Today's News: Our Take


Exercise diva Richard Simmons is sweatin' to a misdemeanor assault charge after he allegedly slapped a man who made fun of him. According to authorities, Simmons was waiting for a flight to Los Angeles at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport when a fellow passenger screamed, "Hey everybody — It's Richard Simmons! Let's drop our bags and rock to the '50s!" That's when Simmons allegedly force-fed the heckler a fat-free knuckle sandwich. read more


NBC News anchor-to-be Brian Williams was called into emergency medical duty Wednesday during a Delta Shuttle flight from New York to Washington. A former volunteer fireman with EMT experience, Williams assisted a 64-year-old male passenger who was having trouble breathing. According to TV Guide senior correspondent Stephen Battaglio, who was also on the flight, Williams did a simple triage on the patient, checking his pulse and asking questions to determine what was wrong. He gave him water and an aspirin and stayed with him until the plane was brought back to LaGuardia Airport, where an EMT crew was waiting. According to Williams, only at the last moment did the man indicate that he knew who was treating him. "When I said goodbye, he said, 'This is a hell of way to get viewers'." read more


It's official: 20th Century Fox TV is producing at least 22 new episodes of Family Guy, which, thanks to cable reruns and DVD, has turned into a cult phenomenon since its cancellation two years ago. According to Variety, Cartoon Network has signed on to air the fresh segments, although Fox can exercise an option to broadcast them first. read more


Speaking of obscene gestures, Matthew Rogers' horrendous performance of "Amazed" prompted American Idol voters to sack the 25-year-old linebacker last night. He became the second of 12 Idol finalists to get eliminated. Next Tuesday, the remaining 10 crooners will face off in a Motown-themed show. That noise you hear is Jon Peter Lewis fudging a doctor's note. read more


Whitney Houston, we still have a problem. So, why did the troubled diva check herself out of rehab after just five days of treatment, as the New York Daily News is reporting? Beats me, but her rep insists that Houston — who allegedly is staying in a rented crib near Atlanta — is "continuing the prescribed treatment, as was planned." Meanwhile, a little further north, Houston's hubby Bobby Brown began a 90-day jail sentence in Dedham, Mass., for failing to pay $63,500 in back child support for two children he fathered with Kim Ward. In court, Brown broke down in tears as his attorney explained that his client couldn't fork over the cash because he was unemployed. I hear there's an opening on Surreal Life 3... read more


News flash: Sarah Michelle Gellar will not be resurrecting Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Angel's big swan song in May. Why the heck not? Well, click here for the exclusive story! Meanwhile, Variety reports that Gellar is in talks to co-star in Southland Tales, a comedy-musical thriller written and directed by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) and starring Seann William Scott. read more


Aretha Franklin is celebrating her 62nd birthday in the comfort of her own home today after being released from a Detroit hospital Wednesday. The Queen of Soul was admitted over the weekend for "superficial capillary bleeding" caused by an allergic reaction to antibiotics. In a statement, Franklin thanked "friends, fans and supporters" for all their support. "I'm taking it real easy," she added. "I have special dishes that will be cooked and prepared for me." Must be nice. read more


Was it an innocent gesture or an obscene prank aimed at Paula Abdul? That's the question American Idol fans are asking themselves in the wake of Tuesday's show, which showed judge Simon Cowell using his middle finger to prop up his head. "Give me a break," Cowell said Wednesday during an interview on Ryan Seacrest's daytime talker, On Air. "If you scratch your nose with your middle finger, you're flipping somebody off. It's crazy." According to USA Today, Fox — which received roughly 20 e-mails about the incident — never considered editing out Cowell's dirty bird because the network's censors "found it to be nothing more than a benign body posture. He was resting his head on his hands." read more

Survivor: All-Stars A clip show,...

Survivor: All-Stars
A clip show, already? Criminy, it seems like these sadists just showed up on the island to become TV's biggest bug-bitten and backstabbing messes since... well, the last Survivor, I guess. And you know, I gotta say, revisiting the last few weeks was not a blessed event. Not only did we have to see Lex and Jerri pull their Boris and Natasha of Panama act to bring down Colby and Ethan again, but there was all that mumble-mouth posing from Boston Rob. Seriously, a guy who sounds like he should be wearing a helmet in the backseat of the short bus has no room to be mocking Big Tom's accent. I don't care if the guy got himself a TV Guide cover. You don't hear Star Jones picking on Joy Behar, do ya?

American Idol
Now this is how you do a results show! In, out, 30 minutes, a few recaps from last night's country-themed show, a killer number by last sea read more

Colin's Costar Goes Dowdy

In the past two years, moviegoers have seen Scottish actress Shirley Henderson play Moaning Myrtle — the restroom-haunting ghost in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — and Jude, one of Bridget's girlfriends in Bridget Jones's Diary. Now, she portrays a depressed Irish gal who's let herself go — to the extent of sporting noticeable facial hair — in Colin Farrell's new film, Intermission (in limited release). Did she mind frumping herself up for this role?

"I thought I looked alright," the 37-year-old says, mock-defensively. "To me, there was an attractiveness to [the mustache]. It didn't offend me in any way."

Well, we still think her character could've stood a good waxing. But movin' on... How did the Intermission cast like working with Mr. Farrell? "Colin was great," Henderson says enthusiastically. "He was just chatty and took us all for drinks and we all got drunk together. read more

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