fantasia Barrino is also considering filling read more

GEST KEEPS GABBING

Liza Minnelli's ex David Gest is busy inserting foot-in-mouth again. After telling tonight's Extra that he's kicked his addiction to painkillers, he attempts to defend his claim that Liza physically beat him during their marriage. "People say to me, 'Why didn't you walk out of the room?'" Gest says. "Well, if she would have jumped from a window with two bottles of vodka in her, they would have said, 'Ah, he killed her.' A real man doesn't leave somebody who he loves alone. You just take it." When asked about his friend Jacko's well-being as the child-molestation trial draws near, Gest predicts, "If he is convicted — which I hope he's not — he'll kill himself. How could someone like Michael Jackson survive in jail?" Such a ray of sunshine that guy is! read more

VIXEN'S RETURN

After lengthy legal wrangling, Sharon Stone says her erotic thriller Basic Instinct 2 is a go. "We are putting it together now," she told last night's Access Hollywood. "We don't have a production schedule yet." The 1992 original made a star of Stone, who vamped proudly as leg-crossin', ice-pick-wieldin' novelist Catherine Tramell. The 46-year-old vaguely denied that her list of diva demands delayed the sequel: "Well, funny enough, we are making the movie now, and nothing has changed, so there you are." Thanks for clearing that up, Shar. read more

LET'S MAKE A DEAL

Lindsay Lohan is giving teen rival Hilary Duff a run for her Billboard spot. The 18-year-old Mean Girls star has signed a record deal with Tommy Mottola's Casablanca Records. Mottola, who helped shape the careers of such megastars as Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and ex-wife Mariah Carey, will most likely create a top-40 vibe for the actress. The pop-princess-in-training's singing voice has been heard in her films Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Lohan's first album is expected to be released by the end of the year. read more

TRADING SPACES

Entertainment Tonight has promoted weekend anchor Mark Steines to a Monday-Friday work schedule. He'll join Mary Hart as coanchor of the entertainment news show, effective immediately, announced Paramount Domestic Television. Outgoing ET host Bob Goen has signed a development deal with the studio. ESPN Sportscenter anchor Kevin Frazier will take over the vacated weekend slot beginning Sept. 18. read more

PAID IN FULL

Singer Marc Anthony has offered to pay a Puerto Rico nightclub $20,000 for unpaid bills to settle a lawsuit. Mr. J.Lo rang up the expenses during a private party after the 2002 Miss Universe pageant with his then-wife, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres. Anthony had initially declined to pay the outstanding charges due to personal problems. read more

TASTY OFFER

Late Show host David Letterman's company, Worldwide Pants, will produce Strangers with Candy: The Movie. The film will be based on the old Comedy Central sitcom starring Amy Sedaris, one of Letterman's favorite female comedians. read more

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