Today's News: Our Take


UNWELL STAR

Madonna was forced to postpone the second date of her "Re-Invention" tour last night in Los Angeles due to illness. The official word is that the Material Girl came down with a stomach bug, but rumor has it Madge actually suffered an allergic reaction to her old material. Whatever the reason, the show will go on tonight. read more

SHORT CUTS

Harrison Ford has signed on to star in Godspeed, a big-budget outer-space-set thriller produced by James Cameron, Variety reports... Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley's four-month union officially ended in divorce Monday. The couple separated in November 2002... Brittany Murphy and her manager-fiancé, Jeff Kwatinetz, have called it quits, the New York Post reports. The couple got engaged in January. read more

American Idol Love Diana DeGarmo's...

American Idol
Love Diana DeGarmo's curly tresses. Much better than those straight Hilary Duff bangs she was sporting earlier. Her first "Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher"-style ditty — written by Tamyra Gray and backed up by a gospel choir! — was faboo. Gotta agree with Simon's diss of Fantasia's first song — the arrangement felt like a mess, with the choir doing most of the singing and Fanny accompanying them.

Seemed dangerous to have the girls re-sing tunes they'd already done, though. It invites comparisons in voters' minds that could be unfavorable. For instance, Di's retread of "Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)" didn't sound as good as last time — she was yelling it. However, Fanny did "Summertime" fierce and fabulous. Can you believe Simon calling her the "best contestant we've ever had in any [AI] competition"? Wow. The man has a gift for hyperbole.

In their final verdict read more

NO SWEAT

An assault charge has been dropped against exercise diva Richard Simmons, who was accused of slapping a man who made fun of him at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport last March. The "victim" — a 6-foot-2, 250-pound ultimate cage fighter named Christopher Farney — agreed to drop the misdemeanor charge under the condition that Simmons start referring to him as "Master." read more

MNF's New Draft Pick


Monday Night Football's decision to sack buxom sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero and bring in ESPN vet Michele Tafoya may not go over too well with the broadcast's young male viewers. But you don't have to tell Tafoya that. "I know I'm not a pinup," concedes the 39-year-old NBA fixture. "I'm just a no-nonsense reporter who is really, really passionate about sports."

It's a distinction true football fans can appreciate — especially coming off of last season's on-air fiasco. Guerrero's brief gridiron gig was universally panned by critics, many of whom blasted ABC for shamelessly emphasizing sex appeal over substance in its pursuit of that ever-elusive younger demo. For her part, Tafoya doesn't blame the network for hiring actresses to play broadcasters.

"TV is a really visual medium," she says. "Really beautiful people get you to stop and watch and that's just the way it is; that's natural. Believe me, if I could have it all I would read more

MOURNED

Babylon 5 actor Richard Biggs died Saturday of what was believed to be a massive stroke. He was 44. Biggs got his start in daytime, playing Dr. Marcus Hunter on Days of Our Lives from 1987 to 1992. He is survived by his wife, Lori Gerber, and two sons. read more

I SPY A SPY

Michael Jackson's dad has hired his own attorney to serve as an "extra pair of eyes" in court. "At this point I'm representing family interests," Debra Opri tells The Associated Press. "Joseph loves his son and wants to be kept updated on everything." read more

Scott Turow's True Confessions

The death penalty has long been a part of best-selling novelist-lawyer Scott Turow's life. The Presumed Innocent author opposed it as a student in the '60s. As a federal prosecutor in the '80s, he decided it was a necessary evil. After working on a death-penalty appeal in the '90s, he realized the system made mistakes. In 2000, he served on an Illinois commission studying death-row reforms. Tonight at 9 pm/ET, CBS airs the second half of his miniseries, Reversible Errors. Based on Turow's 2002 novel about a capital-punishment case, it co-stars William H. Macy, Tom Selleck and Shemar Moore. The film follows a corporate lawyer's last-ditch appeal of a man's murder conviction, while the cop who put the inmate on death row struggles to keep him there.

TV Guide Online: What inspired you to write about the death penalty?
Scott Turow:
There's a case that was the rough progenitor of Reversible Errors. I represented a guy who was read more

JUST SPLIT

Brittany Murphy and her manager-fiancé Jeff Kwatinetz have called it quits, the New York Post reports. The couple got engaged in January. read more

AND THEY SAID IT WOULDN'T LAST

Famed celeb lawyer Raoul Felder has resigned as attorney for David Gest in his bitter divorce battle with Liza Minnelli. According to reports, Felder quit because he had trouble getting Gest on the phone — and flying to Hawaii to meet his client face-to-face was apparently out of the question. Why? Um, have you seen Gest's face? read more

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