Today's News: Our Take


DIVA DOWN

Simon Cowell's acid tongue came back to haunt him last night on American Idol. In a heinous turn of events, every Hawaiian household apparently did "vote five times to save" Jasmine Trias as the 17-year-old Mililani native made it through to the next round — at the expense of frontrunner La Toya London! The result evoked boos from the audience and led to Paula Abdul's first major breakdown since Soundscan reported opening-week sales of 1995's Head Over Heels. London, however, remained upbeat. "I just want to thank you so much, thank you for believing in me," the 25-year-old class act told the crowd, before turning in a powerhouse performance of "Don't Rain on My Parade." London's exit narrows the competition to three: In addition to Trias, there's Diana DeGarmo and Fantasia Barrino. Meanwhile, if you have questions for Ms. La Toya, e-mail them to me via the link at the bottom of this page. Extra consideration will be g read more

GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.

Canadian-born babe Pamela Anderson officially became an American citizen Wednesday after acing an interview and 10-question test. "I felt it was important to become a U.S. citizen in order to vote in the United States," Anderson says. "I have no intention of giving up my citizenship in Canada and am very proud to be a Canadian." And to prove it, she moved to America and became a full-fledged citizen! read more

A Comeback for Spike?

In next week's Angel series finale, Spike wonders how to spend what could potentially be the last day of his undead life. So the platinum-topped vamp Spike chooses to spout poetry at a seedy bar. For his portrayer, James Marsters, playing live music would more likely top the final to-do list. The California-bred actor moonlights as lead singer of his rock band, Ghost of the Robot. On the final night of his Angel duties, he happily previewed two new tracks for us in his trailer. "I think this is the best song I've written so far," he said proudly of one acoustic ballad. Soon, he'll embark on a European tour with the group, but don't fret, Spike fans: Unlike co-star David Boreanaz, he's not ready to stake his signature role just yet.

TV Guide Online: How does it feel to shoot the last day on a series?
James Marsters:
Good. Television often is an exercise read more

BREAKING NEWS...

Just when Tom Brokaw was out, they pulled him back in. The venerable newsman, who will step down as anchor of NBC's Nightly News on Dec. 1, has signed a new 10-year contract with the network. The deal largely calls for him to produce-narrate documentaries and sit around reminiscing about the good ol' days. read more

Survivor's Big Tom Bites Back

Best known for his wild chicken dancing and unintelligible mumbling, Big Tom Buchanan was among the few Survivor: All-Stars who enjoyed life on the deserted isle. Too bad all that goofy behavior may've lost him $1 million. Here, the Virginia farmer jaws with TV Guide Online — just prior to Sunday's finale we should point out — about allying with Rob and Amber, Sue Hawk's extreme makeover and his linguistic issues.

TV Guide Online: You did a song and dance when Sue left. So what do you think of her makeover?
Big Tom Buchanan:
She damned sure needed it. I'd like to get that number because maybe if they can do something for her, maybe they can do something for me!

TVGO: It is a pretty impressive transformation.
Big Tom:
From an ugly duckling to a duck. She's got bad breath and hairy legs. Maybe they shaved her legs, anyway. Hey listen, did they get her a new read more

THIS IS AMAZING!

The fifth cycle of Amazing Race doesn't debut until July, but CBS is already gearing up for a sixth installment! According to Variety, the Eye network has quietly ordered a sixth edition of the Emmy-winning reality series. In less-exciting renewal news, the WB has picked up Reba, Grounded for Life and What I Like About You for another season. read more

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE...

Let's play a little game called "What show am I referring to?" Sounds like fun, right? Alright, here we go: In a 10-year-old internal NBC research report obtained by The Smoking Gun, Peacock execs trashed one of their sitcoms as "not very entertaining, clever or original," dissed the show's stars and noted that test audiences "found the characters smug, superficial and self-absorbed." So, what show am I referring to? "Suddenly Susan?" Nope. "Veronica's Closet?" Try again. "Caroline in the City?" You're getting closer. "No... it couldn't be... Friends???" Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Wasn't that fun?! read more

TUESDAY RATINGS

Roughly 14.5 million viewers revisited The Dick Van Dyke Show, giving CBS its best Tuesday since December. Still, Fox ruled the night with its combo of American Idol (23.2 million) and 24 (12 million), the latter of which notched its best numbers of the season. And the WB's One Tree Hill ended its freshman year on a high note, scoring its best marks ever among young adults. read more

DOINK DOINK

NBC has renewed all three Law & Order shows — that's the original, SVU and Criminal Intent — for two more years, through the 2005-06 season. The network has also officially given producer Dick Wolf the green light for a fourth edition — Law & Order: Trial by Jury, which will likely debut at midseason. read more

SHORT CUTS

The first season of Northern Exposure arrives on DVD May 25, USA Today reports... Usher's Confessions reclaimed the top spot on Billboard's album chart with sales of 267,000 copies. read more

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